The following was written by my friend Tony Davis who is a loud and proud Floridian. As a Los Angelian I want to do my part in spreading his word. Keep dry Florida!
Rules when discussing the hurricane with Floridians:
Calling people who don't evacuate "idiots" or saying "they deserve what happens to them" is a judgement statement that without facts, you are not qualified to make. We live in a state that is not the 'Spring Breakers' idea you have in your mind. We have more 55 plus communities than you can imagine. Elderly who can't drive because of age, or leave because of finances. A lot of our elderly, don't have "blood family" so they are relying on their "God made" family. We aren't leaving our grandmas and grandpas behind alone to face Irma. They need younger people right now to make sure they have what they need to survive this storm and the devastation. Most of them have pets that are as old as they are. Just like your kids would be your priority, their furry companions are theirs.
"Just go get a plane ticket!"(You can't just fly out.) Don't make statements or give advice on how we should evacuate. You don't have the slightest knowledge of what we are up against. There are challenges to leaving. Flights out are being changed, cancelled, delayed. Tickets are $2-3,000 higher than they normally are. To fly out of Florida today, if you got a flight, one-way, could cost about 3,000.00
Don't say "Get in your car and drive fast out"
Gas stations are getting fuel still, but that fuel is gone before the lines are empty.
There is no driving fast. Cars are moving 5-7 mph on highways trying to get to safety. The lines are long and imagine, with a gas shortage, being stuck on highways in jams for 12-15 hours.
Florida has one way out, and that is through the top (Northern) part of the state. There are basically 2 major roads out. Those roads are jammed, backed up, and not expected to change.
To post "Florida is about to be wiped off the map" because you are watching the news reports and panicking from 3,000 miles away- is not the most uplifting thing for us to see. Plus, don't speak your devastation to us. Be positive!
"If I lived in Florida, I would have evacuated a week ago." Well I'm not so sure that you would have. It's not that simple if you have a heart...not only that, you don't know until the final days which path the storm is going to take. Homes have to be boarded up. Things have to be done to ensure that if you do leave, you have somewhere to return. Then after our homes are secured, we again...have elderly who need their homes secured. So I'd say if you were here, you wouldn't leave so fast.
"Go to a safer part of the state." Yes, we thought of that. No one knows exactly what part that is. If Irma takes a turn it could hit the west coast- if we are all fleeing to the west coast because it says the east coast is the most dangerous, then that could be costly. We know what we need to do and we are monitoring the situation.
Feel Free to check on us, text us, call us. But, don't text your fears of our demise. Don't call us crying because you are scared for us.
We have a storm to conquer. As warriors we need to be healthy, mentally and physically.
When your son or daughter or friend gets ready to go play in a competitive sport before the game, do you call them and say "you are going to lose" ; "don't show up for the game" ; "the odds are against you". I would hope not while we are preparing to overcome this storm, please send us encouragement! We welcome it! If you are going to do anything less than that, turn your TV or radio off and keep your lips zipped.
Rules will be strictly enforced...I don't know how yet but don't break them.
Now, I have to go see what I can do to help my community get ready for Irma's arrival.
Sorry actually no I'm not sorry!!! FLORIDA TOUGH!