For the sake of the Ohio community, it must be remembered that today's hyperconnected world presents plenty of conundrums. When situations erupt such as in Boston, pictures and video of tragedy travel fast. This started with the First Gulf War in 1991 and has only accelerated in pace since then with the number of communications connections increasing.
The first thing to remember in an incident like this is that we're not there. While the images feel so close and the emotions are quite real, time and space separate us. Local law enforcement and civil contingency personnel are responding to the situation as fast as they can. In any search for a perpetrator of a heinous act, apprehension is not normally immediate.
It is quite human to seek answers. In the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event, answers might not necessarily be there to be found. In an increasingly connected world where communications move faster and faster, frustration happens easily when you see senselessness and try to attribute sense to it.
From outside an affected area, the first thing to do is to relieve stresses on communications lines. If you have loved ones, wait to call. Our Plain Ol' Telephone System end of contemporary telecommunications does have capacity limits. If the American Red Cross establishes Health & Welfare check-ins that then provides a rather alternative channel to get back in touch. Cellular telephone networks also have capacity limits and can collapse from overloading. If you get an all-circuits-busy signal, leave it be for a time.
It also has to be remembered outside an affected area that requests for help flow outwards rather than uncoordinated offers of aid flowing inward. The people on the ground closest to the incident know what is wrong and where help is needed most. Second-guessing them and playing arm-chair general from a distance causes harm rather than good. Local first responders are in charge until they are relieved or pass the responsibility on to higher command.
IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED that members of the Ubuntu Ohio Local Community Team take the time to pursue the FEMA Emergency Management Institute's independent study course "A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance" to gain an appreciation of how disaster assistance functions in the United States in general. Other courses are also available from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute to pursue if members are interested.
In the meantime, keep the folks in Boston in your thoughts and prayers. We continue to live in interesting times.
It appears that as of 7 April 2013 I am the Point of Contact for Ubuntu Ohio and effectively Leader. In an e-mail to the community sent Sunday I wrote:
As of today the High Council of Ubuntu Ohio is taking a breather by ceasing to operate for the time being. The e-mail address for the High Council also no longer functions. It is time to give thanks to Cheri Francis, Michael Gilbert, Jon Buckley, Jacob Peddicord, and Paul Tagliamonte for their periods of service on that body over the past three years.
At this time I am the designated Point of Contact for our Local Community Team on Launchpad. The length of term for this is open-ended at this time. Ubuntu Ohio encompasses users of all flavors of the common core whether you favor Unity, KDE, Xfce, GNOME 3, or LXDE. I must reiterate that we have a big tent here and are not solely focused on the desktop environment named Unity but rather the unity that comes from the common core in software we all utilize.
Looking ahead, our near-term goal is to prepare for participation in Ohio Linux Fest 2013. In the long term we are going to need to strengthen the core of our community by mentoring members of our community so as to increase the number of Ubuntu Members that we have located here in the Buckeye State. Slowly but surely we will be looking forward to new horizons that will require new and interesting approaches.
Many adventures lay ahead. Let us move forward boldly as we near the end of the Raring Ringtail cycle and prepare for the Virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit in May.
The podcast known as The Burning Circle continues at this time. I've made updates to the relevant Launchpad pages to put the High Council into hibernation as I'm the sole member of it remaining. In due time it will return but we have some work ahead of us in the Buckeye State first.
While Ohio Linux Fest 2013 is five months away, we have some disadvantages. First off is that we do not have as much presence in the state capital as we once did. Our members are widely spread across Ohio and it will take some effort to get people to converge on Columbus. Second, we almost did not have a presence there in 2012. Extra effort will be needed to coordinate to ensure that we might be able to sponsor an UbuCon this year perhaps or at least get some speakers lined up. Third, their website was unreachable this weekend so I will need to invest some time to locate correct contacts. This all results in plenty of action items to cover the next five months.
New adventures await as 2013 continues ever onward...