Walmart

World To End Tomorrow: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

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Jack Shafer exhumes the corpse of L.A. Dodgers veep and Negro-swimming expert Al Campanis to consider why the media are ignoring the stunningly obvious issues of race and class in their coverage of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans:

Race remains largely untouchable for TV because broadcasters sense that they can't make an error without destroying careers. That's a true pity. If the subject were a little less taboo, one of last night's anchors could have asked a reporter, "Can you explain to our viewers, who by now have surely noticed, why 99 percent of the New Orleans evacuees we're seeing are African-American? I suppose our viewers have noticed, too, that the provocative looting footage we're airing and re-airing seems to depict mostly African-Americans."

If the reporter on the ground couldn't answer the questions, a researcher could have Nexised the New Orleans Times-Picayune five-parter from 2002, "Washing Away," which reported that the city's 100,000 residents without private transportation were likely to be stranded by a big storm. In other words, what's happening is what was expected to happen: The poor didn't get out in time.

To the question of looting, an informed reporter or anchor might have pointed out that anybody—even one of the 500 Nordic blondes working in broadcast news—would loot food from a shuttered shop if they found themselves trapped by a flood and had no idea when help would come. However sympathetic I might be to people liberating necessities during a disaster in order to survive, I can't muster the same tolerance for those caught on camera helping themselves in a leisurely fashion to dry goods at Wal-Mart. Those people weren't looting as much as they were shopping for good stuff to steal. MSNBC's anchor Rita Cosby, who blurted an outraged if inarticulate harrumph when she aired the Wal-Mart heist footage, deserves more respect than the broadcasters who gave the tape the sort of nonjudgmental commentary they might deliver if they were watching the perps vacuum the carpets at home.

While I wait patiently for Aaron Brown, Prince of Denmark, to speculate on whether one might, indeed, say that Katrina is The Big Easy's ultimate Girl Gone Wild, you can read the whole article.

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  1. I figured the lack of race talk was because the media assumes:
    1)Most people know New Orleans, like most major American cities, has a disproprionate number of blacks
    2)Most people know blacks are on average poorer then whites
    3)Most people can figure out that the cities poorest residences would be the least likely to have safely evacuated.

    I guess the article more or less mentions all these points. Ill-informed as the American public may be, most of us do grok these three things, and see the subsequent explanation as to why all the refugees/looters are black.

    It seems to me the question of why blacks are, on average, economically worse off then whites, is not relevant while people are still trapped in their attics and dead bodies a floating down the streets. In a few weeks, or a few months, perhaps this question should be asked, and perhaps given such time, Katrina might spark a new national debate on race issues.

    On the other hand, I have to wonder if the fact that most of the people shown on TV suffering the worst are not the same color as the majority of the rest of the people in this country has had an impact on our reaction as a nation.

    I’ve had something of a nagging feeling, for as much as its been smeared all over the 24-cable news networks, that this disaster hasn’t gotten quite the attention its deserved. Surely part of its because the real disaster (the levees failing) didn’t come until the storm itself has passed, but we are talking about a disaster that will likely turn out to be as bad or worse then 9/11 in terms of lives lost and economic damage. Of course a terrorist attack merits a much different treatment , because for all the human failings that may or may not have caused Katrina to become the catastrophe it is, 9/11 occured with undeniable malicious intent. But still, I don’t see how the near-total destruction of a large and iconic American city can be too greatly exaggerated. I’m not basing this on much, but I just have the sense people aren’t quite appriciating the magnitude of this (except as it related to gas prices, having just witnessed a 40 cent jump in eight hours at local pumps).

    I should get back to my point here, but I don’t think I really need to thoroughly explain how the fact that most of the hardest hit victims are black may somewhat stunt the reaction of both the media and the nation as a whole. Racism or not, people naturally react to the suffering of those who are most like them, and when TV is the dominant means of conveying this suffering, color’s gonna count. Relief will pour in, it’ll be the big news for months to come…In fact, now that I’ve been typing this post for a bit, I’m inclined to say that in the end the overall response will be the same if most of the victims we see on TV had been white, but I think its had an effect in these first few days. I’m not passing judgement on this effect, and I’m not saying there’d ever be any way to quantify it, but I do believe its there.

  2. We shouldn’t have sent the National Guard to first tear down and then try to rebuild Iraq. Bush lied. People are still dying.

  3. The looters do what looters do, they loot. Come on most of the looters were after food and drink. The ones looting merchandize will not be able to take it out of the city. All the business owners wrote off their business as the lake water filled the city. Other than cash and jewelry all the goods will spoil (clothes and electronics etc.). All they showed was bad behavior after a disaster in 95 degree heat and 100% humidity. They had no other footage to show so the TV new shows covered the looting. The commentary was deplorable. If no one was being hurt and you know they could not take the goods out of the city and you knew the goods would spoil there really was no need to cover this other than that they had the footage.

  4. Off topic:
    Wondering if anyone noticed the resignation of Susan Wood, (former) director of the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health, over their “post-ponement” of a decision on allowing Plan B to be sold over the counter.

    CNN

    Utah Daily Herald

  5. For what it’s worth, I don’t have a TV and had no reason to attach “African-American” to looting at all.

    It’s a TV effect, apparently. As is the idea that it ought to be a consideration.

  6. The only reactions I’ve seen that I think are different based on the color of those most hurt by the hurricane are:

    1) Republican types are maybe a fraction of a second quicker to call for summary execution of looters…but they always say the same shoot-’em-up crap anyway, so who knows if race really matters? Inscrutable, those righties.

    2) Democrat types have settled on the “Republican plot to kill our voters!” script over the “Crackers get what they deserve for voting Republican!” spin they started the week with…and that’s what passes for elevating the discourse on the “other” side these days. I wish Foucault would stop being dead.

    Libertarians are talking the same economic-philosophic shit they always do, because they always do. You guys are boring, but not racist, and not much for running corpses up the flagpole. You’re almost human, really. It’s cute.

    Meanwhile, down here in real life, everyone thinks it’s all just fucked up and sad, and that everyone on TV is an asshole.

    [Insert Nietzsche quote re: the depth of superficiality here.]

  7. “Mayor Ray Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile.”
    – from the news

    Just when you thought no one respected property rights any more.

  8. Here are some theories on why this disaster seems to be attracting less sympathy from the nation at large:

    1. Unlike the Asian tsunami, these victims had notice. They knew the hurricane was coming days in advance, and they knew that New Orleans was extremely vulnerable to flooding decades in advance.

    2. There’s not much you can do about it now, and it’s not the fault of individual residents that their city is sited in such a crap location, but it’s still worth asking “what were you thinking when you built a house below sea level–next to a huge river and the ocean?”

    3. Any city with a reputation for decadence is less likely to attract feelings of good will when disaster strikes. And New Orleans beats Vegas in this area.

    I really don’t think race is that much of a factor. If anyone mentions it at all, they should be fair and say something like this: “All the looters we’re showing you are African-American. You should bear in mind that, in this city, so are their victims.”

  9. “Mayor Ray Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile.”

