A Rant about Katrina

Thursday, September 1, 2005 - 8:21pmConsidering the scope of the event and the priorities involved, pardon me, but who gives one flying crap about looting? How about we stop people from dying and drowning first before we worry too much about whether Wal-Mart is getting ripped off.

There were substantiated reports of "active elements" on the ground firing at rescue and police helicopters. The rescue efforst simply cannot continue if the gangs aren't supressed.

I haven't spoken about these events and what I have to say isn't really relevant to the current topic. But in the spirit of general ranting and blowing off a little steam...

Let's see... these people have no shelter.. no power, food or water.. no police protection from bands of armed looters and gangs... This has to be a huge wake-up call to each and every one of us. What would you do in this situation? I found myself asking this question this morning. My faith in public services is severely shaken after this week.

I tend not to react to the news and I don't freak out easily. 9/11 didn't scare me as much as it pissed me off, but that wasn't Americans preying on other Americans. I wasn't one of those nutjobs that ran out and bought plastic sheeting and duct tape on the word of a TSA soundbite, but I have to say this weeks news is making me question a lot of assumptions about future events and my overall faith in humanity.

I'm inspired to stock the house and live a little leaner. Until now my idea of hardship was black and white TV. Food and water that won't require cooking or boiling.. Cash (no power, no ATMS).. Batteries.. Getting recertified on First Aid and CPR... and last but not least: Guns.

After seeing all the desperation and violence and how quickly this situation has devolved into anarchy and a dog-eat-dog fustercluck, I don't ever want to hear one more word from gun control advocates that I don't need weapons in my house to protect me and mine during an emergency. And I sure as hell don't want anyone to tell me I have nothing to worry about. The video clips of cops turning tail and running at the beginning of the LA riots are still fresh in my mind (it happened in SF and Oakland too).. and that was only over a court verdict.

Perhaps I'm overreacting or just feeling impotent because all I can do is stand by and watch or send a little cash... or feeling guilty about my own complacency or selfish gratitude that it's not happening where I live and that the affected people I know are safe.

Not meant to be a threadjack.. just thought I'd share.

And thus, the doomsday histeria takes off!

Gio_Clark wrote:

and last but not least: Guns.

After seeing all the desperation and violence and how quickly this situation has devolved into anarchy and a dog-eat-dog fustercluck, I don't ever want to hear one more word from gun control advocates that I don't need weapons in my house to protect me and mine during an emergency.

that's weird because I would think that the ease with which all those guns were stolen and all the f*cking psychos out there shooting rescue helicopters would make you want MORE gun control. Not that guns should be outlawed mind you, just harder to get...

addendum: I own a gun as well and NO ONE is taking it from me. Just to be clear.

Here's a radical idea for Walmart and all the gun stores that got looted in New Orleans: take the damn things with you when you evacuate next time!

Now Rat boy...that quote

"if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?"

...well...I'll agree with you 100% on that

Dejanzie - a lot are starting to come through, Belgium, Canada, etc...I'm just wondering why it took almost a week for these offers to start coming through... just idle thoughts...so didn't mean to hammer NATO allies in my rant from page 1 -

OK...just read this
)
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html

First, the mayor of NO failed his city miserably...he should go down with the ship in my opinion

BUT - you usually know me as one to defend the admin/fed - well, if they don't fire Brown, (my comment - what a complete IDIOT) - then I have no defense of that organization...pretty much as long as he is in charge...

Thanks for the link, Pigpen. It does seem that the government has been attempting the same, familiar tactic of iterating and reiterating that "everything's going well, we have responded magnificently, problems are only minor, etc." Only this time, I'm not so sure that the tenuous facade of governmental back-patting will hold up against the constant, panicked, and dire reports from the actual areas affected. (CNN doesn't seem to think so, either.) As I related in the Everything Else thread, The Times Picayune has reported that 100 people died in Chalmette, LA yesterday owing to lack of food, water, and other necessities AT THE REFUGEE STAGING POINTS TO WHICH THEY WERE BROUGHT AFTER BEING RESCUED, and in spite of constant pleas for relief from the parish authorities there. It seems that in all the talk of New Orleans proper, the suburbs and outlying areas which suffered the most severe damage are being ignored.

that's weird because I would think that the ease with which all those guns were stolen and all the f*cking psychos out there shooting rescue helicopters would make you want MORE gun control. Not that guns should be outlawed mind you, just harder to get...

