Sunday, January 17, 2010

Losing the Waiting Game

Time is running out. For the people trapped under the rubble in Haiti and for the people trapped in airports waiting to go help people trapped in the rubble, the passage of time reduces the odds that either will win the waiting game.

Of course, the people in Haiti are playing the waiting game for much higher stakes. They are also playing under a different set of rules. Their rules make it much more difficult to win the game as they lay trapped in the voids created when the buildings fell. They did not write those restrictive rules, but due to where they were born, they are forced to play under them. The nature of the society where they live makes it nearly impossible for those in the airports to win their waiting game and come help them. The Haitians will pay with their lives.

The people trapped in the airports stand only to lose some sleep and perhaps some sanity. They are programmed to help people in need, using a special set of skills to penetrate piles of rubble and rescue the people trapped in the voids. When they lose their waiting game, they will be told to return to their home base and secure all of the equipment that they worked so hard to prepare for their unfulfilled mission. Frustration levels will be high, with feelings of a great effort wasted for nothing.

It is my hope that no one else in Haiti loses their waiting game. I know it is not to be. The string pullers know this to be true as well. They have evaluated the amount of time it is going to take to get more rescue resources into Haiti and how long people have been trapped. The numbers do not match. Several teams poised to go to Haiti will soon be told that the time issue has defeated them and they have lost the waiting game.

No one will tell the trapped Haitians, they will just have to figure it out.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    The hard truth. It matters. And it's better that we know.

    It is hard for those who intervene to be powerless. Your insights have been very valuable to me in this disaster.

    Ann T.

  2. What a sad state, Capt. I feel for the helplessness of those awaiting their turn to "rescue". How they must feel knowing that they are just steps away and yet miles from helping anyone. Thanks for keeping me updated. your link to STATer911 and the video of the rescue was fabulous and had me crying in no time, that's what keeps those teams coming back time and time again!! Peaceful day, Capt.