    On one news channel last night, I saw three uniformed cops leisurely pushing a shopping cart through a Wal-Mart and filling it with essential emergency supplies like fancy shoes and jewelry. We’re not just talking about cops who are looting, but cops who had no qualms about looting right in front of a huge set-up of news cameras. Didn’t even trouble to hide their faces. The fact that New Orleans has one of the most corrupt police forces in the country is probably part of the problem.

    And I disagree with MTC’s comment that “everybody knew” New Orleans was a dirt-poor city. This is just based on my own discussions with people around me (as opposed to a scientific poll), but a LOT of people seemed to think that all of New Orleans was the French Quarter and Anne Rice mansions. I knew that there was poverty in the city but I had no idea how bad it was. There are actual dirt roads within the city limits!

    Another news story talked about the fact that the storm struck at the end of the month, when people living paycheck to paycheck had no money to even buy gas to get out.

  10. Jack Schafer is fantastic. I bet it’s because he has thighs that go all the way up his back.

  11. Dave W.-

    I don’t think the National Guard would have made much of a difference, but the fact that funding for flood control and bulking up the levees was cut to pay for our Iraq adventure surely did. If the government spent less time inventing imaginary threats they’d have more time and money to deal with the real ones.

  12. They hear you in MS, Jack!:

    Resentment at being left behind in the path of one of the fiercest hurricanes on record may have contributed to some of the looting that occurred in Biloxi and other coastal communities.

    A number of private residences, including some in upscale neighborhoods, were targeted, residents said.

    Class divisions, which often fall along racial lines in this once-segregated southern state, are not new to Mississippi. It traditionally is one of the poorest states in the United States.

  13. everyone on TV is an asshole.

    TVC15,

    Spot on.

  14. Personally, I could excuse the looting of food and water and other survival necessities; one survives first and sorts out debts later. But busting into jewelry stores to steal the “bling bling”, or the pharmacies to get the drugs for resale, or the casinos to scavenge the coins out of the slots….that is just outright theft and there is no way to justify it.
    And then there is the looting of the closed-up Walmart stores and the theft of their guns. There are reports of armed robberies and marauding gangs. I’d guess maybe that is what finally got the cops and authorities doing something about the “looters.” I guess looting is a whole different story when the looters can shoot at you.
    In the aftermath of other hurricanes I’ve seen, usually one of the first things that is done is to declare a curfew and warn that looters will be arrested, if not shot. I don’t know why that wasn’t done this time. I have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been, if the majority of the perpetrators had been white.
    As far as businesses writing off most of their stock, well maybe. But that still doesn’t mean that it isn’t theirs or that it can’t later be liquidated at cost or for whatever it will bring. We’ll probably see lots of goodies on Ebay in the coming months.

  15. Jmoore: I answered this on another thread, but New Orleans was built where it was because the French needed a fort at the river mouth-they were at war with the English and needed to stop them from sailing up the river with frigates.

    As for warning, the hurricane kind of turned in an unexpected direction. I hadn’t heard anything until Friday night.

  16. [parody]

    “We must not let their sacrifices go in vain,” Bush stated as he viewed the devastation and heard of the casualties. “This form of violent extremism, you know, is exactly what we’re struggling against. We cannot allow this threat to our economy and citizens continue.”

    Bush turned so that he was framed by an American flag. “I have asked Congress to authorize the use of force in the event Alan Quartermaine refuses to certify that he has destroyed the Ice Princess. Robert Scorpio has had many chances to verify this, but Quartermaine refuses to cooperate. We can’t allow the proof of his failure to disarm to be a funnel cloud. Therefore, I am preparing to invade Canada to end this grave and gathering threat posed by extremist storm fronts. I ask all Americans to sacrifice for my, er, our noble goal of bringing democracy to the global climate.”

    [parody]

  17. After reading McPhee’s “The Control of Nature,” I decided that New Orleans was one place I’d never live.

    Pop-icon whizzdum from Led Zeppelin and John Wayne sum it up:

    “If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
    When the levee breaks I’ll have no place to stay.”

    “Life’s tough; it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

  18. Erratum: Memphis Minnie, not Robert Plant, wrote those lyrics. (See Wikipedia.)

  19. In the aftermath of other hurricanes I’ve seen, usually one of the first things that is done is to declare a curfew and warn that looters will be arrested, if not shot. I don’t know why that wasn’t done this time. I have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been, if the majority of the perpetrators had been white.

    A 24-hour curfew has been in effect, along with the equivalent of martial law. The implication that the various police departments have been pussyfooting because most of the people left behind (or, if you prefer, chose to stay behind) are black is moronic.

    From the NO Times-Picayune:

    Martial law clarified

    The state Attorney General’s office on Tuesday sought to clarify reports in some media that “martial law’ has been declared in parts of storm-ravaged southeast Louisiana, saying no such term exists in Louisiana law.

    But even though no martial law exists, Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s declaration of a state of emergency gives authorities widespread latitude to suspend civil liberties as they try to restore order and bring victims to safety. Under the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, the governor and, in some cases, chief parish officials, have the right to commandeer or utilize any private property if necessary to cope with the emergency.

    Authorities may also suspend any statute related to the conduct of official business, or any rule issued by a state agency, if complying would “prevent, hinder or delay necessary action” to mitigate the emergency.

    It also gives authority the right to compel evacuations, suspend alcohol and weapons sales and make provisions for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing.

    The law gives mayors similar authority, except they do not have the right to commandeer private property or make provisions for emergency housing, according to a background brief prepared by the state Attorney General’s office.

  20. JMoore, the cost of evacuating, even if you have friends to stay with for free, for someone without a car has been estimated at $350-$550. You really think a family living in poverty has that kind of money lying around?

    And do you really think the people living in New Orlean’s poorest slums (which, surprise surprise, are also located at the lowest elevations) built their own homes there?

    The delusions some people will sink to…

  21. Jennifer,

    You are correct about the levee and that should probably be the focus when we start learning from this tragedy.

    However, it is also noted that many National Guarders are trained in the arts of traffic management and bus driving. You should see the efficacy of the traffic management checkpoints these gals and guys can set up when they try. Its killer. Many can even drive standard transmission busses in a pinch. Never underestimate the talents of our people.

  22. Considering the nightmare of looting that’s going on, I’m wondering if that won’t make the next hurricane strike (wherever that is) even worse–people won’t want to evacuate, preferring instead to stay home with their loaded shotguns in their laps so they can defend what they own.

    And a lot of those NOLA cops won’t provide protection from looters, because they’re looting, themselves! I was absolutely appalled by what I saw on TV last night, and when things die down I hope those looting cops suffer penalties twice as harsh as what the civilian looters get.

  23. Keep in mind, now, that everybody is without power, clean water, etc. Including the cops. I don’t see how the “authorities” could inform the populace of anything, like curfews, “we’ll shoot you for looting,” or anything like that. Unless they somehow flew helicopters around with loudspeakers… but then, they’d have to put fuel in the helicopters, and the fuel pumps are under water, and there’s no electricity to power the pumps anyway.

    One report I saw this morning summed it up nicely: they said the cops down there have nothing but the bullets on their belts. And these are people who likely don’t even know if their families are safe or whatnot.

