Ohhhh no. Between this storm and labor day, I’m not going to know what day it is for the next two weeks.Welcome in on a Tuesday, I think. All eyes on Id-ail-ya as the front page of the Chronicle has a dark background with white lettering headlining just below the masthead, Just Wright Citrus corrects hurricane pronouns, and the Sheriff’s Office hit send on the emergency system like they were six shots deep at a slot machine in Vegas. We’re going to talk about this hurricane response a bit, but I do want to keep this show brief today.
The Chronicle editorial is about Publix’s crackdown on non-service dogs in their stores, something that I think is long overdue. I don’t mind people who bring their dogs to outdoor restaurants or to stores that allow it that don’t serve food like Lowe’s, but I don’t need your pooch’s tumbleweeds rolling through my fresh green beans while I’m just trying to get some produce.
The Just Wright Citrus piece is a couple of stories from past hurricane responses. I do appreciate one part in particular in all honesty. Mike does say that it can be hard to remember how hard Crystal River was hit by Hermine if you lived east of 491 in 2016, and as someone who lost a car and an apartment in the storm, I appreciate that since it was a truly memorable experience. And one to learn from, so I know that mandatory evacuations are a pain, but there was also one when I got flooded out that I didn’t heed,
Talking about the hurricane when that’s all anyone is talking about can be a pain, I get that, so let’s get right to it.
We all know fables in the aggregate, such as that they exist, but sometimes we forget the individual lessons. One of my favorite ones has to do with a father, a son, and a camel. These three need to get to town so the father and the son both ride the camel in and the townsfolk whisper, how dare they overload that poor animal by both riding on it. When they return to town the next week, the son walks beside the camel while the father rides to not ignite the gossip again but he hears someone say, that father should set the example for his son by walking. How lazy the old man is!
They return a week later with the son riding the camel and the father walking beside it and the crowds point and say, what a disrespectful young man to make his elders walk while he has a ride. Finally, they think they’ve solved it so they both walk leading the camel to town and they are greeted with sneers, why even have a camel if it is not going to be used? These two men are clearly unintelligent.
And so on the fifth week, the father and son walk into town both shouldering the camel on their backs. And the crowds laugh at the ridiculousness of it and shun the men. So what’s the moral of the story? You know it. No matter what you do, people will criticize you, so just do what you think is right.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office sent out too many notifications yesterday. I’m not going to defend them for those actions. But I do question that at what point do we turn the question reflexively and realize that no matter what they do, we might be criticizing them. Governor Ron DeSantis, who I think has had the best response to the storm so far, has repeated ad nausium that you don’t have to go hundreds of miles away, you simply have to get to higher ground. If you’ve been following the storm coverage minute by minute, you might be annoyed with the repetition, just like you were with the calls.
But maybe that’s the first time someone heard that, and they were on the fence whether to evacuate or not and that instance was what convinced them to go just a little farther toward safety. It’s worth taking the heat to save a life.
If I were the Sheriff, I would take the heat right now. Better to be overinformed than underinformed, and then when we’ve reached safety and the storm is gone, take decisive action to be sure it doesn’t happen again. While we were in the process of receiving the calls yesterday, I was still waiting on both my universities to make announcements about what they were doing. University of Tampa finally did around 1 p.m. while UF made an announcement just afternoon that they weren’t going to announce anything until 4 p.m.
I would much rather be annoyed by a few phone calls than I would be left in the dark. Of course, there is middle ground on the number of alerts, but think about it, does your critical response to the Sheriff’s Office communication make you either the father or the son getting the camel to town, or are you one of the gossipers in the crowd criticizing every move they make?