Friday, November 2, 2012

How About a NYC CleanUp Marathon?

Instead of just canceling the NYC Marathon as he just did this afternoon amidst a growing chorus of criticism, Mayor Bloomberg should seize the opportunity to declare a "New York City CleanUp Marathon."

All the Marathoners have made plans to come here anyway.  And now they suddenly have a free Sunday on their hands.  So why not just host a huge Clean Up Party on Sunday instead?

Heck, we have 35,000 superfit runner jocks hanging around doing nothing, plus 12,000 well-organized volunteers, and another 2 million spectators.  Add on to two-thousand overtime police offices assigned to the Marathon. Why not repurpose that whole efforts to aiding the folks in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and other stricken communities?

What our hurricane victims really need is a thousands or millions of fit, well-organized, disciplined folks, with a combined life experience of some 50 million years, coming to their destroyed homes and saying: "How can we help?  What can we do?  Clear that debris?  No problem.  Let's go, guys, heave-ho!"

That's how it is done.  I know.  Because I was a 9/11 guerilla volunteer, and that is how we did it.  Helping is not rocket science.  You just need to find out what is needed, and get the job done.

9/11 and Katrina proved that guerrilla volunteers fix problems fast, and and get in where help is needed most, while rule-bound organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA are generally slow to fix immediate problems, and too rule-bound to be flexible.  That is why guerilla volunteers were among the  most important first responders on 9/11, and why their help is needed now.

Ever since 10,000 Athenian private citizens defeated and army of well over 100,000 invaders, the name Marathon has been synonymous with heroes, and volunteer heroes, at that.  We need those heroes now.  And thank God, we have them here, right now, when we need them.

All the Mayor needs to do is give them a clear invitation to help, and make sure the police help, and do not hinder, the efforts of hordes of private volunteers.

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