August 26, 2017

"Those who didn't evacuate and remained in the storm's path, such as Corpus Christi, were told to write their names or social security numbers on their arms so that their bodies can be later identified."

Says The Daily Mail, without revealing the source of the morbid advice. I doubt that any American political figure would say that. The British newspaper may not grasp how touchy we Americans are about identification numbers.

ADDED: ABC News identifies Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios as the one who said: "We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number... We hate to talk about things like that. It's not something we like to do but it’s the reality, people don’t listen."

45 comments:

wendybar said...

The Rockport Mayor did say that....https://www.ksat.com/news/people-not-evacuating-should-write-name-social-security-number-on-arm-rockport-mayor-pro-tem-says

Achilles said...

We wrote our blood type on our boots or plate carrier.

SweatBee said...

It was the mayor.

And it's not the first time I've heard that advice go out to people choosing not to listen to evacuation orders.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

"I doubt that any American political figure would say that. "

I don't. One of my students several years ago told me her father--a city official in Long Beach or Pass Christian, MS--did exactly the same thing as Katrina approached, telling people who refused to leave to write their names in Sharpie on their wrists. Just like dog tags.

bagoh20 said...

You carry around ID 24/7 anyway, so what's the big deal. It's just advice - not mandatory, and I think it's good advice. You ever try to find a sharpie in hurry or write in the rain?

mockturtle said...

It's a lot like the Mt. St. Helens eruption. People were told to evacuate but many refused and they died. Being told to wear some visible ID seems like sound advice. You can lead a horse to water, etc.

bagoh20 said...

It would be a good opportunity to disappear. Write a goodbye note and walk off lost in the crowd and confusion. "He died in the big storm. Left behind a wife, mortgage, and 6 kids."

rehajm said...

It is one of those old salts shared on those mayorial boondoggles to fun cities and locales. To the mayors who skimmed the Sunstein book it sounds like a satisfying way to scare people in to evacuating.

SweatBee said...

Port Lavaca mayor before Hurricane Rita

Governor Blanco before Rita

Chris Christie before Sandy

rehajm said...

In present day south Texas a Social Security number is a poor way to identify an individual.

Yancey Ward said...

Translation: "Kiss your ass goodbye."

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Quick - remove some statues! Someone must pay!

Wince said...

Leave it to the DailyMail UK to obtain a photo of "Hurricane Harvey" in his full destructive fury literally moments after actually coming ashore.

Earnest Prole said...

That new Google “internet search software” is worthless unless properly installed on your computer.

Mayor tells those not evacuating for hurricane to put Social Security numbers on arms

"We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number," Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios said at a news conference this morning.

"We hate to talk about things like that," he said. "It's not something we like to do but it’s the reality, people don’t listen."

mockturtle said...

bagoh suggested: It would be a good opportunity to disappear. Write a goodbye note and walk off lost in the crowd and confusion. "He died in the big storm. Left behind a wife, mortgage, and 6 kids."

His widow collected on his double-indemnity policy and lived happily ever after.

mockturtle said...

Don't assume that illegals don't have SS numbers. If they are working, they likely do.

Humperdink said...

My friend and I inadvertently flew into instrument flight conditions with his small plane. He contacted air traffic control. The first question they posed was: "How many souls on board?" Got our attention.

Bob Boyd said...

Better to put your ID info on your torso. Limbs can be ripped off.
If you really want peace of mind, write it on each limb, your forehead and your torso, that way everything might end up in the same box...which is nice.

Oso Negro said...

The fact of the matter is that compliant citizens are more convenient for governments to manage. As a consequence of this, when threatened with flooding and disruption of normal life, all the stops are pulled out by the government to terrorize you into compliance. Hence the SS number trope. In Galveston, before the arrival of Hurricane Ike, the official forecast included the words "certain death". Needless to say, death was not at all certain. Those of us who roamed the island for the two weeks before the general public was allowed back on were not at any particular risk, but it was more convenient for the local government to keep people off the island. I literally saw out of town first-responder types having barbecues on the Seawall while average citizens were not allowed to return to their homes.

Marc said...

We'll know how great a catastrophe this Harvey and all really is by the number of days the Washington Post 'temporarily removes the limit on free articles per month'.

mockturtle said...

Oso Negro, a government is damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to evacuation orders.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Harvey dropped quickly from Cat 4 to Cat 1. It's getting harder to find news, but the Toronto Star keeps recycling the scary stuff from yesterday. Still no fatalities? First major hurricane in Texas since Ike in 2008: Ike covered a huge area, remained Cat 4 for a while, "was blamed for at least 195 deaths." Star says Harvey is the strongest to hit Texas since Carla in 1961. Carla was briefly a Cat 5, and caused 43 direct fatalities. Mayors take different approaches: the Mayor of Houston said his city wasn't expecting a hurricane, it was expecting rain.

