Letter From a New Orleans Native

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In response to this:

There were not only rapes, but gangrapes of children who were then killed. My female cousins were assaulted and barely escaped as some kind bystanders tried to help them only to then be beaten by the gangs. They finally left and hid around the city wherever they could and YES, they heard the gunfire and SAW gangs of mostly young boys with assault weapons who not only fired at each other, but anything that moved including aircraft. They are all safe in Jackson now but they will be traumatized the rest of their lives. These are church-going, strong-willed caring young adults who have lost faith in everything they used to believe in. I personally lost faith in my idiot government a long time ago, having Curious George for a President was ALWAYS a disaster waiting to happen. But I also now view the media with distrust AND disgust after reading your biased column. How dare your magazine call itself "Reason"? You should call it "Stupid Fairy Tales".

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  1. “You should call it ‘Stupid Fairy Tales’.”

    I thought National Review already used that as its subtitle.

  2. Media, you just made me spit coffee all over the monitor. That’s great.

  3. Speaking of reader responses, someone who read this piece sent me this e-mail this morning:

    What a glossed over line of horseshit. Now I remember why I no longer subscribe to your magazine. [Because you started reading it online for free? -ed.]

    Next time you write an article say to yourself “I work for Reason, let me keep in mind what that word actually means”. It means that you let the facts, not your agenda or your wishes, drive your conclusions. Your article is written like a sportswriter who never saw the fight, but assumes they all pretty much turn out the same so he picks a winner and improvises.

    You said “In New Orleans there have been some genuine first-hand accounts of violent assaults, but as Matt Welch has reported in Reason, the rumor mill has been working overtime as well”. Are you fucking kidding? I’m starting to believe O’sullivan’s rule applies here: that any organization that is not explicitly right will go left over time. Do you really dismiss how incredibly crime ridden New Orleans became? If that was your child or sister getting raped and murdered in that dome would you be babbling off this squishy shit?

    The first rule of an honest man is that you are willing to accept the facts of reality – even if they are the less wholesome, feel-good type facts. And the fact here is that race matters. The fact here is that New Orleans turned into the night of the living dead and every white person feared for their lives. Ask the British tourist trapped inside that dome. Thank god they were rescued before they were completely slaughtered and their woman brutally raped. In our country this is incomprehensively horrible. But in lower Africa it is commonplace. When I think of that one 14 year old girl that was literally raped to death I picture your dumb ass with that stupid candide’s smile pregnant with the positive spin you’re dying to blurt out. How many rapes and murders can you ignore to make yourself feel good?

    So now all you have is that the government didn’t get the job done. Nice. When you leave race out of this equation you become a government lackey since political correctness implies coercive force.

    In case you’re wondering, I didn’t bother to respond.

  4. Ah, attack a column on unsubstatiated news with more shocking unsubstantiated news. And an Ad Hominim (or Ad Magazinim) roundhouse as well! Brilliant! What a wonderful way to get you’re point across! Perhaps we can do new Springer-esque show where trolls and crybabies slap each other.
    Yes, we all KNOW that a large number of inhuman atrocities occured in NOLA, that’s what happens when society on any scale collapses. But news organizations in this day and age have a record of spewing out the most horrifying and gut-wrenching stories for the sake on sensationalism and ratings. This isn’t about news at all. Fox, CNN, And MSNBC are entertainment channels. They need to be reminded of this fact regularly. Attacking Reason for pointing that out from time to time is simply silly.
    Also, if I had just gone through the horror of NOLA and had several family members brutalized and killed, calling a libertarian magazine with, let’s face it, a modest circulation would not be very high on my list. Just sayin’.

  5. Ok, this guy’s reply just tipped my BS-o-meter over the scale. If anyone is telling “Stupid Fairy Tales,” it’s him.

    Also, Reason is an opinion magazine, the articles are supposed to “biased,” dimwit.

  6. I think the writer of Jesse’s letter was a bit off-base, especially considering the article he wrote in response to, but I don’t BLAME the writer of Matt Welch’s letter for being furious. That quote about “the Guardian did not see any dead bodies”. . . . well, it’s already been established that there were indeed corpses there.

    I don’t know what would be worse, really–being brutalized, or being brutalized and then seeing everybody else deny it ever happened, because that would involve admitting some unpleasant things about human nature or this country, or whatever else.