Rule of Law enforced = Gun Control
Anarchy = No Laws
No Laws = No Gun Control

Therefore... own your own guns. Preferably assault rifles. With bayonets.

I agree with Gio, gun control advocacy just got a wee bit harder, in my opinion.

Is it doomsday talk, Gorilla? But honestly, do you feel entirely safe to entrust you and your families well-being to others in the event of a major catastrophe in your area? What have you seen during this fiasco that reinforces the idea that the government can and will protect you in times of emergency?

There was a suggestion floating around the media over the past several hours that Bush should appoint a "recovery czar" to oversee and take charge of the situation along the Gulf Coast, since it seems pretty clear that a lot of the people responsible for doing so have been fumbling more than a rookie runningback. Among the names suggested: Rudy Guliani, Colin Powell, and Tommy Franks. Sounds good to me.

belt500 wrote:

that's weird because I would think that the ease with which all those guns were stolen and all the f*cking psychos out there shooting rescue helicopters would make you want MORE gun control. Not that guns should be outlawed mind you, just harder to get...

addendum: I own a gun as well and NO ONE is taking it from me. Just to be clear.

Of course, I'm sure everyone would love to make guns harder to steal. Hell, I'd favor DNA encoded triggers a-la Judge Dredd anyday But not more difficult to own legally. For the record, I'm also assuming that the individuals that were running around with AKs didn't just grab them off of a Wal-Mart shelf.

But most of all, I want a paradigm shift when it comes to everyday citizens owning their own weapons for self and home defense. I want people to ask themselves the question (Especially in my home state of Cali), "What are you going to do when the police aren't coming?" and more importantly, "Why should I be forced to do the same?" Anything that doesn't involve something belt-fed will be met with an immediate thumbs-down.

belt500 wrote:

that's weird because I would think that the ease with which all those guns were stolen and all the f*cking psychos out there shooting rescue helicopters would make you want MORE gun control. Not that guns should be outlawed mind you, just harder to get...

addendum: I own a gun as well and NO ONE is taking it from me. Just to be clear.

Of course, I'm sure everyone would love to make guns harder to steal. Hell, I'd favor DNA encoded triggers a-la Judge Dredd anyday But not more difficult to own legally. For the record, I'm also assuming that the individuals that were running around with AKs didn't just grab them off of a Wal-Mart shelf.

But most of all, I want a paradigm shift when it comes to the common-sense ideal of everyday citizens owning their own weapons for self and home defense. I want people to ask themselves the question (Especially in my home state of Cali), "What are you going to do when the police aren't coming?" and more importantly, "Why should I be forced to do the same?" Anything that doesn't involve something belt-fed will be met with an immediate thumbs-down.

Pigpen wrote:

OK...just read this
)
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html

First, the mayor of NO failed his city miserably...he should go down with the ship in my opinion

BUT - you usually know me as one to defend the admin/fed - well, if they don't fire Brown, (my comment - what a complete IDIOT) - then I have no defense of that organization...pretty much as long as he is in charge...

I look forward to the inevitable flash cartoons as Brown as the new Iraqi Minister of Information..

Brown'll likely get the axe in the next couple weeks* and Chertoff's department might get taken off of handling natural disasters. That czar idea is sounding better all the time.

* = FEMA Director Brown has to be one of the worst appointments Bush made for his second term. Someone who has no experience managing disasters AND no experience running a major governmental agency? That must have been a really big campaign donation Brown made to the campaign for him to get such an important job with zero qualifications.

TheGameguru wrote:
Pigpen wrote:

OK...just read this
)
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html

First, the mayor of NO failed his city miserably...he should go down with the ship in my opinion

BUT - you usually know me as one to defend the admin/fed - well, if they don't fire Brown, (my comment - what a complete IDIOT) - then I have no defense of that organization...pretty much as long as he is in charge...

I look forward to the inevitable flash cartoons as Brown as the new Iraqi Minister of Information..

I wasn't sure that any joke could suffice to bring levity to this debacle, but you just proved me wrong. Thanks Guru. I needed that.

I think the cartoon is doubled with the uber GOP in me sitting here laughing my butt off...

yeah...you know the end is here when I'm slamming the FEMA director...but wow...what an idiot.

I'm just apalled, and while I point the blame at a COMPLETE lack of local 'leadership' at the city/director level (a la Rudy G), I'm apalled at the complete incompetence at the fed level - as shown by even Bush criticizing the effort.

I'm sticking with the God Bless/in my prayers motif for now...

