As the story about the attack on Westgate Mall in Nigeria, Kenya continues to unfold; witnesses, victims and reporters have testified that the government has been slow to respond. It has been noticed that the first to respond to the attack was actually “neighborhood watch volunteers, off-duty police officers, armed Samaritans and friends and family members who were notified by victims of the attack”. It took government officials and national security hours to respond to the attack while victims were still inside of the mall. The lack of urgency to respond to the situation gave the assailants even more time to terrorize and murder innocent victims. It was stated in New York Times “police officers and soldiers could not communicate with each other”. From that statement we can assess that the response turned out to be chaotic and unorganized and officials on a national level were simply not prepared for this act of terrorism.
The government’s late response to the attack reminds me of the natural disaster that occurred in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. It took hours, days, weeks and close to months for victims to be rescued from the horrendous conditions that the storm left behind. Later, it was revealed that there might have been some underlying factors of why there was a delay in the response. Of course, a natural phenomenon and an intentional act of terrorism are different in their aspects and we do not know as of yet the cause of why it took as long as it did for national security to respond to Kenya. However, the response from U.S. government and national security is similar in both scenarios.