It’s time to let people help people
You know that stupid “who will build the roads” question big government supporters always ask when conservatives champion efforts to massively cut the number of taxpayer funded services? The answer is people. It always has been. Private citizens with the means to improve their communities are plenty willing to improve their communities. Tragic events like Hurricane Harvey provide perfect examples of how people step up to help one another in the places they live and make their livings when government leaves a void to be filled. And the outcome is always far better than anything government can provide.
Take the story of Houston businessman Jim McIngval, a.k.a Mattress Mack, who earlier this week announced that his furniture store showrooms were open to anyone in need of shelter from the storm ravaging the nation’s Gulf Coast.
McIngval said in a Facebook post:
Gallery Furniture North Freeway and Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway are now open as shelters for anyone who is in need.
We have food, beds and clean restrooms for anyone in need who comes to those locations. Kenneled animals who must stay in kennel and at owners side are welcome.
Gallery Furniture North Freeway: 6006 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77076.
Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway: 7227 West Grand Parkway South, Richmond, TX 77407.
Stay safe, God bless you and your family and may God bless Texas.
The furniture store owner also used his business’s delivery trucks and rented others to help move residents from flooded areas to safety. In addition, McIngvale’s business is gathering supplies to help affected residents put their lives back together.
Again from Facebook:
Gallery Furniture is currently accepting ONLY cleaning supplies donations at our 6006 N. Freeway and 7227 W. Grand Parkway South locations so that affected Texans can come pick up these supplies to begin the work of repairing their damaged homes and places of business.
Please bring brand new Clorox, shovels, Pinesol, shop vacs, sponges, mops, brooms, gloves, trash bags, fans, soap, face masks, knives for cutting carpet, humidifiers and buckets for donation.
Thank you for your donations of any size.
God bless you, God bless your family and God bless Texas.
In an interview with San Antonio 5 News, the businessman said he decided to take action after seeing that local authorities were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster.
“We were going to rescue people because there was so much need,” he said. “The city and the local authorities did a great job, but they just couldn’t get to all the 911 calls.”
McIngval and people like him are who would build the roads. People who believe in the power of community rather than the mightiness and largess of government.
He told NPR: “The people of Texas are resilient, as are the people of this country. And, you know, my daughter’s favorite saying is if not for my struggle, I would not have known my strength. All of us in Texas are struggling right now. But it will help us to be more resilient, strong human beings who can help out the community. We believe it takes an entire village to raise a child, and that’s why we’re letting these people in here. And it’s a win-win for everybody.”
The Texas businessman is helping his community in a big way. And, when skies clear and floodwaters recede, people in the community will remember his good deed.
And all over Texas, other private citizens have similarly looked for ways to help people affected by the hurricane.
Another report from NPR describes what’s become known as the “Texas Navy” in recent days.
From the piece:
All over Houston, you see what is being called the Texas Navy: private citizens pulling their fishing boats behind pickups. They’re launching their vessels at the water’s edge, which could be anywhere that a street becomes a bayou. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett put out an extraordinary call Sunday. He said the fire department, Coast Guard and police are overwhelmed — they need people to help their neighbors. And folks have responded.
“I’ve been able to rescue 10 to 15 people at a time. Yesterday was a very good day. We rescued 53 people into the night,” says Ray Ortega, an oilfield tool salesman, who drove up from his home in Victoria pulling a 23-foot fishing boat that he usually uses in the Gulf to go after speckled trout and redfish. Ortega was looking for a place to launch his boat and rescue more people.
More road builders.
Government rescuers have also certainly played their part in working to keep as many in the affected areas safe from harm– but it would be nice if that’s where the government’s involvement in relief would end. After it’s all said and done, federal efforts to “rebuild” the areas ravaged by the storm will end up doing more harm than good.
Still, the president and other politicians are vowing big government spending to rebuild.
Reason Magazine provided an excellent argument for why they shouldn’t earlier this week:
As convinced as these authority figures are that their pronouncements of action are calming and uplifting, we can’t help but think how willfully these rescuers ignore the abominable record of the federal government in the aftermath of big blows like Harvey. The tiresomely predictable response so far in Texas is echoed in Reason‘s exhaustive coverage after Katrina.
“No government screwup is so colossal that it can’t be used to justify yet more government,” we wrote in our 2005 roundup of the coverage, “After the Storm.” “For most liberals, Katrina merely proved that Washington needs more resources to prevent and respond to such disasters; for many conservatives, it proved that society is a fragile construct that can collapse into chaos at any moment, and that only police or military force can hold it together in times of stress.”
To cite just a few examples of federal bungling after Katrina noted by Edwards, as much as $2 billion was wasted, at least $1 billion of it in invalid federal aid to 162,750 people who claimed to live in houses that did not exist before the hurricane; $900 million wasted on 25,000 mobile homes that could not be used on flood plains; and $100 million taxpayers paid for bags of ice that never got delivered.
“Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one,” TheNew York Times reported in 2006. “It produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion.”