  7. A close relative of my boyfriend has been in NOLA for over a week covering the conditions (and indeed, living them) for Fox.

    He hasn’t said anything to us about any of the rumors cited above.

    But he and his crew did rescue a starving dog, and it’s going to live with a producer in New York.

    Why don’t more stories (or rumors) like this get circulated?

  8. TWC, thank you, happy to oblige.

  9. If it happened it will come out, that wasn’t Matt Welch’s point. His point was that the media had no real facts on which to base its reports. It was printing rumor. The fact that the rumors may turn out to be true, doesn’t excuse the media for printing rumors before they knew what the facts were. The media is supposed sift through the rumors and not print them until they know they are true. Nothing this guy said changes that fact or makes Welch’s criticism of the media any less valid.

    While this clown is pouring out blame on curious George, how about the people of Lousianna who have tolerated and encouraged the most corrupt and incompetent political system in America? How about the blaming the state and local government who willingly ignored preparing for the most predicted disaster in American history? New Orleans has a police department. It was also the city’s bright idea to put people in the Superdome (truthfully probably not a bad idea if properly executed). How is the city of New Orleans not at fault for not having that place crawling with police officers? The fact is New Orleans city government has been broken beyond repair for years. I doubt puting cops in there would have helped because they would have been doing the victimizing rather than stopping it. But all of that doesn’t matter, its all the chimp in White House and the media’s fault.

  10. If given a wish by a genie, some folks would ask for world peace, and some might ask for all the hungry to be fed.

    After seeing and reading about N.O. for the past week, I’d wish for a 30 point increase in everybody’s IQ. I think it would have more long term benefits for everyone.

  11. In that same vein, here’s one for Jennifer:

    Click Heah

  12. John–

    If Matt’s letter-writer is telling the truth, do you think that he or she should be excused for a few stupid “Curious George” comments, on the grounds that he’s had one HELL of a bad week?

  13. Look, I think it only too likely that gangrapes and child murders did occur – I’m not sure I want to read detailed stories from the Superdome or the Convention Center cos I know they will be brutal and horrific BUT how come, so far, all we have are anonymous emails with cousins’ stories, tales of what someone said they witnessed? And has it indeed been confirmed that there were bodies in the Superdome (or Convention Center) freezers? And were they children?

    And yes, I do get more upset at the stories of violence against children than I do about violence against (equally innocent) adults. I just do.

    And what happened to all the gun toting guys? My best friend (a NOLA native) is convinced there are scores of dead gangbangers lying in the streets still to be found and that there were massive gun battles between the gangs and the cops, and that’s why so many cops fled. (FWIW, I think most of the cops who fled did so cos they were lousy cops, as unfortunately most of the NOLA force were).

  14. Excerpted from an email I got Monday. This guy lives in Abita Springs Alabama

    We set up a loose guard detail to protect the neighborhood from looters. I am not too worried but I heard that the focus on New Orleans moves the gangs up to our area. You should see the signs everywhere. “If you loot we shoot!”, “We have lots of guns…don’t think about it”. “Looters will be dealt with severely!”Some thugs hit the local pharmacy. A Children’s hospital was attacked by AK-47 yielding thugs. A buddy of mine had a shoot out with some punks in front of his house. His house lies in between two shelters and they evacuated the people and told them to walk to the one at Zephyr field. Well, some came packing and carrying weapons openly and stealing things in the neighborhood as they migrated. Words exchanged and bam. And this is in a middle class neighborhood too. No cops showed up.

  15. admission of the degree of disorder would involve admitting that americans are not demigods and heroes all, ms jennifer, by virtue of their holy nation — which is a difficult admission for some.

    mr walker, that letter was vile and you were right not to respond. but the confused writer of that letter stupidly fumbles with a real point. while race plays no role here, culture — particularly, the cultural disaster which is the african-american experience — does.

  16. mediageek:

    If that’s a .22, my girlfriend owns that exact model.

  17. Jennifer — I agree with you.

  18. Jennifer would look so hot in a cowboy hat…

  19. Sorry, I meant Albita Springs Louisiana. CRS you know.

    another excerpt that might bring a tear….