Pigpen wrote:

OK...just read this
)
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.response/index.html

First, the mayor of NO failed his city miserably...he should go down with the ship in my opinion

BUT - you usually know me as one to defend the admin/fed - well, if they don't fire Brown, (my comment - what a complete IDIOT) - then I have no defense of that organization...pretty much as long as he is in charge...

I don't see any big disconnect by Brown. in the first part, people are complaining about conditions at the convention center and brown is saying that he has directed resources to address the convention center. if they just changed the order of the quotes so his quote came last it would be a perfect example of a good reaction.

the second quote is him saying no comment about uncollected corpses. given that there have been rumors of cannibalism with no supporting evidence, that is probably a good position to take until he knows more.

the next one is him saying the hospitals are being evacuated and its going well. the other two quotes here look like their talking about the same hospital which hasn't been evacuated yet but that doesn't mean brown is wrong about the overall evacuation of hospitals.

the next one is him saying that rioting isn't happening and I haven't seen any reports of rioting. there are armed criminals taking advantage of the situation but it hasn't caused the general population left to riot. this applies to the security situation too. I would also say that Brown has a better overall picture available to him than one cnn reporter talking about his personal experience ina huge city whose job it is to make drama for his audience.

as for the federal response, a chanting crowd isn't really a measure of the progress of relief efforts and neither is one lady at the ritz carlton. when you do some research into the progress of the relief efforts, they look pretty amazing.

PigPen wrote:

Dejanzie - a lot are starting to come through, Belgium, Canada, etc...I'm just wondering why it took almost a week for these offers to start coming through... just idle thoughts...so didn't mean to hammer NATO allies in my rant from page 1

I think we (speaking for Belgium/me) didn't quite get the impact of Katrina. We're "used" to news of hurricanes striking the coast of the US, and the accompanying images of buildings moved a couple of miles, traffic lights going down etc. We were not prepared for footage of ... well, not going to describe the tragedy again I guess it took us a couple of days to realize the sheer size of the disaster. Right now, we're as shocked as the American people are. One of the more pertinent questions asked in our news broadcast was: "Four years after 9-11, America proved not to be ready for a disaster even when it was announced. What in case of a new terrorist attack?" Be that the only analogy I see between both, btw.

When some of my wife's friends were preparing to travel from Belgium to visit the US, she asked them where they would like to visit. "Oh", they said, "We'll come see you in Maryland, and we'd like to see Miami, and the Grand Canyon, and Hollywood, and..." a whole bunch of other places. How much time did they have? A week. We had to explain that okay, driving from Maryland to Miami is like driving from Belgium to Cairo. That was a shock for them.

400+ miles of coastline devasted. Imagine a storm that severely damages every small town from the Spanish border to Normandy,and totally destroys Brest, Nantes and Bordeaux city. That's the scale.

Part of the reason for the lawlessness in NOLA might have something to do with the fact that even the police are doing a little looting...

So, the good people of New Orleans have my families heart felt and sincerest regrets for their loss. I have largely stayed quiet on this whole thing and family ties to the region have added an emotional cost for both me and the wife (Father did his residency at Tulane, Wife's father was a helecopter CO at the regional Marine Corp base, Wifes Cousin was attending Tulane's Medical School), and, I for one, considered New Orleans a national treasure. Much like DC, Philadelphia and New York, New Orleans help form the national character of this country.

Now, a couple of things piss me off;
(1) FEMA has no idea what they are doing and how to do it. They were woefully unprepared and essentially pointed in the wrong direction and trained to do the wrong type of rescue.
(2) New Orlean's City Government. The concept of initiative and self preservation apparently have no room in New Orlean's government. Why they didn't have a plan for evacuating a city that for years has lived under the threat of flooding is beyond me. Hell, their own paper won a pulitzer for a 5 part story on the idea that a hurricane could knock out the levy's. (LA TIMES) Hell, the salt in the wound is the NYT's and NPR doing stories on this over the past 3 years. This event was by no means a suprise. Everyone in New Orlean's leadership knew this could and would happen. They were betting that it just wouldn't happen on their watch.
(3) LA State Government: See above. They knew this would happen. They should have mobilized and moved in ASAP. Hell, CA learned the improtance of the National Gaurd in the '92 Riots. They need time to mobilze and form up before they roll in.
(4) The Fed: Contrary to Pigpen's comments, my opinion on this is that the Fed is responsible for maintaining the peace and keeping order. It's actually part of the constitution and the Fed has the authority to implement martial law as well as using the USMC to keep the peace. Bush, what with the commander status and all, is ultimately responsible for the agency he created. Heads will have to roll over this and he better not stand in the way.

