On Aug. 28, 2018, the Atlantic published a piece declaring: “A Year After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico Finally Knows How Many People Died.”
The subtitle adds: “A new, definitive study from George Washington University finds that almost 3,000 people lost their lives – and highlights the government’s failures before and after the storm.”
No bias there, right?. But to which government are they referring? Well, since the Atlantic.com leans decidedly left, we can guess which government, or more succinctly, which administration.
But what should first jump off the page is that GW University had to do a study to determine the figure. And the figure is deceiving at best. President Trump is correct to discount the 3,000 person mark.
The Atlantic states, “The big number is the one that will elicit the most media response from the study: Almost 3,000 people were killed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.” And if one were to read just that, one would believe that the storm wiped them out, like planes flying into the Twin Towers.
However, reading further we find that this is not the case – not even close.
The study was conducted from September, 2017, the month of the storm, all the way through February of the following year (2018).
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I read that some “3,000 people were killed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,” I don’t expect a death that occurred almost six months later to count as one of the “storm” deaths. No reasonable person would.
In fact, according to Puerto Rico’s own records, the total deaths directly caused by the storm were 64. “The official government estimate of 64 deaths from the hurricane is low primarily because the conventions used for causal attribution only allowed for classification of deaths attributable directly to the storm, e.g., those caused by structural collapse, flying debris, floods and drownings,” the report notes.
Well duh! Isn’t that what “killed by Hurricane Maria” is supposed to mean? Evidently not, but every person who reads that kind of headline will come to the same wildly incorrect conclusion.
The vast majority of deaths were mainly due to the island’s already crumbling infrastructure and pitiful disaster preparedness in a place run by leftists for decades. That and the study also included deaths that occurred during the migration of Puerto Rican residents to states like Florida even months later.
Using the logic of the GW study, anyone killed in a car accident while evacuating the Carolina coasts, or had a heart attack, or choked on a chicken bone at a restaurant in route, would be considered among the number of dead from Hurricane Florence.
But the left has picked up the narrative of the death toll and run with it – even saying that reason for the deaths is because the residents of Puerto Rico are brown. And they are residents on an island territory of the U.S., not really part of America, and don’t get a vote in Washington. That’s why the response was so slow and inadequate, which led to 3,000 deaths. That’s why Trump didn’t try very hard to help. Translation: Trump is a racist. What’s new!
And because of this “study,” done almost entirely by computer models on the campus of GW University and where “researchers” never once ventured to Puerto Rico, history will reflect the 3,000 number – not the 64. This will make it No. 2 among the U.S. hurricanes that have taken the most lives. No. 1 is still Galveston, Texas, in 1900, which claimed 8,000 lives.
I am not belittling any of the deaths from Hurricane Maria. But whether this study by GW was politically motivated or not, it certainly has given ample ammunition to the likes of CNN, MSNBC, et al., to further their assaults on the president.
Next to look forward to – the left’s politicization of Hurricane Florence. As Nancy Grace used to say: “Bank on it, Buddy!”