    They are now arresting anyone burning debris. The day after the storm I had a nose to nose confrontation with a resident who refused to put his fire out. I just delivered an oxygen concentrator to an elderly woman whose oxygen supply was dwindling. I was cutting down a tree in front of her house, that was blocking the street, and she told me of her plight. I had a concentrator back at the shop and went and got it and set up her O2 with a generator. I guess God put me there at that moment. The guy didn’t care and was belligerent. He put the fire out though. I wasn’t asking.

    Not sure why burning debris is a problem. Maybe because of open/broken gas lines?

  20. Here is a first person account from someone in the Convention Center. It gets into the “armed gangs fought off their rescuers” issue towards the end. Looted from a diary on DailyKos:

    “there for 2 days, with no water, no food. no shelter. Denise, her mother (63 years old), her niece (21 years old), and 2-year-old grandniece. when they arrived, there were already thousands of people there. they were told that buses were coming. police drove by, windows rolled up, thumbs up signs. national guard trucks rolled by, completely empty, soldiers with guns cocked and aimed at them. nobody stopped to drop off water. a helicopter dropped a load of water, but all the bottles exploded on impact due to the height of
    the helicopter.

    the first day (Wednesday) 4 people died next to her. the second day (Thursday) 6 people died next to her. Denise told me the people around her all thought they had been sent there to die. again, nobody stopped. the only buses that came were full; they dropped off more and more people, but nobody was being picked up and taken away. they found out that those being dropped off had been rescued from rooftops and attics; they got off the buses delirious from lack of water and food. completely dehydrated. the crowd tried to keep them all in one area; Denise said the new arrivals had mostly lost their minds. they had gone crazy.

    inside the convention center, the place was one huge bathroom. in order to shit, you had to stand in other people’s shit. the floors were black and slick with shit. most people stayed outside because the smell was so bad. but outside wasn’t much better: between the heat, the humidity, the lack of water, the old and very young dying from dehydration… and there was no place to lay down, not even room on the sidewalk. they slept outside Wednesday night, under an overpass.

    Denise said yes, there were young men with guns there. but they organized the crowd. they went to Canal Street and “looted,” and brought back food and water for the old people and the babies, because nobody had eaten in days. when the police rolled down windows and yelled out “the buses are coming,” the young men with guns organized the crowd in order: old people in front, women and children next, men in the back. just so that when the buses came, there would be priorities of who got out first.

    Denise said the fights she saw between the young men with guns were fist fights. she saw them put their guns down and fight rather than shoot up the crowd. but she said that there were a handful of people shot in the convention center; their bodies were left inside, along with other dead babies and old people.

    Denise said the people thought there were being sent there to die. lots of people being dropped off, nobody being picked up. cops passing by, speeding off. national guard rolling by with guns aimed at them. and yes, a few men shot at the police, because at a certain point all the people thought the cops were coming to hurt them, to kill them all. she saw a young man who had stolen a car speed past, cops in pursuit; he crashed the car, got out and ran, and the cops shot him in the back. in front of the whole crowd. she saw many groups of people decide that they were going to walk across the bridge to the west bank, and those same groups would return, saying that they were met at the top of the bridge by armed police ordering them to turn around, that they weren’t allowed to leave.

    so they all believed they were sent there to die. Denise’s niece found a pay phone, and kept trying to call her mother’s boyfriend in Baton Rouge, and finally got through and told him where they were. the boyfriend, and Denise’s brother, drove down from Baton Rouge and came and got them. they had to bribe a few cops, and talk a few into letting them into the city (“come on, man, my 2-year-old niece is at the Convention Center!”), then they took back roads to get to them.

    after arriving at my other cousin’s apartment in Baton Rouge, they saw the images on TV, and couldn’t believe how the media was portraying the people of New Orleans. she kept repeating to me on the phone last night: make sure you tell everybody that they left us there to die. nobody came. those young men with guns were protecting us. if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had the little water and food they had found.”

  21. New Orleans has been a war zone for years. The slums in New Orleans make east St. Louis look like Brentwood. I would imagine a lot of gang bangers killed each other and hopefully a lot of land owners killed looters.

  22. An interesting first hand account from the Dome:

    Escape From Superdome

    Though I didn’t know our military now uses AK-47s, the preferred weapon of our enemy, which has a distinctive sound 😉

  23. Joe,

    I would love a lot more details, especially considering the source. That reads like Oliver Stone is working on a new screenplay.

