Dear Mr. President:
Please stay the hell away from Columbus. Especially when we’re trying to train and prepare for a real disaster. You knew we were running an all-day exercise that hard-working folks have been planning for over a year. You knew your visit would mean sucking away resources from our exercise and leaving us short-handed on first responders. You gave us barely two days notice (based on the publication of the initial TFR), and wanted us to cancel our plans – for you.
I don’t think you give a sh*t. We’re just flyover country. We’re mostly just typical white people who cling to our God and our guns, and what we’re doing doesn’t really matter. You’re the king, and if you want to come to give a 10 minute speech on the one day we need you to not be here screwing things up, we’ll just have to suffer. You have no respect for the American people, let alone the good citizens of Columbus.
How many of our first responders were not able to participate because you had to come to town? They had to line your parade route to make sure they were available if anything happened to YOU. It is always about YOU. How many of our firefighters and police missed out on valuable, irreplaceable training? How much less prepared are we now, and how much benefit in emergency services have the tax payers of central Ohio lost because of you?
Let me be clear Mr. President. This wasn’t some little mom-and-pop operation in a rural firehouse in the sticks. We’re a major city, and this involved the entire Columbus metro area, including a major airport, 9 major local hospitals, and more fire-rescue departments than I can count. Two hospitals bailed at the last minute – one because you were going to be in their way. Many agencies were only able to send EMTs. There were only a couple of fire trucks and almost no police. Does that make sense in a major disaster? Of course not. Because I suspect they were all pulled off the exercise to come babysit you for your 58 minutes on the ground here in town.
You couldn’t pick another day on YOUR busy schedule. You just had to fly in, spend 10 whole minutes talking about jobs – while the workers on the site you chose for your theatre had to go home without pay. Your 10 minutes pretty much ruined months and months of careful planning and coordination from multiple agencies, and a whole day for all of the unpaid volunteers. Go back to Washington and stay the hell out of my city.
Update: Found a CBS article saying the 10 minute speech cost the tax payers somewhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Salt in the wound.