We’re Still Alive Around Atlanta

Yeah, yeah, yeah…if you read the blog on a regular basis, you know that I can’t stand winter.

It’s nothing against winter. Really! I mean, winter didn’t ask to be cold…frigid…full of death and misery. But don’t let me make it sound terrible. So the earth has a tilted axis and it switches angles as the year carries on causing winter to be in one hemisphere one part of the year and in the other during the other part of the year. That’s just the way it works if we want to live on this planet.

If you are alive and watch television or listen to the radio, you know that the city of Atlanta, Georgia is in gridlock. Yes, gridlock! Why? It’s because there is two inches of snow on the ground. Those from the North are saying, “What’s wrong with those people down there. Two inches of snow…I can’t open my front door because of the snow!” Trust me, I understand. I really do. Northerners have to understand one thing about this situation.

WE LIVE IN THE SOUTH! TAKE YOUR DAMN SNOW BACK UP NORTH!

Snow down here is not a promised occurrence every year. We don’t live through months of snow so that we can get used to maneuvering around in that kind of weather. At the first mention of snow, or a hurricane, people crowd the supermarkets to buy milk, bread, and toilet paper. Maybe bread and milk upsets people’s stomachs and give them the trots. I don’t know.

Let’s get past the actual weather and move on to those that should be making things a bit safer for people during the nasty mess. You know…those people that hold the titles of mayor or even governor. In Atlanta, those two people are BOTH in this city as Atlanta is the capital of Georgia. Not only can one guy take charge of the situation, but two guys can open their mouths and make things happen. There is a slight controversy…or rather, stir among the peoples…about why important steps were not taken to combat horrible travel conditions.

Let’s look at the things that should have been done but weren’t:

  1. Schools – The kids should have never been made to attend school on Tuesday. Al Roker hit it on the nail during his morning show on The Weather Channel. THEY KNEW! There was no second guessing it. The Weather Channel had started telling people on Sunday or Monday that a winter storm was heading our way and to get ready. That means don’t put the kids in danger by putting them on a bus in the middle of millions of people trying to get to work or home.
  2. Dismissal – One word…CHAOS! You start telling people they need to go retrieve their children from school because the schools are closing and you are going to have crazy parents trying to get their kids before things get crazy. The catch is that by them getting out in droves to fetch their kids causes the CRAZY to happen. Put kids in a situation and the parents are going to go ballistic, resulting in the crazy traffic situation.
  3. Roads – After living in this area for 15 years, I have seen it snow quite a few times…once or twice before, it was pretty bad. In the metropolitan area of Atlanta, there are now over five million people. Atlanta proper has MARTA service with buses and trains, but many people commute from outside the city. They have to drive as MARTA doesn’t cover the area it should to keep down traffic. Anyway, knowing what was about to hit should have screamed, “Salt the roads! Put out sand!” We were told over and over about the new machines that were bought to deal with issues like this. I wasn’t stuck on either of the three interstates in the city, but from the reports of people who were…no one saw the first tractor to deal with the worsening ice and snow on the road. Press conferences were held on Wednesday morning by both Mayor Reed and Governor Deal. Neither of them looked amazing in the eyes of the media. I have to give it to Deal, however, as he pushed back with the statement about if he had closed the government offices, schools, and other things in the city and state, the media would have grilled him over the loss of so much revenue. Damned if you do…damned if you don’t. The storm, as The Weather Channel has said, was not “unexpected.”

Out of all this mess, there have been highlights. During the night, there was a baby born in a vehicle sitting on I-285. The child’s name is Grace. That’s about the best name that could be given in such a situation. On Wednesday morning, we learned through the news that some Home Depot locations were kept open during the night so that people could come in and get out of the cold. There were other places that did the same, such as Kroger and other stores that were going to be open all night anyway. Thank God for people who are generous enough to help others in a time of need. Many thanks and blessings go out to our local educators. Because of the very dangerous conditions, many children were stuck at their schools overnight and they had to be fed and given comfort. Since their parents weren’t there, the safety of the children was left up to the educators and the police officers assigned to those schools. Great going, y’all! Above and beyond is what it takes in dire situations and you took control.

Regular citizens also did great things for those people who were stuck on the roads. A few guys I saw on the news this morning were going to the people they could reach and handing out food and bottled water. When I hear of acts like these from total strangers, I get a warm feeling inside. It’s reassuring to see that not all hope is lost on humanity.

I hope that the events of this week will continue to play over and over in the minds of those in seats of power. My dad has this saying he says a lot: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Twisted in all kind of ways, it is relevant to the storm. In 2011, this same thing happened where people were stranded in cars overnight or they had to leave their cars on the roads where they sat, stranded. That’s the first time…shame on the government. Now, 2014 and it happens again with now preparation for the coming storm…shame on us. Hopefully, this won’t happen again.

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