  24. And if you read elvis’ link, the guy there is pretty much just talking about rumours…

  25. I would imagine a lot of gang bangers killed each other and hopefully a lot of land owners killed looters.

    by golly, mr john, you are certainly a moron. amazing.

  26. I’m with Matt, Jennifer is dead-on.

    Some of the comments on this thread remind of a thread that popped up after the November elections. The discussion had to do with why the LP couldn’t get any traction in the voting population. The discussion on the thread soon dissolved into a discussion as to whether the 4th or 10th amendment (if I remember correctly) should be used as the stronger argument for libertarian ideals. In other words, the answer served to illustrate the point, not solve the problem.

    A similar type of comment can be seen here. Welch says that there is little/conflicting evidence of horrible stuff in NO and much of what is touted as information is just rumor-mongering (along with several other points). Someones else calls bullshit and provides evidence, horrible evidence that, in fact, the worst of the rumors are actually true. And the best that some can come up with is the rhetorical equivalent of holding their breath ’till they turn blue.

    Damn shameful, really.

  27. jf,

    It’s actually a 9mm kurz (“short”). They did make them in .22 cal, though.

  28. Gaius, why you beating up John? I would have no qualms about shooting someone intent on looting my property.

    Of course, there are degrees of looting, and the guy’s swiping brownies from the Hyatt in Dead E’s story link wouldn’t qualify for the death penalty, but I think you know that they weren’t who John was talking about.

    And don’t EVEN get me started on those graffiti artists. 🙂

  29. gaius marius,

    You know, I don’t think that being called a moron by you is quite the devastating emotional blow you seem to think it is.

  30. Cell phone cams?

    I’m really somewhat surprised that we haven’t seen a glut of stills and video taken inside the Superdome and around N.O. by people with cell phone cams.

    Those things are practically ubiquitous.

  31. Mediageek–

    I doubt the cell phone batteries were still working by then.

  32. BLG: an e-mail from an unknown source containing second-hand accounts does not evidence make.

    Undoubtedly there were dead bodies in the Superdome. How many of them were the results of violence? As we know lots of people died from dehydration and just from being sick and without care.

  33. I would have no qualms about shooting someone intent on looting my property.

    it’s less his bloodthirst than his inability to admit that anything very bad happened — that everyone there probably got what they deserved, and that nothing really out of the ordinary occurred anyway. they were poor folks, you know, and after all, new orleans has been a war zone for years. even money mr john lives in a snow-white suburb or some nebraska stickville.

    ms love, the same can certainly be said of a rebuke from you, who exist on a yet lower moral and intellectual level than the hapless mr john.

  34. DigitalDjigit,

    cousins … not EXACTLY second-hand …

  35. This is what happens when disaster strikes the Welfare State.

  36. The response to BLG’s comment and a few others goes to show that unless the victims have notarized photographic evidence, people who don’t want to believe anything bad happened WON’T believe anything bad happened.

    What, you say thirty unrelated Superdome witnesses told the same story about a rape/murder? Ah, but one of them got pissed off and said “This is Chimpy’s fault,” so let’s discount it all as anti-Republican propaganda. And Joe’s cut and paste came from a Lefty site, so of COURSE they can’t be telling the truth. And people are writing e-mails about it? Yeah, well, I can write an e-mail claiming I’m the empress of the world, if I want to. That’s not proof.

    Nothing to see here. Move along. Right?

  37. gaius marius,

    You know, I don’t think that being called a moron by you is quite the devastating emotional blow you seem to think it is.

    ouch.

    that isn’t be the only complete fantasy gaius harbors.

  38. mediageek: No lights, no photos.

    Curious also that our intrepid media never managed an entry in the Dome or CC. Was it too dangerous even for Christiane Amanpour? The wretched-but-not-violent idea doesn’t stand up, unless Eddie Compass is a big fat liar. Every sufferer is expected to make the story dramatic, and embellished. Rumours and the madness of crowds are at work. But colour that with a knowledge of New Orleans (which most lack), and wait to see what the soldiers say. They’re not going to be as hysterical in their accounts, but also they were not around at the darkest moments.

    Seems like most of all y’all are continuing the other habit Welch wrote about: cherrypicking info to support your political perpspective.

  39. Sure, there was some bad stuff going on. But I doubt it was wide spread anarchy as the media portrays it. Where are the thirty dome evacuees to back you up?