    It’s mayhem, y’all. Just a taste of what’s to come, if you ask me. Peak Oil!!

  24. Has anyone else thought of impeaching Bush just on the grounds he is America’s Joe Btfsplk?

  25. Pop-icon whizzdum from Led Zeppelin and John Wayne sum it up: “If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break, When the levee breaks I’ll have no place to stay.”

    At least give credit where credit is due on this, especially in a thread about race. “When the levee breaks” is an old blues standard first recorded by Memphis Minnie but made famous by other more prominent blues artists.

    To quote Led Zeppelin they “begged, borrowed and stole from the blues” and this is just another example.

  26. I don’t see how the “authorities” could inform the populace of anything, like curfews, “we’ll shoot you for looting,” or anything like that.

    I’d give a pass to people taking food or baby supplies, but who the hell needs to be “informed” that you’re not allowed to rob jewelry stores, the Wal-Mart TV section, or banks just because there’s been a storm? For those people, I don’t see why the cops (at least the ones who haven’t joined the looters) haven’t instituted a shoot-to-kill policy. No, they can’t get them all, but maybe the sight of a few dead looters would discourage some would-be ones.

    Apparently the gun stores have been cleaned out, and armed gangs are making actual attacks on not just individual cops, but on entire police stations. Once the stores have all been looted clean, how long before individual homes (with people still in them) become the next targets? It’s probably happening already.

  27. armed gangs are making actual attacks on not just individual cops, but on entire police stations

    If this is true and not just hype (I’M skeptical)then we have got yet another where’s-the-National-Guard issue. Is it a posse commitatus issue or an Iraq issue on that?

  28. Apparently the gun stores have been cleaned out, and armed gangs are making actual attacks on not just individual cops, but on entire police stations. Once the stores have all been looted clean, how long before individual homes (with people still in them) become the next targets? It’s probably happening already.

    They’re attacking Ambulances (both boat and truck) and Ambulance drivers.

  29. Dave-

    I don’t know law details, but I don’t think it would be a posse comitatus issue to send in the Guard. It’s not like you’re using the military in lieu of the regular police–you’re using the military because the regular police just can’t handle the situation.

    They released the prisoners from some jails because they couldn’t care for them. The cops came right out and said “We can’t help you.” Everything is falling apart down there.

  30. Hey, Bush said in his speech last night that everything was being taken care of. I guess the people in New Orleans, not having TVs, didn’t get the message.

  31. The problem is that black people are just no damn good.

  32. Yeah, I don’t think there is a posse commitatus issue. Before someone else points it out, I will say that I understand that some National Guard are there.

    My criticism is that there were not enough National Guard there early enough (eg before the levee broke). I still suspect that Iraq is partly (maybe mostly) to blame for the short staffing here.

  33. “I’ve had something of a nagging feeling, for as much as its been smeared all over the 24-cable news networks, that this disaster hasn’t gotten quite the attention it deserved.”

    Well, I think one of the issues is that New Orleans’ reputation as a “Great American City” is more a product of its history than its present. I mean, other than Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl, how often do you see references to New Orleans in the media?

  34. As for the thought that we have resources tied down in Iraq that we need in New Orleans:

    The usual problem in disasters like this isn’t so much having the men and materiel at all, but getting it to the disaster site. It takes a few days. I wonder, personally, where the bottleneck is. Do we have transport sitting around with no-one and nothing to take to NO?

    I doubt it, so I doubt the problem is deployment to Iraq. I suspect what we are dealing with here is the disappearance of roads and bridges, not a shortage of trucks and stuff to put in them. Even if there are some specialized transport units in Iraq that could help out, given the scale of this disaster, c’mon, what real difference could they make?

    As for applying federal funds to the levees. I am amused at how many people who complain that Bush spends too much now complain that he hasn’t spent enough. And I still haven’t heard a good argument for why NO and LA couldn’t and shouldn’t make up any shortfalls in federal funding.

    As for the notion that looting of non-essentials is okey-dokey as long as no one gets hurt and insurance will pay for it, well, I trust it is too asinine to need a response.

  35. JMoore –

    Your post above shows the incredible power of ignorance to affect public policy. The vast majority of the poor in New Orleans didn’t scan the country for bucolic spots to build a house, they were born there, raised there, had entire extended families there for generations, and could hardly be expected to scan FEMA contingency reports prior to inheriting and moving into the shanties their fathers built. Many don’t have cars or credit cards, so it’s a bit rich to expect them to hike to central Louisana. Jackass.

    To the rest of y’all, or at least the more radical anarchist/uberlibertarian types (especially Rick Barton if he’s still around): This is where your theories get put to the test. Do we need government? Are individuals capable of organizing their own security and safety voluntarily, without threat of government coercion?

    And the answer is, no, they cannot. See Haiti and Somalia for other examples.

    I’m still waiting for some propeller-head president of a local libertarian club to pipe up and explain his this is all, actually, going by plan.

  36. I still haven’t heard a good argument for why NO and LA couldn’t and shouldn’t make up any shortfalls in federal funding.

    Even ignoring the idea that it’s good to protect cities for their own sake, I’d think the huge amount of our energy infrastructure that’s down there would make building up the levees qualify as a legitimate national security issue. And the money for updates was already earmarked, until the powers-that-be decided we’d be better off spending it in Iraq.

    I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence by comparing the number of Americans killed by Saddam’s WMDs to the number of American’s killed by New Orleans’ levee breaches.

  37. I am amused at how many people who complain that Bush spends too much now complain that he hasn’t spent enough.

    RC,

    I wouldn’t say that people are complaining that he hasn’t spent enougg, but that he hasn’t spent wisely.

  38. I think the press has ignored the racial angle because it really doesn’t exist. The controlling factor in both the evacuation and looting is poverty, not race. The fact that African-Americans are disproportionately poor is the only reason they seem more effected.

    It also hard to credit racism as a factor in the planning and management of response because New Orleans is an African-American dominated city. The major and IIRC most of the city council, are African-American and have been for a couple of decades. The state itself is something like 40% African-American.

  39. Just as most of us are a little bit country, we are likewise a little bit terrorist/looter. This ought to teach us that the War on Terror not only cannot be won, but that it breeds our terrorist tendencies.

  40. Just as most of us are a little bit country, we are likewise a little bit terrorist/looter.

    Speak for yourself. I could surely see myself taking food if I were down there (especially since it’s impossible to BUY food–even if you want to pay there’s nobody to hand your money to), but I wouldn’t be stealing jewelry and television sets.

  41. There are parts of NO that the cops won’t even go into on a good day. You’re going to have a real fun situation when they try to force evacuate an armed neighborhood of Master P disciples sitting on a pile of loot. I’ve got a feeling that our National Guard’s recently acquired urban warfare experience will come into play.

  42. Thousands dead and y’alls can’t stop thinking about televisions and diamonds. I guess you need to find a way not to feel bad about the floating corpses that we could have helped but didn’t. Whatever works.