Now, after watching a very angry black congress woman from Ohio on Arron Brown's show on CNN last PM, I am left a little puzzled. Why is she making this a race issue? Is there some benefit for blaming white middle class America for the fiasco that is this releif effort? Will alienating the primary sources of income for key charities help in this mess? What the hell was she thinking? If anything, it pisses me off that someone that vetoed the funds for improving the levy in NO is turning around and using this as an opportuinity to show boat and play the race card. If race continues to be a card played by members of congress and this devisive stance of theirs continues, then we need to start looking at ways of reprimanding them.

Side note: Did any one see Geraldo loose his mind on TV last PM on the Fox News network channel? While the situation was dire, his ranting and crying on TV was a tad distracting to say the least.

Side Note #2: For some reason, the mayor of New Orleans has hit a cord with me. Hell, I would react the same way he did to the situation and has helped humanize him and allowed me to identify with his plite. I hope the people of New Orleans (what's left of them) realize the job this man is trying to do for them.

CEJ wrote:

Did any one see Geraldo loose his mind on TV last PM on the Fox News network channel?

As opposed to how he normally acts?

Wow, CEJ. Well said on every point. (taking your word for it on Geraldo, I missed it)

I have actually been pretty impressed with what I have seen out of Shepard Smith and Geraldo on this one. They seem human and I don't see how Geraldo's actions and comments were distracting. Distracting from what? He has been there watching people dying right in front of his eyes with no notification that real help was on the way. I'd be raving mad, too. Scratch that, I am raving mad. I also caught Shep hand it right back to O'Reilly last night for trying to spin things around and blame the victims. Here's the clip that CEJ was talking about.

I heard that the LA Gov wouldn't let more national guard in and didn't want to delcare martial law. She is going to be out of a job next election .

What is worse than the slow response by FEMA is the spin control. I can't take the Homeland Security Director going on TV and saying "we are making progress", then the FEMA directors saying the same thing; I am happy that GWB said we are not doing a good enough job.

Then I had to hear Elaine Cho (Labor Secretary, excuse my spelling) on FOX this afternoon saying that this will be good for the economy as it will create 10,000 new jobs.

Enough spin control! Just get everyone out into shelters and lets assess and clean up! These guys should be out there handing out water and MRE's, not hanging with the talking heads.

Mayfield wrote:

Then I had to hear Elaine Cho (Labor Secretary, excuse my spelling) on FOX this afternoon saying that this will be good for the economy as it will create 10,000 new jobs.

If this wasn't the worst natural disaster in American history, I'd be on the floor laughing until I was crying at that line. Ludicrous.

Mayfield wrote:

Then I had to hear Elaine Cho (Labor Secretary, excuse my spelling) on FOX this afternoon saying that this will be good for the economy as it will create 10,000 new jobs.

She`s not optimistic enough- she didnt count the jobs of all those people who died. They`re vacant too, arent they?

That seems like really REALLY stupid thing to say on air during a crisis.

I heard that the LA Gov wouldn't let more national guard in and didn't want to delcare martial law.

Reference? Or just rumor?

CEJ - I never said its not the fed's gov't to keep the peace. I concur with that. The only place I deferred blame from the feds (they've screwed up big time, and I think both the Homeland Sec and FEMA directors should be joining the unemployed ranks) is on the prevention. That is NOT a fed responsibility - they do it, but its not their job. Same with Cali as NO - you build in a GUARANTEED disaster zone, and I'm thinking dropping my tax dollars to fix the problem is not a wise use of money. Again, my point was that people were trying to pin this on Bush cutting FEMA funds and Corps funds over the last 5 years, when a) this problem has been known for 20+ years, and b) its not the Fed's job to build Cat 5 levees along the entire gulf coast, or even in the bowl that is NO.

*EDIT* and Robear, to address one of our fav topics here - how can you honestly say after this week the media is not seething with liberals? I mean, every story on making the disaster a disaster only because the feds are so inept. I'll give you the poor fed response, but where'd the honest reporting...anywhere. Its pathetic watching the news - nothing but spittle about the feds and Bush - the media finally have an issue they can sink their jaws into Bush on, and they are showing that the media is a thinly veiled group of partisans, and the partisan forces belong to the liberals...imho