    This is just ONE email. A story told by a cousin is second-hand. Remember witch-hunts? People will say anything. We don’t even know who sent the e-mail.

    Your are just the opposite of what you ascribe to me, all too eager to believe the worst.

  40. Jennifer,

    Ix-nay on the ape-murder-ray. Even in the guy’s story, he reports it as a rumor that kept growing and changing, and doesn’t seem to quite believe it himself.

    Can’t we all get along? Horrible things happened in New Orleans AND the media hyped them.

  41. these are generally the same people who disdain the reality-based community, ms jennifer, after all. should we be surprised? 🙂

    i’m amazed at the depth to which the political religion has rooted in some folks. people like dean, love, john and rafuzo seem unable to countenance any reality that makes their political idols look bad, regardless of how actually culpable they may or may not be.

    i think there’s plenty of blame to go around in the political sphere, local, state and national. but this lot seems incapable of believing that saint bush could be responsible in any way — to the point of denying the thing even happened! — even as sensible conservative publications like the economist roundly call him out for the shaming of america. it’s a fascinating pathology.

  42. So what, the basic argument here is “some bad shit happened, look here’s a thirdhand story saying so!” vs. “no it didn’t! lies!”? Either you believe the stories or you don’t? Seems odd that a place called REASON would stoop to that kind of bickering.

    Out of curiosity, why is it unthinkable to imagine that maybe, you know, some bad shit DID happen, and maybe some worse shit DIDN’T, and since we don’t have a whole lot of smoking-gun-admissible-in-court-type evidence one way or the other, we can only trust people at their word, which can vary a lot from person to person? What about lending credence to a story proportionally based on plausibility and what little facts can be verified? Why am I sticking my head in the sand when I hear another terrible story and don’t immediately roil with anger or rally to find justice for the victims? Why am I rumor-mongering if a particular story sounds awful and should be investigated to the extent allowed?

    I think there’s a good argument to be made that yes, a fair bit of the humanitarian disaster now occurring is to be expected when a hurricane strikes a rather corrupt and flood-disaster-prone-city where all the cops are criminals, and all the sinners, saints. It’s not unthinkable to conceive the notion that the people who knew the best that this sort of disaster could occur were inversely empowered to make the escape planning work. Nor is it unthinkable to imagine, just as the people now refusing evacuation don’t have much cause to complain about the lack of basic services for the weeks to come, that even beyond a theoretically superhuman government effort to evacuate the city, there is a shred of basic human responsibility that says if you defy the recommendations of your peers and suffer the consequences, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on and demand somebody ‘do something’ to remedy your plight. And no, that doesn’t mean “you made your bed now you lie in it” is an appropriate government disaster response.

  43. Curious also that our intrepid media never managed an entry in the Dome or CC. Was it too dangerous even for Christiane Amanpour?

    Er . . . I saw both CNN and MSNBC reports from inside the Convention Center.

  44. Curious also that our intrepid media never managed an entry in the Dome or CC. Was it too dangerous even for Christiane Amanpour?

    Er . . . I saw both CNN and MSNBC reports from inside the Convention Center, or at least the atrium.

  45. The response to BLG’s comment and a few others goes to show that unless the victims have notarized photographic evidence, people who don’t want to believe anything bad happened WON’T believe anything bad happened.

    Eyewitness reports do carry weight. Even moreso when they are corroborated by others.

    However, the old clich? about a picture being worth a thousand words is certainly true.

    For instance, on Interdictor’s blog there’s an entry where he posts about a squad from the 82nd Airborne entering their building and pestering them. Such a claim is made all the more concrete by the picture of him standing there with a bunch of camouflage clad, red-beret wearing, rifle-toting soldiers.

    *shrugs shoulders*

  46. The response to BLG’s comment and a few others goes to show that unless the victims have notarized photographic evidence, people who don’t want to believe anything bad happened WON’T believe anything bad happened.

    Eyewitness reports do carry weight. Even moreso when they are corroborated by others.

    However, the old clich? about a picture being worth a thousand words is certainly true.

    For instance, on Interdictor’s blog there’s an entry where he posts about a squad from the 82nd Airborne entering their building and pestering them. Such a claim is made all the more concrete by the picture of him standing there with a bunch of camouflage clad, red-beret wearing, rifle-toting soldiers.