  43. But I bet without government around they’ll soon have kick-ass internet access, Slippery Pete :).

  44. Stolen televisions and diamonds are emblematic of the tragic breakdown of order that results from a devastating disaster.

    And while I’m not trying to suggest that looting will be the #1 obstacle faced by business owners trying to revive the local economy (once the waters drain away), it certainly won’t help matters.

    And it may seem callous to talk about the local economy when there are corpses in the water, but economic revival will help people put food on the table when they try to return home and start over.

    And, for the record, I have a cousin attending college in NO. Apparently she was evacuated safely.

  45. “but I wouldn’t be stealing jewelry and television sets.”
    Then, Jennifer, you need to re-take the course, Looting 101.

  46. Thousands dead and y’alls can’t stop thinking about televisions and diamonds. I guess you need to find a way not to feel bad about the floating corpses that we could have helped but didn’t. Whatever works.

    My take on it is, “Thousands dead and we can’t stop thinking about ways to mitigate the misery of the survivors.”

  47. pete and shannon on the same thread.

    hi Jean.

  48. And it may seem callous to talk about the local economy when there are corpses in the water, but economic revival will help people put food on the table when they try to return home and start over.

    Good let’s talk about looting after the evacuation is over (a couple mos projected) and stick with the corpses right now. The problem with moving too quickly to “starting over” concerns is that the corpses never get a chance to start over, and I frankly feel a lot more of their pain right at the moment than that of WalMart’s shareholders or even that of the owner of the local jewelry concern. You should too.

  49. drf-

    I have contemplated the possibility that Shannon and Jean are one and the same, but I’m not convinced.

    Never thought about Pete. What sparked your hunch?

  50. “The implication that the various police departments have been pussyfooting because most of the people left behind are black is moronic.”

    Oh really? Do you think the Liberals (“Progressives”) in this country would not scream RACISM if the cops had shot a few of those thieving bastards down there? Do you suppose “the authorities” didn’t take that into consideration when they gave the police their marching orders? If you do, then you’re naive, to say the least!

  51. Mr. Collins–

    We’re already hearing about people going so far as to attack the very support and rescue vehicles trying to save people. So tell me what YOU think the average looter’s psychology is–will he make off with a bunch of stuff from Wal-Mart and then think “Well, I’m satisfied with what I’ve got so now I’ll stop?” Or will he be emboldened to move on to bigger and better things, like attacking police stations and rescue vehicles?

  52. To extend joe’s point, I doubt most of the jewelry (and some of the other stuff) being looted is going to be used as bling, most likely it’ll be converted to cash. This ain’t no “Yay we won the championship!” type of looting. Not saying it’s right, but it’s definitely more survival than merely unruly mob celebration.

    And Jennifer, I know of a couple dirt roads within the Chicago city limits, too.

  53. The looting and general mayhem has also halted the evacuation of the Superdome and several area hospitals so it’s more likely that more people will die if it isn’t stopped. If we wait until after the evacuation is over to worry about the looting, we’ll be waiting a long time.

  54. The problem with moving too quickly to “starting over” concerns is that the corpses never get a chance to start over, and I frankly feel a lot more of their pain right at the moment

    By definition, a corpse cannot feel any pain.

    Moving on.

  55. From CNN:

    The head of Acadian Ambulance Service, Richard Zuschlag, said Wednesday that a generator was stolen from his command center and an ambulance was tipped over as his workers tried to evacuate hospitals.

    So no, it’s not a matter of choosing between “stopping the looters” and “saving people.” They’ve become the same thing.

  56. We’re already hearing about people going so far as to attack the very support and rescue vehicles trying to save people. So tell me what YOU think the average looter’s psychology is–will he make off with a bunch of stuff from Wal-Mart and then think “Well, I’m satisfied with what I’ve got so now I’ll stop?” Or will he be emboldened to move on to bigger and better things, like attacking police stations and rescue vehicles?

    I think the thing about rescue vehicles and police stations being attacked is highly exaggerated. We will probably have a better idea of which one of us is correct about this particular issue in a couple days, I think. I know the paramedics are scared of the desparate people with guns, but get back to me when the paramedic body count reaches 1% or so of the total count.

    I think attacks o rescue workers are being highly exaggerated for the same reason that the looting so preoccupies everyone — it is a convenient excuse not to think about all those dead bodies and what might, possibly could have been done different to prevent their violent deaths.

  57. More from CNN:

    Acadian, based in Lafayette, Louisiana, is trying to evacuate some 2,000 patients from hospitals before nightfall Wednesday, including dozens of critically ill babies at medical facilities with no electricity or water.

    The firm’s priority is getting out 25 critically ill infants from Children’s Hospital and 100 babies from Touro Infirmary, said spokeswoman Julie Mahfouz. . . .

    He said his workers have been victims of the looting and mayhem across the city.

    “My people are in harm’s way,” he said. “They are scared. Our command station about an hour ago had the generator stolen off the back of it. We’ve had an ambulance turned over.

  58. I know the paramedics are scared of the desparate people with guns, but get back to me when the paramedic body count reaches 1% or so of the total count.

    Um . . . why should the paramedic body count be any higher than, say, zero?

    it is a convenient excuse not to think about all those dead bodies and what might, possibly could have been done different to prevent their violent deaths.

    YEs, I’m certain that a lot more positive good can be accomplished by sitting around brooding over should, coulda, woulda, rather than taking steps to protect evacuees and evacuation personnel now.

    Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back over your deep pain-feeling, you smug jerk.

  59. I’ll bet the rescue workers don’t feel the attacks are highly exaggerated. I’ll also bet that workers from other areas who might have considered volunteering are thinking twice.

    I think focussing on all the dead is a convenient excuse not to think about how people are dying right this minute.

  60. I heard the looter whose bullet grazed a cop’s face was shot and killed (presumably by the same cop?).

  61. about how people are dying right this minute

    How many dead paramedics you counted so far, Meyer? Got a link for me with an actual death — or is is just more upturned vehicles.

  62. “but I wouldn’t be stealing jewelry and television sets.” Then, Jennifer, you need to re-take the course, Looting 101.

    Amen to that. Geez, Jennifer. That’s the best stuff. You gotta take that. Anybody know if there’s an IKEA in New Orleans? Papa needs a new pair of end-tables!

  63. Got a link for me with an actual death — or is is just more upturned vehicles.

    How about a link supporting your claims of “exaggeration”? Your position, that somehow we should be able to ignore the people running around shooting and terrorizing while trying to conduct a massive evacuation of a area that is completely underwater is absurd. They have no choice but to make the general environment more secure so that the evacuation can proceed safely.

  64. They don’t have to be killed to hinder the evacuation effort. These people aren’t soldiers. They’re just regular people trying to do a job. They’re not going to risk their lives to evacuate people. In fact, they’re trained to wait until the situation has stabilized before they move in and start rescuing people.

    So no paramedic has died yet, but a National Guardsman has been shot and wounded and a Chinook helicopter has been shot at. http://www.cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/09/01/katrina.impact/index.html

    Jennifer already posted about attacks on ambulances. If these people are threatened, they’re not going to just soldier on. They’re going to quit and wait for order to be restored. Quit apologizing for Bush’s failure to restore order and realize that more people are going to die unless the mayhem is stopped.

