The June 10th 2017 Naomi Klein article that I introduced in the previous post articulates a noteworthy trend in disaster response. The powerful believe it is in their interest to create a two-tiered system for disaster relief. The wealthy who can afford it become members of private clubs that offer services of helicopter-extracting members from the chaos of disaster, leaving less motivation on the part of those with all the pesos to support broadly accessible publicly funded mechanisms to protect and assist populations in crisis.
In California, private firefighters are dispatched with protective fire retardant to the wildfire-threatened homes of the wealthy. The result is a palpable devaluing of the lives of those who are not wealthy. Naomi Klein says, “a significant cohort of our elites are walling themselves off not just physically but also psychologically, mentally detaching themselves from the collective fate of the rest of humanity.”
Walling themselves off from the masses, however, also means potentially walling themselves out of the type of connected and thriving community necessary for true resilience in disaster. Neighbors and community members respond first through efficient relational networks. There’s no price on that, nor should there be. Living relationally – in a community – is a wholly different paradigm of existence where supporting fellow people can matter more than achieving personal comfort and perceived financial certainty.
My next post will discuss this same article in relation to the existence of two faces of a disaster: an initial direct disaster as well as an auxiliary imposed disaster that is experienced when the former is used as a shock opportunity to advance an agenda.