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(RNS) As Sandy cleanup continues, so does an ethical debate: Is evacuation a moral duty? By G. Jeffrey MacDonald.

3 Comments

  1. I think the solution to the ethical quandary presented is that insofar as we are interdependent, socialized creatures we it is our moral duty to abide by evacuation orders. At the same time, favoring individual liberties, if one chooses to defy those orders then they forfeit any right to emergency support. As individuals we can choose to accept the support of social institutions, but their agreed upon conditions must be met. If we choose to ignore those conditional requisites, then we lose our right to that support. End of controversy… as if.

  2. Ed Zuccarelli

    I have been a first responder since 1979 and live in a flood prone area of New Jersey. I do not subscribe to the idea that personal liberty is even an issue here. The right to personal liberty does not carry with it the right to expose others to mortal danger. The government agency issuing an evacuation order is responding to a threat not of its own making. A mandatory evacuation order is not a “we know whats good for you” solution that is arbitrary. It is a solution to a demonstrable threat, based on centuries of weather related data that shows what happens when floods or fires get out of control. We as first responders are held responsible by our own ethical standards, and will be obligated to rescue those who make a choice to stay and later find themselves in a situation they cannot survive.

  3. I agree that you have the right to refuse to relocate but not the right to ask to be rescued when you don’t. Work out some plan just like you do for how to get out of your house in case of fire. If you have no money for hotels be prepared to drive until you are out of danger and then ask for help where you end up.When my town was going through two terrible storms the city manager brought in people to man the phones and help people decide how to survive where they were but remind them that the time for rescue was over and no one was going to be asked to risk their life to go after them. I think he was right. If you think you can’t evacuate call your disaster headquarters, they may be able to help you find a way.