  65. A co-worker of mine just received a cellphone call from his brother-in-law who works as a doctor at Tulane University Medical Center. Apparently people with guns are looting the hospital’s pharmacy.

  66. SR,
    See, folks near Tulane have taken Looting 101.

  67. Hey, Phil Collins, why don’t you go back to writing insipid, whiny, leftwing pop tune lyrics and quit posting insipid, whiny, leftwing bullshit here.

  68. To make it clear to the world how disgusting your attitudes are.

    You are pre-occupied with looting and two injuries to police.

    Meanwhile, thousands are dead and this is barely a blip on your mental radar.

    I don’t doubt that there are law enforcement problems in NO and that there may be an actual police or paramedic death at some point. That is very important to know and to handle optimally for the people involved locally. The wounding and near-wounding incidents are as scary as the wounding and ner-wounding incidents that go on in every American city everyday.

    However, for you voters, sitting there in the comfort of your offices, well away from the guns and floods, those thousands of bloated, blue corpses should be categorically blocking your thoughts of stolen tvs and small handful of wounded police/guard/medics. Obviously they aren’t. What a sick, sad bunch.

  69. Maybe Phil Collins can lead a big, gooey peace-and-love encounter session where the looters can discuss what traumatic childhood incidents are driving them to take an already-bad situation and make it a thousand times worse. And then they call all sing Kum By Yah.

    And then they can sit around and “think about the dead,” and if they think hard enough, the dead will come back to life, and Phil can point at us and laugh and say “See, you selfish bastards, crying over spilt milk really does help!”

    Personally, I think taking care of the survivors should take precedence over deciding which, if any, political careers need to be destroyed over this.

  70. Meanwhile, thousands are dead and this is barely a blip on your mental radar.

    Last I checked, dead people are, well…dead.

  71. Jennifer,

    You aren’t taking care of the survivors. If you were, then I wouldn’t be lecturing you like this. Rather, you, like everybody else, are sitting far away from the action, prioritizing the long-range problems, preventaitive measures and solutions. Nothing wrong with that — its a good thing. Its just that your (and Thoreau’s and Meyer’s and the Night Watchman’s) priorities are ugly and wrong.

  72. I was part of aid efforts in Haiti after flooding took out entire villages. The bottom line here is that when people are hot, hungry, thirsty, tired and fear for their lives they tend to do things that make the rest of us want to believe that we are somehow different than they are.

    We’re not. No matter what Jennifer says.

    Those people occasionally resort to attacking the very people trying to help them – like a drowning man pulling his rescuer down with him.

    The fact that these are poor people, or black people, or anything else that helps us feel as tho we are different from them are just attempts to deny the essential human nature we all share. Sometimes it’s glorious, sometimes it’s horrific. It’s still “just human.”

  73. Jennifer, You aren’t taking care of the survivors.

    And you are?

  74. Last I checked, dead people are, well…dead.

    Well, at least there won’t be any food shortages then.

  75. Rob–

    When have I ever said anything to suggest I believe we’re somehow “different” than they are? I’ve admitted that I’d probably steal food if I were trapped down there, but I damned sure wouldn’t be overturning ambulances or stealing jewelry.

    I can’t go down there to help the survivors first-hand, of course, but I did sign a few day’s pay over to the Red Cross. Though if I had the chance, I’d take half of THAT and earmark it for guns and bullets to shoot the sons of bitches who are looting the pharmacies and interfering with the evacuation efforts.

  76. The answer to your question is in my previous post.

  77. “When have I ever said anything to suggest I believe we’re somehow “different” than they are?” – Jennifer

    You do it in your very next sentence: “but I damned sure wouldn’t be overturning ambulances or stealing jewelry.”

    Of course you wouldn’t do that, Jennifer. You’re different than they are. Right…

    If I thought it increased the odds of survival for my family and I to oveturn an ambulance, steal a power generator, steal drugs, food, drink, guns, bullets, or even jewelry (if I thought I could trade that for something I really needed) I wouldn’t hesitate.

    The fact that you think you would not do those things, because you are somehow different than everyone else, is either counter to your own survival, or self-deluded.

  78. I think this sums up the situation in NOLA well.

    “An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

    “I don’t treat my dog like that,” 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. “I buried my dog.” He added: “You can do everything for other countries but you can’t do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can’t get them down here.”

    A lesson in humanity that we will not soon forget, foreshadowing of a WMD incident, or whining by governement-dependants in the most corrupt state of the union?

    The most likely answer will be a combination, I think.

    Fair winds and following seas to the rescuers.

    Live free, fall or fight.

  79. Hi Thoreau!

    pete’s use of colorful metaphors (to quote the good Mr. Spock in IV, “save the whales”). his rudeness in the past. very similar.

    but then again, i thought rst was somehow mixed in.

  80. My priority is to get the survivors who are currently trapped in the Superdome out. Your priority is to start apportioning blame for the tragedy, and you don’t want to hear anything about hindered rescue efforts until at least 30 paramedics are dead.

    And my priorities are ugly and wrong? Gotcha.

  81. Meyer,
    You aren’t getting anybody out of the Superdome. You are thinking about politics and chatting on the Internet. How gullible do you think we are?

  82. If I thought it increased the odds of survival for my family and I to oveturn an ambulance,

    Oh, NOW I see, Rob. The people who are overturning ambulances and shooting at the rescue helicopters think it’s a survival strategy. I don’t blame them for cowering in fear at the hordes of scary ambulances terrorizing the streets of New Orleans.

  83. You aren’t getting anybody out of the Superdome. You are thinking about politics and chatting on the Internet. How gullible do you think we are?

    Phil, are you posting over broadband from the back of an ambulance or Coast Guard chopper?

  84. Here’s the good bit from Lileks about the reaction to the NOLA crisis:

    “It?s as if there?s a superior breed of humanity, uncorrupt and all-knowing, waiting in the wings to solve all our problems if only we?d let them have the reins of power and speak the honeyed words. Listen to them and human failings will be erased, nature turned aside like a man who enters a French restaurant in tennis shoes.”

    Yep, all those folks who know better how to handle a national crisis than the guys who are in charge, apparently. I guarantee you that there are plenty of people working for the guys in charge fighting the real problem of how to help people in the flooded areas.

    In other words, just like when I was in Haiti, the problem is not that Bush spent money breaking and repairing Iraq. The problem is how to get to the area – impassable roads, bridges washed away – no amount of Iraq-based US military personnel can overcome this problem in time to help the folks who will, sadly, continue to die before they can be reached.

    About the only thing that will work are fleets of cargo helicopters. You just can’t get that much into the area by helicopter. It’s not a cargo plane.

    Lileks, whom I like for his straightforward, mid-Western/Minnesota nice approach to most things has great advice for everyone who is trying to lay this at the feet of the Executive Branch:

    “Wait a week, and let?s see what’s accomplished by the humans we have, and then we can start throwing javelins.”

  85. Rob,
    The vast majority of people AREN’T looting and overturning ambulances. Like most people, yes, I am different from thugs who terrorize rescue workers, overturn ambulances, and roam the waterways like pirates.

