People see what they expect to see. Samizdata points us to one shallow pond:
And another thing to think about when we start pointing fingers is this. The government is never equipped to handle a crisis like this.
Then who is? It seems to me that the very reason we create/acknowledge government is because it is the human organization best-equipped to handle national defense, which includes, in prospect, maintenance of environmental systems such as the wetlands at the mouth of the Mississippi, wetlands whose existence would have mitigated the damage of Katrina. It's all well and good to use Katrina as example of how government is not perfect but it is really a waste of breath until you can offer an example of who would take charge of prevention & then recovery efforts over the size of a nice-sized region like England. Perhaps we'd have a free-market in emergency services...you'd be up on your roof amid the floodwaters and several helicopters would fly over and solicit your business and you'd chose the one who offered the best "package. No my libertarian friends, you won't be able to use Katrina to sell the libertarian viewpoint. Quite the contrary, in fact.
Now that doesn't mean that people shouldn't be prepared on their own to deal with emergencies. Of course they should. (Making Light has had some very good posts on Emergency preparedness at the level of the individual and I urge you to read them and, as well, act on them.) But the society at large has a critical role. I mean that's what the society at-large is there for! I will help when you are in trouble and you will reciprocate. It's called the social compact and it is to government only that we grant the police power to act in such emergencies to ensure that the various actors delivering aid can work without being shot etc etc. Unfortunately or not, there is, by definition, no one else to whom we can grant the police power except government -- for whoever has it does become the government.