Against Security: How We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways, and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger

By Harvey Molotch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Facing Katrina:
Illusions of Levee and Compulsion to Build

“Floods are an act of God, but flood losses are largely an act of man”— such was the mantra of the pioneer hydrological scholar, Gilbert White. White’s analyses, beginning with a 1945 paper, showed that efforts to contain flood damage by building structures like flood walls and dams had the net result of increasing rather than decreasing risk to humans.1 To “prevent” flood damage, we need to get out of the way of the water—it’s as simple as that. The efforts so often made to stop the water with walls and dams—now known, following White, as the “levee effect”—only create risk. At present, a monument is being built to White in Boulder, Colorado, his last home base and still where some of the world’s leading hydrologists do their research. But his advice, like theirs, is too often ignored.

This chapter examines how not taking White’s advice worked itself out in New Orleans, when Katrina came to call. In the ensuing troubles, almost fifteen hundred people died, billions of dollars were lost in business and residential assets, and hundreds of thousands of lives were disrupted with many individuals never able to return. It is a story of faulty artifacts built out of an equally defective institutional structure, and all with a lot of people in the wrong place. We have a situation where the warning system of an advanced and sophisticated society met up with a response that was, in comparison, primitive— “the worst mishandled disaster I have ever seen in my life,” says Enrico Quarantelli, a fifty year veteran of such events.2 The “mishandling” to which Quarantelli refers was the immediate aftermath, but that was a consequence of a much longer history of error.

Katrina (along with its time-proximate hurricane, Rita) would “have to be,” says Oliver Houck of Tulane’s Law School, “the most well

-154-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Against Security: How We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways, and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.