  86. Well Phil, as a matter of fact I am participating in the relief effort, although indirectly. I work at a hospital in Georgia and we are currently accepting patients being airlifted out of New Orleans. Obviously we’re not helping the critically injured, but those who are well enough to survive the trip are being sheltered here.

    But if we were to ask the people who actually are on the ground trying to rescue the survivors, I’ll bet they would agree with me more than you.

  87. Jennifer,
    I think a rehash of the conversation is needed at this point.

    You said: Personally, I think taking care of the survivors should take precedence over deciding which, if any, political careers need to be destroyed over this.

    I Said: You aren’t taking care of the survivors. If you were, then I wouldn’t be lecturing you like this. Rather, you, like everybody else, are sitting far away from the action, prioritizing the long-range problems, preventaitive (sic) measures and solutions. Nothing wrong with that — its a good thing.

    You now say: Phil, are you posting over broadband from the back of an ambulance or Coast Guard chopper?

    Now I respond: Jennifer, I said in my previous post that everybody involved in this discussion is not actively involved in rescue efforts. This should, go without saying, but somehow you and Meyer keep trying to suggest that being pre-occupies with looting and shooting (as opposed to the drownings) is somehow equivalent to being
    down there helping out. It is not. You are not down there. Meyer is not down there. I am not either. We are having a political discussion well-removed in time and/or space from the flooding of NO and its aftermath. In the context of such a discussion, it should be way, way clear that thousands of dead are a bigger deal than a couple wounded.

  88. Phil, are you posting over broadband from the back of an ambulance or Coast Guard chopper?

    Yeah, but all the dead people would side with me because, o wait . . . rut-roh!

  89. CNN just posted that boat rescues have been suspended because the violent people in the city make it too dangerous for the rescuers. So tell me, Phil, how does THIS fit into your “ignore the looters and focus on the survivors” scenario? Nobody can GET to the survivors because the violent ones made it too dangerous.

    Also, Phil, at this point those who are already dead are less important than those who are currently alive but WILL be dead if they don’t get food and clean water to drink. Or those who will be dead when the looters kill them.

  90. Who usually uses the link http://www.farceswannamo.com? I’m just curious. All these internet handle changes are confusing.

    I also ask because Phil Collins also reminds me of Juanita/Jane/Jose right about now.

  91. Here’s excerpts from the CNN story. Now Rob can explain that those attacking the rescuers are just trying to survive.

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/09/01/katrina.impact/index.html

    As police and National Guard troops struggled to restore order Thursday in New Orleans, emergency teams suspended boat rescue operations because conditions in the flooded city were too dangerous, rescuers said.

    The instructions to stand down came during a meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    CNN’s Rick Sanchez reported that authorities were concerned for the rescuers’ safety because some people have become violent toward the rescuers. . . .Troops and police have been working to evacuate tens of thousands of people, who are growing weaker and more desperate each hour. . . . .

    Officers told CNN they lacked manpower and steady communications to properly do their jobs — and that they needed help to prevent the widespread looting and violence now prevalent in the city.

  92. CNN just posted that boat rescues have been suspended because the violent people in the city make it too dangerous for the rescuers. So tell me, Phil, how does THIS fit into your “ignore the looters and focus on the survivors” scenario? Nobody can GET to the survivors because the violent ones made it too dangerous.

    If this is true, then there must be a few dead police / guard by now. It is easy to see what is really happening. The police are afraid for their own skins and unwilling to take the kind of risks they did on 9-11. Bad police. Now, let’s get back to how to prevent the thousands-dead problem. We can deal with chickenhearted guardsmen later at the court martials.

  93. I’ve come to the conclusion that Phil Collins is just a troll.

  94. Phil,

    I’m not sure what thread you are reading, but many of us are simply commenting that it is our opinion, based on the information available, that it is justified to remove resources previously dedicated exclusively to the rescue operations and have them reallocated to restore some measure of law and order. This is not so that a few TV sets can be saved, but so that the rescue operations can better proceed and more people can be saved.

    I have no clue why you are objecting to people offering up their opinions. If you don’t actually want to participate in this discussion, then go away.

  95. Phil Collins reminds me of Phil Collins. Insipid, whiny, and every sooo superior.

  96. “Oh, NOW I see, Rob. The people who are overturning ambulances and shooting at the rescue helicopters think it’s a survival strategy. I don’t blame them for cowering in fear at the hordes of scary ambulances terrorizing the streets of New Orleans.”

    No, Jennifer, I’m afraid you DON’T see. Irrational behavior is part of being human, particularly during crisis. That you think you are above it is very telling, in my opinion. I suspect that you fit the paragraph I “looted” from Lileks to a “T.”

    I’ve read your comments on how you think things should be done everywhere from Iraq to New Orleans, but I rarely hear you ever mention actually doing anything OTHER than talking about how superior your approach to things would be, if only we’d do it your way. (I think you’re the same Jennifer who is so outraged over how the war on terror is being fought, anyway.)

    Despite how wrong you think it is to be at war, you’d “take half of THAT and earmark it for guns and bullets to shoot the sons of bitches who are looting the pharmacies and interfering with the evacuation efforts.”

    I’m REALLY glad that you don’t have this guy’s job: “Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, 1st U.S. Army commander, will head the task force to coordinate DOD active-duty support for disaster relief efforts in the hurricane’s aftermath, much of it already under way or in the works.”

    From “Military providing full-scale response to hurricane relief effort” at
    http://www.blackanthem.com/World/2005083102.html

  97. I never said it’s wrong to be at war, Rob; I said this particular war was wrong.

    And do you seriously think things will get better in New Orleans if people just shrug at the ones looting ambulances and shooting at rescue helicopters by saying “Feh, well, that’s human nature for ya?”

  98. No Randolph, you just think you are. You can write off those people as different from you, or just plain evil, if it makes you feel better. But human nature doesn’t change just because we wish it were different.

    Much of the violence in disaster areas stems from desperation, frustration, fear and anger. Of course, you have complete control over those emotions and would never do anything irrational, right? (When DID INS start accepting immigration from the planet Vulcan, anyway?)

    Maybe you should spend some time in disaster areas and war zones and get back to me about the essential elements of human nature.

  99. I’m not sure what thread you are reading, but many of us are simply commenting that it is our opinion, based on the information available, that it is justified to remove resources previously dedicated exclusively to the rescue operations and have them reallocated to restore some measure of law and order.

    I have no problem with this. But the flooding problem is still more important for the US as a whole. Focussing on the looting and shooting misses the point. Yes, I am glad that there are some Guardsmen left to go down and shoot the looters. However, all of that is small-potatoes compared to the leveee breaking, which nobody seems to care much about here for some Reason. None of this contradicts what you say, and I agree with what you say.

  100. Jennifer,
    I didn’t say they shouldn’t be stopped if they are attacking other people, acting violently and irrationally. I just said that they aren’t any different than you or I. That you’re so bloodthirsty over some stolen jewelry, and so anti-war elsewhere strikes me as self-contradictory.

