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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Police can compel evacuations beginning Sept 1

So far, when a mandatory evacuation is ordered, someone always thinks they are tough enough to ride it out. The authorities have no real power to force people to leave and have resorted to telling people to write their Social Security Numbers on their arms so that their bodies can be easily identified. If the knowledge of how much destruction can be done isn't enough to get someone to leave, you would think that having to write on your arm so you body can be identified would surely get people to change their minds.

Starting September 1 of this year, during the height of the 2009 hurricane season, a new Texas law goes into effect which allows the police to use force to get people to evacuate.

Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation (Corpus Christi Caller-Times)

The law, passed this year, takes effect Sept. 1, in the heart of hurricane season in Texas. It also applies to other disasters, such as fires or floods.

Don’t expect police to go door to door arresting people or forcing them from their homes if a hurricane is headed toward Corpus Christi.

“If the hurricane is arriving here, we’re going to be doing the best we can to hunker things down, to make sure we have as many special-needs patients evacuated, to prevent crime and looting,” Corpus Christi Police Cmdr. Mark Schauer said. “We’re going to have a hard enough time preventing crime, let alone arresting people who don’t leave.”

County Judge Loyd Neal agreed that arrests for ignoring orders are unlikely.
“I don’t have a jail big enough to put 20,000 people in,” Neal said. “You have to hope people will use good sense. The majority of people usually do.”

Schauer sees the law more as a tool to compel people to leave, or to be used in special situations. For example, officials could issue a mandatory evacuation for the beaches, giving police the authority to arrest people who go storm-watching and put themselves in danger.


The important thing is that when an evacuation is ordered for your area - GET OUT! In a battle between these fierce storms and humans, humans always lose.

Now the biggest arguments I've heard against evacuating are the costs and to potential that looters are going to take your stuff. As for as the costs, this is a real issue, but you cannot put a price on your life. As far as looting goes, we are talking about STUFF and stuff can be replaced.

I know that looters get started way before the people who belong in an area are let back in. Maybe this will help prevent looting by eliminating a legitimate reason for people to be there in the forst place. But again, it is stuff. Stuff can be replaced and is insured. Looting is theft and insurance covers theft even if the storm doesn't come through the area.

Of course if a few looters are shot on site then looting will never be a problem again but I doubt that will ever happen (Disclaimer - While I respect a person's right to protect their property, I am NOT endorsing that anyone take the law into their own hands and shoot someone who they think is looting).

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