    *shrugs shoulders*

  47. Sigh. The “thirty” evacuees were hyperbole, along with the “empress of the world” comment. The point is, e-mails and letters claiming to be from eyewitnesses are being discounted because “that’s not proof.” John jumps on the Curious George comment in Matt’s letter, to the exclusion of all else. Eyewitness accounts? Mere rumor.

    So I will say again–unless bad things were caught on camera, preferably from multiple angles, certain people will still refuse to believe them.

  48. Sigh. The “thirty” evacuees were hyperbole, along with the “empress of the world” comment. The point is, e-mails and letters claiming to be from eyewitnesses are being discounted because “that’s not proof.” John jumps on the Curious George comment in Matt’s letter, to the exclusion of all else. Eyewitness accounts? Mere rumor.

    So I will say again–unless bad things were caught on camera, preferably from multiple angles, certain people will still refuse to believe them.

  49. Sigh. The “thirty” evacuees were hyperbole, along with the “empress of the world” comment. The point is, e-mails and letters claiming to be from eyewitnesses are being discounted because “that’s not proof.” John jumps on the Curious George comment in Matt’s letter, to the exclusion of all else. Eyewitness accounts? Mere rumor.

    So I will say again–unless bad things were caught on camera, preferably from multiple angles, certain people will still refuse to believe them.

  50. Jennifer

    I wouldn’t dismiss claims so readily (as you rightly point out some people do).

    But the abundance of second-hand reports, dearth of photos, lack of witnesses, etc., in many tales of horror should nonetheless give one pause. Even first-hand reports can be false.

    I am old enough to remember the McMartin Preschool case. First-hand reports from sources “who could not possibly be making this stuff up” sent innocents to jail.

    It may seem cold and inhumane (perhaps even disrespectful to victims), but I think we need to consider the stories we hear with a healthy dose of skepticism…especially during such extraordinary events.

  51. John is right.

    If you’re participating in a real-life version of Grand Theft Auto, ripping off private property while shooting at whomever, whenever, then it’s hard to muster up any sympathy if those individuals meet an early dirt nap. And I don’t care if the culprits are “snow white”, black, green, or purple.

  52. TWC,

    Not sure why burning debris is a problem. Maybe because of open/broken gas lines?

    Probably because the last thing you need in a disaster situation is an open fire that goes out of control with no fire department around. It’s one thing to make a fire to cook food or warm yourself; it’s another just to have one going so you can burn trash and debris. My neighbor insists on burning his leaves and yard waste, and while I don’t mind the action itself, I do worry about his, shall we say, competency in the matter, particularly in the heat of summer when my lawn is already a parched savannah.

  53. Gaius-

    Defending one’s property with the most effective means one can muster is hardly indicative of bloodthirst.

  54. As you can see, the regularly scheduled Reason daily server breakdown is in full force.

  55. Jennifer,

    I love it when you put words in my mouth. Thanks for covering my 6! I needed it.

  56. About Joe’s story, “Looted from a diary on DailyKos”…

    Curious. Ive read a few first person accounts from NO, like this one:

    http://www.livejournal.com/users/interdictor/?skip=60

    (the story by Bigfoot the bartender)

    … and i seem to recall some of the very same details in some of them (e.g. ‘water breaking’). I’d be curious to see if this ‘diary’ has an actual person’s name and email address. Some of it feels like it might have been jacked from OTHER people’s first person accounts. Almost like someone wanted to ‘tell a story’ where the thugs werent so quite bad after all.

    I dont know. Just something smells fishy. i dont know why. Mostly the way the ‘diary’ fades between “denise said” and actual 1st person descriptions of events?

    Or that statements like, “at a certain point all the people thought the cops were coming to hurt them, to kill them all.”… sounds like a Liberal/Progressive freshman creative writing student. Anyone who’s ever been in disaster situation falls in love with cops, in my limited experience. I dont care who you are. When your ass is exposed to the elements, surrounded by other desperate people, you suddenly find authority very reassuring. This is just my limited experience…in blackout situation, building fires, and Sept 11th in NYC. That sort of stuff.

    JG

  57. “Er . . . I saw both CNN and MSNBC reports from inside the Convention Center.” Let’s not forget NPR.

