Should citizens in general be required to bail out certain cities over and over and over again? New Orleans is a case in point. Suppose a bunch of people got together to build a city and got around to the siting question (where to put it).

New Orleans is at major risk every hurricane season and every 2-4 years it gets hit hard. Let's suppose New Orleans didn't exist and the aforementioned group were to look at the area. "Hmm...there isn't enough land there to build the city on." "Yeah but I have an idea. We'll build walls around part of the water and pump the water out and build our city there." "Under sea level? You must be kidding!" "I'm serious as a heart attack! If the sea wall fails, we'll just depend on the Feds to help us out."

Cities built along the San Andreas Fault are another example.

Maybe Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle should be moved to Kentucky and Tennessee (but not along the Ohio River).

And what about people who build homes in 100 year flood plains? People love to build homes right on the banks of rivers, and they can do so because they know the county, state, or FEMA will come in and rescue them and probably help them out.

How much should the public pay for stupid decisions as to where to build cities or homes?

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This is a good question and the answer is buried under many layers of complexity.

The first thing to consider is that we all live in a society. The goal of which, I believe, is to help each other through tough times. In this regard, of course we should help people when their city is flooded... for the most part, it's not their fault that some moron decided to plan the city in the way they did.

The second thing to consider is that if we start ruling out locations with historical catastrophic events, how regular does the pattern have to be to consider that location non-viable for a city? How about just a small town? How about just a homestead? It's easy to imagine a vast area of land being ruled out for city building by virtue of it's history.

So now we have two points to consider: our societal obligation to other members of society, and how much land is actually available to build problem free (or at least few) cities on. We may consider it a delicate balance, with societal obligation going only to those who are deemed to of built in a reasonable area. But how can we determine what is reasonable? What rate of disaster is acceptable for a disaster to be considered a freak disaster rather than something which happens regularly? and how do we decide on that number?

Until we can answer these questions with some level of seriousness and certainty, I believe the public should continue their aid obligations as is.

When is it time to say "Enough is enough? If you insist on staying, you're on your own. We'll give you xx years to find another place to live, whether you leave individually or whether the city decides to pull up stakes and go somewhere more reasonable."?

If the time were to come when we'd have to determine how much risk is reasonable, how much disaster regularity implies it's time to wash our hands? I can't say, but legislators have to make similarly difficult decisions all the time, If the time came, the decision would be made. This would be rancorous and problematic, but if it had to be done, it would be done.

people keep living there for a reason. Even if it's a stupid reason, just let them make their own stupid decisions, and if you don't wanna help them out, you don't have to (tax dollars spent is another argument, however).

And if you start with NOLa, you'd never stop! Flood zones, coastal towns, fault lines, anywhere near a nuclear power plant... how do you define where "illegally dangerous" starts being "just dangerous"? 

I was mainly concerned about FEMA and tax dollars.

I would define illegally risk as any place that experiences widespread disasters causing great expense with some regularity. I'm not saying they should necessarily move (the interest-snagging subject line aside), but that they should be expected not to expect help. They live there by choice, they can set aside their own emergency funds or pay for insurance.

Yeah, let's move them all to "Tornado Alley".

Tornadoes are an interesting subject. Unlike a hurricane, which can cause great damage over a huge swath over hours and hours and even days, a hurricane is a very concentrated storm in a relatively small area, and tornadoes are shortlived. Further, they spend a lot of their time over relatively sparsely inhabited geography. It's only when they happen to wander into a densely-populated area that they really hit the headlines. Also, while a lot of tornadoes happen in "tornado alley," it's a crap shoot which towns will be hit, whereas places like New Orleans, Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, Savannah, Panama City, Pensacola, Mobile, Biloxi, and Baton Rouge have to deal with Hurricanes every year.

The hurricanes would be a lot less expensive nationally if few people lived there or if those areas took responsibility for having an adequate response.

You know the New Madrid earthquake was the strongest in recorded history.

I really don't think we need to worry about it, if global warming keeps melting the polar ice caps the way it has been - and this year was a record-breaker - cities like New Orleans will be permanently under water and no one will be able to bail them out.

BTW, I spoke to St. Andreas the other day, and he can't understand why everyone is blaming him - it's not his fault.

I think you should look at my new thread: Michael Crichton on Science by Consensus, Pseudoscience, and Global Warming

I don't see it - give me a link.

I guess I wrote it but didn't "Add" it. Here is a direct link:

http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/michael-crichton-on-scienc...

Just visited your link (above), got this: "Our apologies – this page was not found" - could you have enemies in high places? Or have you just been drinking again?

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