  101. Phil Collins? THE Phil Collins?!! I’m impressed. I dig some of your music, but Dude!, you are way off base about the death toll. Thousands? That’s only speculation so far. Even if it is true, life is for the living. It is a trite phrase,…but let the dead bury the dead.

  102. That you’re so bloodthirsty over some stolen jewelry, and so anti-war elsewhere strikes me as self-contradictory.

    Both cases involve innocent people being hurt by scumballs. I oppose both. No contradiction there.

  103. However, all of that is small-potatoes compared to the leveee breaking, which nobody seems to care much about here for some Reason.

    The priority is to get the people who want to be rescued out of there. Fixing the levee is not going to make the water go away before the people who need to be rescued end up dead.

  104. You know, the guy who wrote the song about the guy who could have saved the other guy from drowning, but didn’t?

    In other news: Thanks to H’n’R for the Instapundit entry and link. It was nice to see something less frivolous about the tragedy.

  105. Even if it is true, life is for the living. It is a trite phrase,…but let the dead bury the dead.

    Isn’t that a quote from the speech Bush gave right after 9/11?

  106. Rob,
    I may have come off as a little arrogant there. What I meant is that most of the people in NO are’nt looting. So the people in NO are superior to/different from the other people in NO. Not every single person becomes a lord-of-the-flies gangster when disaster strikes. Only certain people do.

    Looking at the actual numbers of looters/thugs vs. decent human beings, I’d say that human nature by and large directs us not to loot, kill, and pillage if the opportunity is presented.

    Also, it doesn’t make me feel “better” to think that I wouldn’t steal DVDs and pharmaceuticals if the opportunity was there. I’ve never been the victim of a natural disaster myself, so I don’t know what I would do. It just makes me angry that some criminals are holding up the evacuation efforts.

  107. “let the dead bury the dead. Isn’t that a quote from the speech Bush gave?”

    Yes, it may be. But it is a much older saying than that. Much older. If I had a book of quotations handy, I could tell you how old. Like I said: it’s a trite phrase.

  108. “let the dead bury the dead. Isn’t that a quote from the speech Bush gave?”

    Jesus – ‘Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead’ – Matthew 8:22

    Google is your friend.

  109. MP,

    Yeah, you’re right. I just went and looked it up in a Bartletts, but you beat me to it. Google? I’ll have to remember that.

  110. well, I’m quite late in responding to the criticisms from joe and Slippery Pete to my post early this morning, but for what it’s worth…

    If either of you care to read what I wrote, you would understand that I did not say anything like what you seem to think I did. I am not blaming the sad bastards who could not afford better locations for their homes or better means of leaving them, although I did indeed imply that that might be a factor in the perceived lack of sympathy for them. I’m sorry of I confused you.

  111. Google is your friend.

    And so it is. Here is what Bush actually said about the victims of 9/11:

    “The victims were . . . secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended . . . The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing have filled
    us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger.”

    Far cry from the dead-burying-the-dead treatment the victims of the flood are getting here.

  112. I actually emailed Jack on this and got a couple terse responses. Here’s one:

    Me: Again, I’m not sure what point racemongering serves. Can’t we just treat everyone as people and not classify them by the color of their skin? Regards, Dave

    Jack: If only.

    Personally, nothing would make me happier than to never hear another reference to anyone’s race on television or anywhere else. Because, frankly, race shouldn’t matter to anyone but racists. MLK’s dream was that his children would be judged on the content of their character, not that society would fret endlessly about the color of their skin. Seems like the reality he dreamed of is farther away than ever.

  113. I’ll start extravagantly. Whoever shoots a looter is not to be judged or prosecuted. I’ll leave it up to the person on the scene to make the snap judgement and live with their own conscience afterward.

    The survival looting is understood by nearly everyone. The recreational looting is abhorred by nearly everyone. It is tough to make a rule that distinguishes, but like porn, nearly all the time when you see it, you know the difference.

    The recreational looters are humans without ethical development. They’re no different from people in any city in USA, who have not been given by family and culture a sense of right and wrong. They have no internal sense of order, and respond only to force. Causes, blame, and all that do nothing to change the problem in New Orleans today, or in New York or Detroit or Atlanta or Oakland during the next blackout. The solution takes as long as it takes to awaken in people a sense of responsibility and personal power, at least a generation.

    After the survival looting and recreational looting, now we have what I’ll call desperation looting. Once the food is gone, the people stuck in town are faced with their own total dependence on others for survival. They have no idea how to create their own sustenance out of the remains of a city, and use they only power they have: violence. The acts become increasingly grotesque over inceasingly small tidbits. I’m sure somebody has been murdered for a bag of M&Ms.

    The aspects I described are intertwined in place and time, and complicated by each individual psychology. Since I’m not there, I am not qualified to judge.

    This is not Libertopia. This is a failing of the state, an example of why it is critical that all people at all times are given the power and responsibility to choose. Without training and practice in choice, people choose badly.


  114. “Though if I had the chance, I’d take half of THAT and earmark it for guns and bullets to shoot the sons of bitches who are looting…”

    I think I’m in love!

  115. Oh, and FWIW, it looks to me like the finger-wagging types here (Phil Collins, rob) don’t actually have a point to make; they’re just in it to feel superior. We’re not talking enough about the levee? OK, it’s a terrible thing that the levee broke and that many people died; I hope they make some progress in fixing it and rescuing people; we need to look into why this happened and how we can prevent it from happening in the future. Is that what you want? Oh, that’s right, you don’t want anything except to feel morally superior. Sorry, I forgot for a moment.

  116. My criticism is that there were not enough National Guard there early enough (eg before the levee broke). I still suspect that Iraq is partly (maybe mostly) to blame for the short staffing here.

    The NG sends in its people with empty M-16s and restrictive rules of engagment; essentially, they are a source of automatic weapons for the gangs, but the gangs do have to obtain ammo elsewhere.

    So not sending the NG in is the better plan.

  117. Goddammit, I will not be morally lectured to by the man who subjected everyone in the FM radio world to two years of “Sussudio.”

  118. “Both cases involve innocent people being hurt by scumballs. I oppose both. No contradiction there.” – Jennifer

    I think we agree on one thing: people who attempt to hurt innocents should be stopped. But that’s where our agreement ends, apparently.

    There are people in N.O. who need to be stopped from hurting innocent people and there are people in Iraq who need to be stopped from hurting innocent people. In N.O. it’s looters, which is somewhat understandable to me. In Iraq, it’s people who are killing innocent Iraqis (and targeting US military as well) with car bombs, suicide bombings, and improvised explosive devices.

    In the one case, you’re all for “shoot on sight” against people who may be looting for the first time in their lives out of desperation, but in the other – where there is consistent, repeated, organized attempts to kill people, you think it’s a bad idea to go there and stop them? Interesting point of view, and yeah, I think it’s pretty self-contradictory.

  119. only if you feel everyone’s house is your house.

  120. Robert Plant once sang “It’s Nobody’s Fault but Mine” and THAT should be the theme song for the people who are stuck in the Big Easy. Mother Nature’s a real bitch, ain’t she.