    “Defending one’s property with the most effective means one can muster is hardly indicative of bloodthirst.” Thinking of the thousands of dead in New Orleans and having your mind go, first and foremost, to “gangbangers shooting each other” and “property owners shooting looters” is certainly indicative of…something.

  58. Jennifer, I love it when you put words in my mouth. Thanks for covering my 6! I needed it.

    What?

  59. i’m amazed at the depth to which the political religion has rooted in some folks. people like dean, love, john and rafuzo seem unable to countenance any reality that makes their political idols look bad, regardless of how actually culpable they may or may not be.

    this lot seems incapable of believing that saint bush could be responsible in any way

    I may be wrong, but my impression is that the list you provide is to-a-person anti-Bush.

    Not to speak for those folks, but I suspect — and know in my case — that the “political religion” that most induces people on this forum to hope for the best and wait for confirmation before believing the worst is quite simply the strongly internalized notion that one’s fellow man is not an animal whose only pretense at civilization comes from the omnipresent force of government.

    I am frankly amazed at the number of people who think that any statement which happens not to blame Bush comes from a Bush apologist.

  60. J: I think there’s a big difference between outright disbelief and healthy skepticism. Good call about cellphone batteries.

    MG: Although camera phones are ubiquitious among the financially secure, they are possibly less so among the impoverished NOLA residents who apparently constituted the majority of people in the superdome.

    Surprised that nobody has considered that the folks in the superdome were overheated, dehydrated, undernourished and traumatized — conditions conducive to mass hysteria. Which is not to actively disbelieve the eyewitness accounts, but to maintain a healthy skepticism in the true spirit of reason (and hopefully “Reason”)

  61. Jennifer,

    In response to your post of 3:58, I was just gushing that you seemed to agree with me … or at least I had said something that wasn’t totally out in left field. And as always, you said it with superior clarity!

    (The problem with typing a conversation is that you can’t look into someones eyes and tell what they mean. My orginal post to you really was just a thankful ‘aw-shucks’ kind of moment.)

  62. 6=back (think hands on a clock- military etal jargon)
    Mediageek- while I wish these folks had the latest fancy phones wit hi-res cameras in em, I think the fact that they didnt have enough money for cars and couldn’t get credit cards probably put a crimp in that plan. I think you (and much of our country) needs to see just how bad things are for the very poorest. It is not pretty.

  63. Nothing to see here. Move along. Right?

    How about an ounce of critical thinking? I am presented as evidence of nefarious deeds excerpts from an on-line diary that I could not find in a cursory search, coming from a web-site that makes Mother Jones look like The American Spectator, replete with a bunch of first names only and vague accusations. So now what, I am just supposed to believe it because it could be true?

    Given the quantity of apocrypha already oozing from the Big Easy I do not see how skepticism is worthy of criticism. I want to know the truth, not a collection of unsubstantiated rumors.

  64. I think there’s a good argument to be made that yes, a fair bit of the humanitarian disaster now occurring is to be expected when a hurricane strikes a rather corrupt and flood-disaster-prone-city where all the cops are criminals, and all the sinners, saints. It’s not unthinkable to conceive the notion that the people who knew the best that this sort of disaster could occur were inversely empowered to make the escape planning work. Nor is it unthinkable to imagine, just as the people now refusing evacuation don’t have much cause to complain about the lack of basic services for the weeks to come, that even beyond a theoretically superhuman government effort to evacuate the city, there is a shred of basic human responsibility that says if you defy the recommendations of your peers and suffer the consequences, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on and demand somebody ‘do something’ to remedy your plight. And no, that doesn’t mean “you made your bed now you lie in it” is an appropriate government disaster response.

    i don’t disagree, mr rafuzo — i’d be the first to say that some things that happened in new orleans were perhaps unavoidable, in much the same way as 9/11 was essentially unavoidable.

    but does any of that excuse the massive and persistent federal incompetence in what is in fact, whether we like it or not, a federal operation of disaster relief first and foremost? clearly not — and, just as clearly, the bush administration dropped this ball very badly and deserves a lot of the blame its getting.

    i’d encourage you to read the economist this week. excellent pieces re: katrina, the response and the aftermath.

  65. be skeptical, mr swill — but enough has emerged that is anything but apocryphal to say that things went very badly indeed from a planning and response viewpoint on all political levels. that cannot be swept under the rug if you want accountable government.

