I have been fascinated and appalled by the levee system of the Mississippi river. Small towns have been under water for weeks in order to save the larger cities all along the river based on decisions by the Army Corp of Engineers.
One town that predates the levee, Pinhook, MO, is underwater in order to save Cairo, IL. A loss of hundred of millions of dollars to that state. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster asked the U.S. District Court to block the levee-blasting idea, but this was rejected. I cannot imagine another state choosing to flood a town in my home state.
And although there are many philosophical theories on the ends justify the means and the good of the majority is paramount to the good of the few, we don’t often take that view in America. Liberals tout civil rights for the few and the Libertarian motto is “Don’t tread on ME”, not us.
As an individual with many views that do not hold with the majority, I find the idea uncomfortable.
And I’m awed that the Army Corp of Engineers has the power to use a levee system to destroy homes, livelihoods and entire towns. Based on what scale? Financial? Populations size? How do they chose who to flood? I couldn’t find any information on the calculations. And that surprises me.
I understand the argument that these people knew what they were getting into when they moved there. But some of those levees hadn’t been used in nearly 50 years! We all have a tendency to fall into “but that would never happen to me” mentality and when it last happened 2 generations ago, it seems fair to think a home and a life would survive.
I have also read “Oh, if they had insurance, they will be reimbursed.” And I think: 1) how much did LIVING NEXT TO A LEVEE insurance cost and 2) insurance money doesn’t replace towns and relationships.
I’m relieved that people have had time to gather photographs and other irreplaceable, and I understand that the alternative floods would be more expensive and affect more people. But it’s difficult to look at pictures and not wonder whether there’s a better way than a flood system designed in 1927. Or at least wonder if there should be.
How you can help those affect by the flooding:
- Donate to the American Red Cross by going to its online donation page or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- Donate to United Way by going to its online donation page.
- If you live near these areas, call local churches and your local American Red Cross to find out what supplies are needed at the shelters for flood victims.
Main Information Sources: NPR: Long-Feared Flood Rolls Toward La. Bayou Country
USAToday: Opposing view: Army Corps of Engineers hurt Missourians and Our view: Mississippi flooding redeems Army Corps
Photo Sources: Louisanna Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries, stltoday.com, Associated Press