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Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris
6 Nov 2015
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The Horrors of FEMA Disaster 'Relief'; the Glory Private Efforts


"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'" — President Ronald Reagan

Those wise and yet haunting words spoken by one of our nation's greatest presidents couldn't ring more true — especially today, as winter sets in on an estimated 130,000 of our fellow Americans who are still struggling without power. Many live without heat, hot water or inhabitable homes and question the government's efforts to alleviate their condition.

Amid the election frenzy, several mainstream media outlets instantly praised the Obama administration's response to the Hurricane Sandy devastation in the Northeast. But let's look beneath the congratulatory headlines to see the real and horrifying picture of what's happening.

Right now, homeless Americans are literally freezing, wrapped in blankets and trash bags as they struggle to survive in FEMA tent cities such as New Jersey's "Camp Freedom," which reportedly "resembles a prison camp."

"Sitting there last night, you could see your breath," displaced resident Brian Sotelo told the Asbury Park Press. "At (Pine Belt), the Red Cross made an announcement that they were sending us to permanent structures up here that had just been redone, that had washing machines and hot showers and steady electric, and they sent us to tent city. We got (expletive)."

Sotelo said Blackhawk helicopters patrol the skies "all day and night," and a black car with tinted windows surveys the camp while the government moves heavy equipment past the tents at night. According to the story, reporters aren't even allowed in the fenced complex, where lines of displaced residents form outside portable toilets. Security guards are posted at every door, and residents can't even use the toilet or shower without first presenting ID.

"They treat us like we're prisoners," Ashley Sabol told Reuters. "It's bad to say, but we honestly feel like we're in a concentration camp."

Snow and icy slush seep into living areas through the bottoms of the government tents.

Meanwhile, officials are said to be banning residents from taking pictures and even cutting off Wi-Fi and power access.

"After everyone started complaining, and they found out we were contacting the press, they brought people in," Sotelo said. "Every time we plugged in an iPhone or something, the cops would come and unplug them."

He added: "Everybody is angry over here. It's like being in prison."

In New York, residents of Gerritsen Beach have banded together to survive.

"With all due respect to the federal issue, we're used to taking care of ourselves," Doreen Garson, the acting volunteer fire chief, told The Washington Post as area residents received hot meals outside a trailer. "I don't know what FEMA is really doing for anyone."

Some citizens say FEMA has distributed checks to fix their homes, but bureaucratic hurdles mean relief amounts are determined inconsistently and may be insufficient to cover damage.

In some cases, the rebuilding funds are distributed even when reconstruction doesn't make sense because the destroyed homes are located in high-risk areas.

FEMA's bureaucratic tape is such a mess that states have had to hire consulting firms just to navigate the paperwork, with consultants earning as much as $180 an hour — all of which is billed to American taxpayers.

Meanwhile, FEMA — which previously provided trailers to victims of Hurricane Katrina that made residents sick from toxic levels of formaldehyde — will now bring more temporary homes to New York and New Jersey. The government assures us that this time the homes have been approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, FEMA failed to have bottled water and other supplies ready for storm victims — a week after the storm hit — and was forced to seek help from private vendors to meet residents' needs.

While generous citizens fill trucks with donations and goods for hurricane survivors, FEMA is reportedly demanding they stop — because the federal agency has "strict rules on what can and can't be accepted."

To make matters worse, FEMA now expects Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to appear before Congress and request a taxpayer bailout for FEMA flood-insurance operations while it burns through $200 to $300 million a day.

Where did we go wrong? The moment we began looking to government to fill the role of caretaker, provider and savior.

What happened to the days when communities and churches were the places Americans turned to for help? We need to get back to basics, where Americans care for our brothers and sisters and help them in times such as these.

In one brilliant example of communities banding together, Staten Island residents organized their own citizen-led team of volunteers and started a donation drive, bringing massive trucks of aid into their community from Virginia. They've worked with local churches, VFW posts and businesses to bring in needed supplies and help with cleanup efforts.

In yet another stunning example of private efforts, veterans of both the Israeli army and U.S. military descended on New York to help with rescue operations and relief assistance when the government was said to be absent.

Churches and businesses are reaching out to people who've been displaced, packing U-Haul trucks and 18-wheelers with food, diapers, blankets, toiletries and other needed goods.

"We decided that it wasn't enough for us to simply declare the gospel; we've got to demonstrate it," pastor Jerry Young said from New Hope Baptist Church in Mississippi. "What we're trying to do now is demonstrate the gospel."

Just as these grassroots volunteers have been sacrificing so much to help displaced citizens and clean up storm-ravaged areas in the Northeast, I urge America's citizen volunteers, churches and businesses to follow their examples.

Let's stop making the mistake of expecting government to be our savior in times like these.

We are told eight times in the Bible to love our neighbor. This Thanksgiving week, America has an extraordinary opportunity to do just that. Let's band together and show our fellow citizens that we care and we won't leave them to the "mercy" of the government in their time of need.

Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook's "Official Chuck Norris Page." He blogs at To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




3 Comments | Post Comment
Thanks again, Chuck. I was sent the following this morning with an attachment of Chapter 10 of In the Footprints of the Jesuits by R. W. Thompson, about how they originated Communism in Paraguay in the 1600-1700s with the communes they called Reductions. The sender said this, which explains what is happening under the current regime.

The Socialism/Communism of Obama is NOTHING MORE than JESUITISM. Obama's ideas are a repeat of the Jesuit program of slavery perfected in Paraguay from 1600-1756 as accounted by Ex- U.S. Secretary of The Navy Richard Thompson in his book "Footprints Of The Jesuits" in chapter 10. We here in America are next....See attached chapter 10 of his book. If you would like to read the whole book, contact me and I will send you the link to download it. The Jesuits rule this nation NOW and are very busy using their ideology to destroy it and what is left of The Protestant Reformation.

Stick with "the scripture of truth" Daniel 10:21, Chuck.

Comment: #1
Posted by: Alan O'Reilly
Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:41 AM
While on the surface your column makes some sense, this is a disaster of monumental proportions. It cannot , repeat, cannot be cleaned up in a few days and REQUIRES massive government intervention and the use of huge machinery and earth-moving and trash hauling equipment. There are time when only big government can provide the type of equipment and manpower to do this job.... The aftermath of Sandy is one of those times.
I have relatives in the affected area . We had a house blown away completely just south of the Atlantic city boardwalk,,,,,Just totally gone. FEMA cant replace that, the only thing that can be done is to have the beaches repaired and the house rebuilt from scratch. FEMA is NOT to blame for this, This is an act of GOD. As a victim of this hurricane, even if indirectly, I think it is time to support FEMA, not try to send insults their way. This will take a long long time to recover from this. Members of my family joined Mennonite carpenter gangs that went to Mississippi and Louisiana a full summer after Katrina to work on raising habitat for humanity houses. It will be fully into next summer before the same can be done in Jersey and Staten Island. But you can be assured that it will happen. In the meantime, we have to support our friends with every gift we can afford to send them.
Comment: #2
Posted by: robert lipka
Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:37 PM
We've had large scale disasters in this country before FEMA and managed. Big government projects always lead to big corruption. If the government can do it, the free market and private charities can do it better. If FEMA would stop kicking charity efforts out of disaster zones, people would have proof that its true. Furthermore FEMA just insures rich people to build beach houses on coastlines that private insurance would not cover. No problem, government will insure the rich at the expense of the poor. Thats what it always does.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:48 PM
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