A History Lesson for Today
"Only a fraction of [the city's] population remained, thousands having...fled the town. Those inhabitants who had chosen to stay in the hopes of ...
"Only a fraction of [the city's] population remained, thousands having...fled the town. Those inhabitants who had chosen to stay in the hopes of protecting their property, or because they were too poor or helpless to do anything else...were hurting from shortages of all kinds."
That may sound like a description of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But it's actually a passage from David McCullough's current bestseller, 1776, that recounts the Siege of Boston 230 years ago, when a rag-tag "American army" kept British troops (and residents of various allegiances) holed up in the city for 11 months.
It appears that the reasons people stay put in a crisis (and the dire consequences) haven't changed much since then. But determined to incorporate lessons from recent disasters, governments across the country are busy reviewing and revising their evacuation plans. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to effectively address a centuries-old problem. In any case, public officials deserve credit for trying to refute German philosopher Georg Hegel's assertion that "what we learn from history is that we do not learn from history."
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
How Cities Can Collaborate With Citizens (on Deadline) to Solve Problems12 months ago
Supreme Court Kills EPA Mercury Rules10 hours ago
What's Scott Walker Got Against the University of Wisconsin?13 hours ago
Many States Struggling With Rural Homelessness13 hours ago
Andrew Cuomo Gives Himself the Power to Officiate Weddings17 hours ago
Hawaii Embraces Solar Power, But Finds It's Not So Easy17 hours ago