Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The economy has been on everyone’s mind lately. First mortgages, then the brokerage firms and now the big 3 automakers have all had to go to the federal government for financial bailouts. Locally DHL is pulling out leaving 7,000 people without jobs. Hamilton County may have to lay off 900 employees. The news keeps getting worse. There really is no good time for such events to occur but in the weeks preceding the Christmas holidays is especially difficult for many.
Over the last few days, several acquaintances at work have shared that their homes have been burglarized. No real pattern, these people all lived in different neighborhoods and don’t know each other. I don’t believe in coincidence and see this as symptom of the economic times. People are becoming desperate and in some cases allowing their fears to override civility towards their fellow citizens. Look at the man who was trampled to death by aggressive shoppers on Black Friday. Civility went out the door when people’s concerns for material goods outweighed their concern for another human being.
More than ever, safety and well-being of yourself and your family needs to be at the forefront. It isn’t just remembering to lock your doors; it is making sure your friends and family get home safely. Don’t let a friend go home alone who may be impaired. Check on elderly family members or neighbors. Keep constant vigilance whenever you go outside; keeping thinking about escape routes or places to take cover. Mumbai was only the most recent example of a no-notice threat. Be vigilant at your workplace for suspicious packages; most people have already forgotten about the anthrax that was mailed out after 9-11. The holidays and economy can mean a brutal one-two combination for people with mental health issues. If a co-worker or friend looks like they are having trouble coping, try to get them to talk to someone. If their behavior appears threatening (either to themselves or others), alert the proper authorities.
The county emergency management director, William Turner, is under fire again. During the blackouts back in September, the director was criticized for failures in county preparedness. Now several county police chiefs have a signed a letter point the director’s shortcomings in leadership, coordination, communication, direction, resources for the county. Two county commissioners wrote a separate letter saying, “It now appears to us that Director Turner’s service has become a divisive force instead of a unifying force in Butler County” (note Butler county Commissioner Furmon, who has supported director Turner in the past, did not sign the letter). Many counties are looking to cut their workforce in order to balance their budgets. I hope that however Butler county chooses to deal with Director Turn that they don’t end-up eliminating position. The county emergency management director serves important function and can act as a disinterested third party over fire and law enforcement services. Eliminating the position may unfairly tip the scales in the direction of the fire service or law enforcement to the detriment of the other.