First COVID lockdowns, now de Blasio NYC storm travel bans. Thanks, Ida! (opinion)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Government’s desire to dictate every aspect of our lives truly never ends.
Especially in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken a lashing for the city being unprepared for the deadly, historic rainfall that drowned New York City as the remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through on Wednesday night.
De Blasio’s response? Cracking down on New Yorkers when severe weather is in the forecast.
In other words, get ready for more lockdowns that could come on a whim based on how government officials with limited expertise view the “facts” and the “science” of a developing situation that they have no control over.
De Blasio on Friday said that New Yorkers could face mandatory travel bans and evacuations from basement apartments when big storms are in the forecast.
We’re facing a “new paradigm,” de Blasio said. We’re in a whole new world.
Appearing on MSNBC, de Blasio said, “We would historically not think of telling people, ‘Don’t go on the streets don’t go on the subways’ — literally banning travel. This is the kind of thing we’re going to have to use more often.”
Remember how former Gov. Andrew Cuomo got slammed when he preemptively shuttered the subway and bus systems with a blizzard bearing down on the city in 2015?
The only problem was that the blizzard never materialized in all its predicted fury. Cuomo looked like he’d jumped the gun.
Weather forecasts are like that. There’s no way to tell for sure what any weather system is going to do. Storms erupt out of nowhere. Powerful storms suddenly weaken or change direction. Small storms gather power.
It leaves government with a lot of leeway if elected officials are now going to be able to demand that we shelter in place or evacuate because snow or wind or rain is on the way.
They’re more likely than not going to err on the side of extreme caution, whether the conditions truly call for it or not.
Hmm, this storm could be a bad one. Better close the buses and subways. Better tell people to stay in their homes. Better tell businesses to shut down. Better keep cars off the roads.
Because, after all, it can’t hurt for you to stay in your home.
It’s the same thing we were told about one pandemic stricture after another: It “can’t hurt” for you to stay in your homes for months on end. It “can’t hurt” to wear a mask. It “can’t hurt” to get vaccinated. It “can’t hurt” to get a booster shot.
“Can’t hurt” isn’t a basis for public policy affecting millions of people.
As for warnings about Hurricane Ida, I don’t know about you, but my phone was blowing up for hours with alerts about the coming storm.
And in de Blasio’s defense, the most dire warnings that I saw involved the possibility of tornadoes. Footage of funnel clouds and destruction seen in Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey only reinforced that hellish wind, not rainfall, was the threat.
But in classic fashion, it looks like de Blasio won’t let a good crisis go to waste. But the conversation should about improving infrastructure, not shutting things down.
They want us to get vaccinated and present proof when asked. They want us to mask up.
They want us to drive only so fast. They want us to pay in order to drive into certain parts of the city.
And now they want to shut the city down whenever a bad storm is on the way. That could be in summer, winter, fall or spring.
And just like they’ve told us during the pandemic or when talking about road safety: It’s all for our own protection.
It truly never ends.