    I don’t know if anyone else saw the column by Clinonista Blumenthal trying to pin this on Bush…I mean, yeah, the guy’s not the best, I don’t think he’s the man behind the curtain whipping up storms to destroy LA and MS (that’s his constituency, ain’t it)

  121. In the one case, you’re all for “shoot on sight” against people who may be looting for the first time in their lives out of desperation,

    I’ve already said, somewhere higher in this thread, that those who are stealing food or baby supplies should be excused. But I don’t buy the thought that anybody has a desperate survival need to steal a plasma TV, overturn an ambulance, or shoot guns at the helicopters trying to rescue people in the city.

    Christ, the situation has gotten so bad down there that FEMA rescue missions are being postponed because it’s too dangerous for the rescuers! That means more people will die. They’re running out of food and water, hospitals are trying to operate with no water, drugs or electricity, and if the current survivors don’t get the hell out of there soon they will be dead. And you’re blithely lecturing us why we shouldn’t feel judgmental toward the ones who are making it impossible for the rescuers to save these people?

  122. Come to think of it, as many concertgoers of the 1980s can attest, Phil Collins has many times publicly stated, “If you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand.”

  123. JD,
    You finally said what I wanted you to say. Now we are at approximately the same moral positioning and I am no longer superior in the superior moral position (but that doesn’t bother me as much as you seem to think).

  124. Oops, poster “Eminem” beat me to it. Maybe I’ll come back after I have time to read the whole thread.

  125. And now CNN’s reporting that a hospital had to stop its evacuation of the desperately ill because of sniper fire. But hey, that’s no reasn to think law and order need to be re-established there pronto, right? We shouldn’t judge the snipers, I suppose. Desperation and fear and all that.

  126. Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-no, nobody’s fault but mine

    Screw em’, let em all rot, wait 50 years when the delta has rebuilt itself and then we can start the fun all over again

  127. And you’re blithely lecturing us why we shouldn’t feel judgmental toward the ones who are making it impossible for the rescuers to save these people?

    The looters should be shot. That doesn’t excuse the rest of us from honoring the memory of the dead, by letting the guards shoot the looters while we focus on the much more pressing issue of why a couple thousand people had to die of drowning. Repeatedly posting about the looters only distracts from the thing with a big body count here. yes, every tragedy has looteres and they all need to be shot, every time. None of this is nearly as important of the question you are blithely ignoring: could those drowning deaths have been prevented?

  128. “It just makes me angry that some criminals are holding up the evacuation efforts.” – Randolph Carter

    Dude, I agree 100%. My bad for reading that badly. It’s a hazard of the medium.

    “I’ll start extravagantly. Whoever shoots a looter is not to be judged or prosecuted. I’ll leave it up to the person on the scene to make the snap judgement and live with their own conscience afterward.” – Dynamist

    I agree with your policy. But that’s what happens when natural disaster completely overrides the rule of law, anyway.

    “The recreational looters are humans without ethical development. They’re no different from people in any city in USA, who have not been given by family and culture a sense of right and wrong.” – Dynamist

    Sadly, I can’t agree with this, because I’ve seen God-fearing people who go to church every Sunday knock down old people and children and then stomp over them despite their injuried and pitiful cries just to get to a bag of rice. When society breaks down, human nature is to survive, regardless of the cost to other humans.

    JD – Don’t be a jerk. And believe me, I don’t feel superior, because I realize that ALL people are capable of the worst. The people who have are trotting their self-delusion out for public display are those who believe that they will behave morally – at the expense of their own wellbeing and that of their loved ones – because of their own innate superiority.

    I just happen to have the “benefit” of experience – I’ve seen normally good people act deplorably to save themselves or their families. And don’t confuse me with Phil Collins – I believe in the use of force to stop irrational and violent behavior, wherever it’s directed at me and mine. Or as Stevo Darkly put it, in one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while: “I will not be morally lectured to by the man who subjected everyone in the FM radio world to two years of ‘Sussudio.'”

  129. Come on people! Focus on what you’re supposed to be focusing on!

  130. “The recreational looters are humans without ethical development. They’re no different from people in any city in USA, who have not been given by family and culture a sense of right and wrong.” – Dynamist. . . . Sadly, I can’t agree with this, because I’ve seen God-fearing people who go to church every Sunday knock down old people and children and then stomp over them despite their injuried and pitiful cries just to get to a bag of rice.

    I believe the people stealing rice to feed their families would NOT fall into the “recreational looter” category Dynamist referred to.

    Phil–
    When everybody trapped in New Orleans is safe and sound, I’ll lead the goddamned brigade to find who to blame and make some political heads roll. But right now, when there are living people who might still be saved, what possible GOOD can come of wasting time deciding who to point the finger at? Hell yes, things should have been done differently, and so many people didn’t have to die. I think the levees should have been shored up long before this. But there’s not a goddamned thing we can do now for the dead, whereas we CAN perhaps prevent more people from joining their ranks.

  131. “The recreational looters are humans without ethical development. They’re no different from people in any city in USA, who have not been given by family and culture a sense of right and wrong.” – Dynamist. . . . Sadly, I can’t agree with this, because I’ve seen God-fearing people who go to church every Sunday knock down old people and children and then stomp over them despite their injuried and pitiful cries just to get to a bag of rice.

    I believe the people stealing rice to feed their families would NOT fall into the “recreational looter” category Dynamist referred to.

    Phil–
    When everybody trapped in New Orleans is safe and sound, I’ll lead the goddamned brigade to find who to blame and make some political heads roll. But right now, when there are living people who might still be saved, what possible GOOD can come of wasting time deciding who to point the finger at? Hell yes, things should have been done differently, and so many people didn’t have to die. I think the levees should have been shored up long before this. But there’s not a goddamned thing we can do now for the dead, whereas we CAN perhaps prevent more people from joining their ranks.

  132. “The recreational looters are humans without ethical development. They’re no different from people in any city in USA, who have not been given by family and culture a sense of right and wrong.” – Dynamist. . . . Sadly, I can’t agree with this, because I’ve seen God-fearing people who go to church every Sunday knock down old people and children and then stomp over them despite their injuried and pitiful cries just to get to a bag of rice.

    I believe the people stealing rice to feed their families would NOT fall into the “recreational looter” category Dynamist referred to.

    Phil–
    When everybody trapped in New Orleans is safe and sound, I’ll lead the goddamned brigade to find who to blame and make some political heads roll. But right now, when there are living people who might still be saved, what possible GOOD can come of wasting time deciding who to point the finger at? Hell yes, things should have been done differently, and so many people didn’t have to die. I think the levees should have been shored up long before this. But there’s not a goddamned thing we can do now for the dead, whereas we CAN perhaps prevent more people from joining their ranks.

  133. And don’t confuse me with Phil Collins – I believe in the use of force to stop irrational and violent behavior

    Now, c’mon. Read my posts. I also believe in the use of force to stop irrational and violent behavior. I have said so at least twice (in response to similar charges from oter posters) and have never denied it. Time to start hearing the real Phil and quit knocking aroud the strawman you might wish I were.

  134. This server sucks ass.

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