Friday, May 18, 2007


After tornado, FEMA disarms town, turns away help

On Friday, May 4, an F5 tornado wiped the town of Greensburg, Kan., almost entirely off the map. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the National Guard and local police from all over Kansas, then systematically kept out relief workers while they went house to house disarming the residents.

One bit of good news, though, is that some left-leaning anarchist types are beginning to understand the importance of ordinary citizens having firearms to defend themselves from the government, a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

On May 12, Dave Strano and three other members of Kansas Mutual Aid, an anarcho-communist organization based in Lawrence, traveled to Greensburg to find out what was happening on the ground and try to assist with relief efforts.

They learned that a week after the tornado, FEMA finally began allowing relief workers into the area, long after they had disarmed everyone in the city they could, bungled initial relief efforts, and established a virtually complete police state.

We intended to analyze the situation and assess how our organization could help from Lawrence. If long term physical aid was needed from us, we had to make contacts within the local populace that could offer a place to set up a base camp. We also intended to find out what happened to the prisoners in the county jail during and after the storm, and what the current procedure for those being arrested was. In a highly militarized city, the police and military were the biggest threat to personal safety. . . .

After a short while, we met with several people evacuating belongings from their home. They told us that FEMA had been there for a week, and that all FEMA could offer them was a packet of information. The packet, however, had to be mailed to the recipients, and they had no mailing address! Their entire house had been destroyed. Their mailbox was probably in the next county. . . .

FEMA’s mission was to safeguard the property of businesses in the area and offer “low interest” loans to property owners affected. The National Guard was on hand along with the local police, to act as the enforcement mechanism for FEMA, while occasionally hauling debris and garbage out of the city. . . .

In the immediate recovery after the storm, FEMA and local police not only worked to find survivors and the dead, but also any firearms in the city. As you pass by houses in Greensburg, you notice that some are spraypainted with how many weapons were recovered from the home. This is central Kansas, a region with extremely high legal gun ownership. Of the over 350 firearms confiscated by police immediately after the storm, only a third have been returned to their owners. FEMA and the police have systematically disarmed the local population, leaving the firepower squarely in control of the state. — Dave Strano, Kansas Mutual Aid

FEMA’s top priority going in was clear. It was not to help people, but to establish control and cow the population. These, of course, are the same things they did during Hurricane Katrina, with much more disastrous results.

It’s time to get rid of FEMA, and along with it, any federal government responsibility for disaster response. Ordinary people and businesses, acting on their own and collaborating, have already proved they can respond to a disaster much more effectively than government force ever could.


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