Katrina, Part II...Refugees and Morons...
First, I object to the term "refugee" to describe the survivors and the displaced people of the Gulf Coast not because it's inaccurate, but because the word is full of obvious, political signifigance. It gives the impression that the people displaced and made homeless are escaping from a despotic regime, like Vietnamese boat people or the Cubans in the Mariel Boatlift.
The people who are currently find themselves homeless in the aftermath of Katrina are, of course, blameless. No one can predict what a hurricane can do, where it will go, or how it will affect a city, below sea level and surrounded by water on three sides (although we can make pretty good guesses, can't we?). Those that are homeless due to storm damage, flooding and fire deserve some compassion and assistance.
That having been said, there is one stubborn, persistent point in all of the air being wasted on the plight of New Orleanians (if that's a the right word), and that is that no one who stayed behind to suffer through all of this, has the right to whine and cry and bitch about nothing being done for them.
To begin with, your desire to leave was obvioulsy overwhelmed by your desire to avoid personal responsibility for your own safety. There were two days of repeated warnings to get out of the city, and people managed to ignore them. Those that wanted to leave did so, and many probably by improvised means. Apparently, your personal safety was outweighed by your laziness or anticipation of looting the local Wal-Mart.
When confronted by the possibility of a category 5 hurricane hitting a city no better situated than Atlantis, and you stay of your own free will, then you have nothing ot complain about.
Some will say, but Matt, these people COULDN'T get out. They didn't have cars! The City of New Orleans was supposed to supply buses, and didn't!
Hey, get this, it's a novel idea:
When government fails, then it is up to society to pick up the slack, and failing that, only personal initiative can save the day.
Translation: Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, regardless of what you were promised or what you believe you are entitled to. If the City of NO did not supply transportation, than take some responsibility. Start walking. Organize car pools with neighbors who do have transportation. Build rickshaws. If you're gonna loot Wal-Mart, then how about stealing something useful, like a bicycle, rather a Sony Playstation and assorted games, to get yourself out?
Human beings have this wonderful instinct for self-preservation. It's one of the strongest instincts a human being has, and it's so powerful that it overrides all others sometimes. You wonder what went wrong with so many people to have their instinct for self-preservation crap out all at the same time.
If you ask me, it's the welfare mentality that does it. It's a mentality that causes people to actually believe that not only are they entitled to whatever they want, but that government is responsible for providing it, in sufficient quantities, on demand. That's the FIRST group of morons in this tale. The ones who waited until the last minute and then worried about their safety when staying blew up in their faces.
The second group was voted into office by the first group. You have to wonder which is worse.
We have a mayor who had a disaster plan but decided not to use it, who then loses his nerve and his cool on national television in the midst of a crisis, and blames everyone but himself. We have a governor who seems to be inhabiting Planet Xeon who has not clue one as to what's going on in her state. Conflicting reports fly everywhere: martial law has been declared/no it hasn't. A state of emergency exists in Louisiana/No it doesn't. The National Guard was Federalized/No it wasn't.
You know what Louisiana's, and especially New Orlean's, disaster plan consisted of? Praying really hard that the storm would hit someplace else, vacillating afterwards, losing control completely, and then pointing the finger at the federal government. But they did manage to empty the prisons before they were flooded. Good thinking, Madame Governor!
Right now, 40,000 people are trapped in a toxic swamp of disease-carrying water, with corpses floating around and armed gangs roaming the streets shooting at rescue crews. The most heartbreaking image I've seen so far is the one where a nursing home full of elderly people was left to be covered by flood waters. Eighty senior citizens are believed dead in that one.
Yes, the people of New Orleans have covered themselves in glory. They have looted, rioted, raped, shot themselves into the history books. They have abandoned the helpless and then cry about being abandoned. The scream about the lack of law and order while 300 police officerts bugged out or failed to show for work, and of those that did, many joined in the mayhem of looting.
I hope if and when they ever rebuild this city, they do so 50 miles inland, on a hilltop, and then repopulate it with Irish Setters. Dogs at least have the brains to get out of a flooded house.