Ambrose said...

I read the mayor's words not as advice to actually write your name and SSN on your body, but as a hyperbolic way of saying "You really should evacuate."

Virgil Hilts said...

This doesn't surprise me and I think it's an old practice. I remember in the 70s watching a documentary film in school where deputies were going house to house someplace in the south before a hurricane. When people answered the door and said they were staying, the deputies requested their names, DOBs and addresses of nearest next to kin since they expected they were going to have to notify them of the homeowner's death in the next few days. When the homeowners were forced to imagine their children/parents/siblings receiving that call, many of them gave in. This is just good policing.

mccullough said...

People who won't evacuate won't follow this advice either

Jim Howard said...

Until fairly recently I owned a vacation home in Rockport Texas. The mayor did in fact say exactly that, in no uncertain terms. He also said 911 would not send responders to anyone remaining in the evacuation area until the storm had passed.

And that's not the first time I've heard officials say the same things to people planning to ride out a disaster.

This is Texas.

John henry said...

I don't see anything wrong with the advice other than being, perhaps, a bit hyperbolic.

First thing I thought of was back in the 60's people going to some demos would be told to write the name and phone# of a lawyer on their arm. The idea being that in the slam they would not have access to the lawyer's card in their wallet.

I live in a house on a hill that sticks up like a thumb. Highest thing for 500 years or so. 100 feet up and a quarter mile back from the ocean with nothing in between.

We've been through 2 serious hurricanes (Hugo '89 and Georges '98). The eye passed right over our house. Not fun but we did not evacuate for either and came through OK. Hugo did some damage to the house but we fixed up and hurricane proofed and Spent Georges sitting in the living room watching the show.

The hard part was after when we had no water or power for 3-4 weeks.

John Henry

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Back a coupla years ago (as I notice from viewing my Facebook posts "On This Day") a different official in the path of a hurricane advised residents who choose not to evacuate to write their identification info on a card, fold it once and place it in one of their shoes to facilitate identification of the corpse.

It's a thing.

Made necessary by "parties" that seek to "ride it out."

Unknown said...

I've heard this Sharpie / SS# thing at least 10 times, said by local officials when the time to evacuate ahead of an oncoming storm is dwindling. Still a valuable thing to say, to impress upon people the gravity of the danger.

But I wish the sheriffs would mix it up a bit. (Why is it always "Sharpie," as against, e.g., "magic marker"? Product endorsement?)

cubanbob said...

rehajm said...
In present day south Texas a Social Security number is a poor way to identify an individual."

Funny but cold, very cold.

cubanbob said...

It's easy to say evacuate. If it's only a few hundred or even a few thousand that's doable. But when millions are told to evacuate the questions becomes, evacuate to where? There aren't enough shelters and the roads will become impassable as everyone tries to flee. If your home is subject to serious flooding then go. Otherwise unless the storm is of a catastrophic wind force, better to reinforce the home and clear branches and other potential hazards and stock up with water and supplies. Of course it would be helpful in a rare case of useful regulation that local governments require high volume gas stations and food markets and pharmacies to have standby generators.

SukieTawdry said...

Lloyd W. Robertson said...Harvey dropped quickly from Cat 4 to Cat 1. It's getting harder to find news, but the Toronto Star keeps recycling the scary stuff from yesterday.

The London papers are going to town on it as well. They have lots of pictures of downed traffic lights and a few stray roofs. If that's the best (worst) they can come up with, Texas is in pretty good shape. It's the torrential rains that will be most problematic. I read the storm might not reach Houston until Wednesday. That's a lot of wobbling around.

Achilles said...

A hurricane hit Texas.

Impeach Trump.

rcocean said...

I thought all Texans kept their SS# in their boot heel, so they could die with their boots on.

rcocean said...

What happens if you lose your arm? And doesn't Sharpie ink wear off under water?

OldGuy said...

I grew up in N. FL, literally 5 minutes by bicycle from salt water (Pensacola Bay). I still live in Tallahassee, Fl.

My father was a member of the Sheriff's Auxiliary. They were called out during emergencies - hurricanes, major fires, riots, etc. (The Sheriff's Posse rode in parades.) This advice was routinely given out by law enforcement and other public officials. I also worked for the County Search and Rescue Unit as a Shallow Water Diver. Snorkel only, no SCUBA. You would be surprised at the number of people who drown in less than 10 feet of water.

I have experienced at least a dozen hurricanes and never evacuated once. We had a brick house and were on the Bay and not directly on the coast.

Of course, we know what precautions to take and we take them. One of the most useful is to cut pieces of heavy-duty marine plywood to fit each window. You board up the windows when the hurricane comes through and then put the plywood back in the garage till next time.

