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« A Tale Of Two Cities | Main | Boy Scout's Motto »

More Law Enforcement Stupidity

Yes, even in Texas:

...local law enforcment officials have closed off local farm and country roads which would ease the traffic flow along the major evacuation routes. One friend of mine who lives in Angleton, 40 or 50 miles south of Houston and who is very familiar with the back roads was not allowed to use them; local law enforcement officials forced him back on to the major evacuation routes which lead to nowhere. They are virtual parking lots. There are numerous reports of people turning around and returning to their homes.
Posted by Rand Simberg at September 22, 2005 02:53 PM
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this post from Transterrestrial Musings.
Excerpt: The context is a Shape of Days post offering a Texan perspective on Amtrak's usefulness.
Weblog: Cold Spring Shops
Tracked: September 22, 2005 09:59 PM
Excerpt: The current meme is that Texas should have ordered counterflow earlier. People also note that gas stations along the interstate are running out of gas. Just how do people think tankers with resupply are supposed to get to these stations? Sheesh....
Weblog: blogs for industry
Tracked: September 23, 2005 05:06 PM

seems like a real good place for self-respecting, gun-toting Texans to put their foot down and say, OK- the Revolution starts: NOW.

Posted by . at September 22, 2005 06:47 PM

This, along with similar stories from Katrina, make it clear that government, in general, is full of it and is incapable of any kind of rational behavior in times of disaster. If we ever have the big plague, what do you think will be the appropriate respose to any kind of government bullying?

Posted by Kurt at September 22, 2005 07:59 PM

I have been guiding my daughter around the back roads west of Houston over the phone, trying to get her to San Antonio and twice law enforcement sent them towards the interstate despite their stated desire not to go that way. I had a nice route for them on good roads. I know, I've driven on them. They have given up trying to go around the roadblocks and are going to go sit in the parking lot called I-10 west.

Posted by Bill Maron at September 22, 2005 09:53 PM

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday who's parents left Houston on Wednesday around 5 p.m. and didn't get to Dallas till 4 a.m. Thursday. They to noticed early on that people were trying to cut off the highway across the grass and that the State Troopers were very aggressively pulling people over immediately and getting them to drive back across to back onto the highway. Also, they have put orange traffic cones down right in the middle of the shoulders to keep people from driving along the shoulders. This didn't stop car loads of people from driving down the shoulders anyways and when coming upon a cone someone in the passenger seat would hop out and move the cone so the car could pass. I can only imagine that law enforcement assumes that the dumb masses will drive off into the countryside get lost, run out of gas, and be exposed to the hurricane out in the open. Instead, people are sitting in their cars idling till their tanks run dry and are left out in the open exposed to the hurricane anyways. Most gas stations along the highway have already run out of gas. So, they are instructing people that run out of gas in their car to pull over to the side and lift your hood up and technical assistance will arrive at some point with a gas tanker to top your car off. To some degree this does make sense in that if people do get to spread out and lost and run out of gas then calls for help will strain rescue and recovery resources. At least this way police and rescue can keep everyone in one group and consolidate their resources better. However, there should be more measure of choice in that they should be stopping people and telling them, "okay you understand that if you go out here and try to make your own route that you are on your own." Then, emphasize that sticking to the highways is their best bet for assistance in the event they run into trouble. That way we at least maintain some American standard by implementing a freedom of choice and the ability for a person to choose their own course of action.

Posted by Josh Reiter at September 23, 2005 08:23 AM

The obvious fear here is looting of evacuated rural houses and farms. There's no way they can patrol that area, and they can't "profile", so they're simply not letting anyone into the area. If this means that people are stuck on the freeway, so be it. Did you ever see anyone, much less a gov't employee with a touch of megalomania(which describes most cops) do anything that would make their job harder?

Posted by bud at September 23, 2005 11:06 AM

I noticed the same driving back to Houston on Friday (yes, I came back... I left because of unrelated issues). When driving the opposite direction, you get to notice what others may not. For instance, most of the long lines were caused by law enforcement. Anytime DOT got a tanker to a station, officers and troopers would then shutdown the road heading north and form a que to the gas station.

I'm sure they thought they were doing a good job of rationing the gas. However, most people (like me in my SUV) can make a drive from Houston to Dallas in less than 1 tank. Well you can if you are allowed to drive within half of posted speeds. Idling in a long line (3 miles in one case) doesn't help with MPG. Also, we got to see several fights caused by people getting frustrated sitting in their cars.

On another note, back roads were available to me going south (I had to use a few to avoid a civilian made contra flow on US 59 - for the guy above suggesting people take things in their own hands... the contraflow was holding up 4 ambulances trying to go the other way). I made it from near Athens, TX to Houston in 5 hours. About an hour longer than normal.

Posted by Leland at September 26, 2005 07:21 AM

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