In fact, back then they sold double headed nails. I don't know if they still sell them, bu these were nails that had a collar of raised metal about a half inch down from the true head of the nail. It made the nail look like it had two heads, but both on the same end. You could hammer the nail all the way in tight to the collar or first head and then slip the claw of the hammer under the collar and put the nail out after the storm had passed.

My father always used screws, not nails. Much easier.

Anyway, the advice to write your SSN on your body was real. Also, be aware that people who die in major high water incidents mixed with high winds and strong currents often wind up naked. The clothing is just ripped off by the water rolling them around and up against obstructions. Of course, at that point they're too dead to be embarrassed.

Jael said...

Name & SSN are for charging your estate for your cleanup.

OldGuy said...

Sorry, I wrote - You could hammer the nail all the way in tight to the collar or first head and then slip the claw of the hammer under the collar and put the nail out after the storm had passed.

I meant - You could hammer the nail all the way in tight to the collar or first head and then slip the claw of the hammer under the real head and pull the nail out after the storm had passed.

My bad.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"...average citizens were not allowed to return to their homes."

Those are bank and government homes, not subjects'--that like to label themselves citizens--homes. While it's true quartering soldiers/bureaucrats might not happen to you in your home today, the appropriate government agencies can still keep endentured asses off and out as they deem what it is they will deem. They own it. You will pay them for that luxury of lighting your tax dollars alight too. (Unless you listen to Taylor and "Stay*")

Of course without the government here to help us, we would have apocalyptic genocide within days or even mere hours. Heck I bet the drones on the commercials paid for by tax dollars saying how much we owe those bureaucrats for doing a racist, hateful, half-assed job would not verbaly infringe on the argument our current lack of regulation is the problem, not anything that old dino Reagan spoke of.

*I want you to consider the lyrics "Why'd you have to go and lock me out when I let you in" in terms of what is expected of its subjects by this government and its tentacles. If you're here, your ass is theirs.

Unknown said...

The real disaster will come when people file their insurance claims. Most of the damage will be flooding, like in Sandy. But unless you live on a floodplain you probably don't have flood insurance and the insurance companies will not cover flood damage during a hurricane. They will say the damage was not from wind, which is true. With this much rain, places will flood that have never flooded before.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Blogger mockturtle said...
Oso Negro, a government is damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to evacuation orders.

8/26/17, 12:59 PM"

If you believe that then the only option is more taxpayer money to smear the blame around with expert consultants and the like so much so that any, and especially all, failures can't be acknowledged/identified and potentially corrected or at least improved. More money, and even more money, and by God can you believe it?, MORE MONEY has been, is, and will be various governments answer to why people aren't rightfully vocally grateful for the sacrifices contemplated by government artisans on your behalf (and dime). Contemplating why so-called higher ed in this country spends and spends and spends billions and billions each year yet has created more problems in America over the last 50 years than it has solved has made me realize that by my writing at Althouse I have unwittingly adopted the academic bullshit attitude that anything I do is a (considered) step forward by virtue of it being me doing the stepping. I just write write write as if everything I claimed previous to a minute ago is obsolete and to be forgotten if not indeed actively disguarded after mucking up the narrative a bit as a red-herring jaunt.

Tom Brady is the biggest NFL winner ever, and only a purposeful liar would claim he never threw a pic or even incomplete pass. He wasn't damned for doing so, even though that wasn't what he is paid to do, as likewise neither are government officials who create chaos and despair given even a smidgen of blame save a handful of prominent stories blaming lack of funds for 99% of the problems.

Conclusively with Trump as potUS, no blame for anything will fall on any Democratic, no matter what color and how numerous the deaths.

southcentralpa said...

The English would be even more sensitive about numbers than we are. (Oddly, they care less about being monitored all the time everywhere in public, but go figger...)

sparrow said...
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sparrow said...

Blogger sparrow said...
My brother in law (he's in Goliad, about 70 miles inland from Rockport) lost power but everyone's OK. I'm more concerned about my father in law near Katy as of last night they had 16" of rain and it was still coming down (he's over 80 but still spry). I know they can handle 20" because they got that last much April. They should be OK, it's really the cattle that are risk. Another brother in law (I have 4) is a policemen in Houston. He was on duty Sunday but could not make it to the precint due to flooding. Houston is nearly flat so the effected area is huge: it's the steady rain that really puts people at risk.

MD Anderson is out there, as are several other major hospitals. Those are the people most at risk: patients whose depend on power. They've had a few serious floods in Hosuton in the last 10-15 years: I believe they've made preparations to prevent and minimize the effects.
It shouldn't be catastrophic because of the preparation.