  66. I am frankly amazed at the number of people who think that any statement which happens not to blame Bush comes from a Bush apologist.

    as i’ve said, mr p, there’s plenty of blame for all levels — but disaster relief is in fact in this nation a federal problem and has been for decades now. when things go badly, you can’t blame *only* the locals in an effort to spin away damage to your political heroes, as some here diligently and reflexively are.

  67. enough has emerged…that cannot be swept under the rug if you want accountable government.

    This seems to be the point where I am parting ways with sympathetic libertarians. I have no expectation whatsoever of an accountable government. What seems plainly obvious to me at this point is that most people, including cynical libertarians, feel let down by all levels of government.

    I can say without hesitation that there is no way the government could let me down, because I do not have any expectations of the institution. To feel let down is to allow for the triumph of hope over experience (with apologies to Samuel Johnson).

  68. when things go badly, you can’t blame *only* the locals in an effort to spin away damage to your political heroes, as some here diligently and reflexively are.

    Perhaps you should consider that people here might be “diligently and reflexively” taking a position against giving the federal government more power than it needs to have. The way the national mood is turning looks rather bad for federalism.

    The fact that Stalin would have handled the disaster better is not a reason to hope that Bush acts like Stalin.

  69. Google didn’t help me find any record of photos or video inside the Dome or CC. I do recall some dim shots on CNN of the holes in the roof. There are tales of reporters inside, any plenty of bloggers who rehash other blogs, but where are the pics?

    It is important to keep in mind the time when reporters (and hopefully I’ll find camera people, too) were inside. Monday was apparently relatively calm. By Friday most of the people were out. Who went in, say around Midnight, Tuesday or Wednesday?

  70. I would imagine a lot of gang bangers killed each other and hopefully a lot of land owners killed looters.

    John,

    In the past when th very tiresome topic of banning and comments policing has come up, I have said the following, which is as close to an official policy as anybody is likely to see:

    “Do not make comments that threaten, speculate about, express approval of, show idle curiosity regarding, counterfactually fantasize about, or in any other way entertain the idea of death or bodily injury against any other person. That goes for public figures, fellow commenters, Reason staffers, and any other individual.”

    I reiterate that advice now, as a word to the wise.

  71. Didn’t anyone read the Times-Picayune article that Welch posted a few days ago?

    “Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.

    “Don’t step in that blood – it’s contaminated,” he said. “That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he’s an old man.”
    Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.

    “That’s a kid,” he said. “There’s another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut.”

    This is from someone in close proximity to the bodies.

  72. I still feel Matt Welch’s original point stands. The media is interested in news and in a vaccuum, they’ll take whatever comes their way. Its not political, its in their self interest to move as muc information (factual and fictional) as they can to keep people watching.

    I’ll admit to retaining some semblence of faith in humanity and being skeptical on the more outrageous acts of violence (gang rape of a child?) since there is already plenty in this tragedy to keep my “pissed” meter peaked.

    I see the blame game started early on this when the tragedy continues to exist. Fight it out later guys, there’s still people there. I think a tragedy of this magnitude also revealed the disconnect between state and federal government. Whether its the system or the people that are to blame, I’m sure we’ll get enough information in the coming weeks, months and years. This entire debacle is going to hit hard, but maybe this will wake people up to the weaknesses in our recovery system that tragedies like 9/11 didn’t.

    But….no one ever accomplished a lasting solution in a pissed off state of mind, so let’s just calm down and think about the issues in a rational fashion, after all, we’re all REASONable, right, 🙂

  73. here’s a picture from outside the convention center. And here’s a story from one of our reporters from inside the convention center.

  74. “”Do not make comments that threaten, speculate about, express approval of, show idle curiosity regarding, counterfactually fantasize about, or in any other way entertain the idea of death or bodily injury against any other person. That goes for public figures, fellow commenters, Reason staffers, and any other individual.”

    I reiterate that advice now, as a word to the wise.”

    So let me get this straight. Rhetorically hoping for the death of vicious criminals who take advantage of of a natural disaster and prey on the helpless is a banning offense here? I hope you’re joking. In what world does hoping that the worst sort of criminal scum might actually get what they deserve equal threatening Reason commentators, staff, or individuals?

  75. “12:10 P.M. – Police Chief Eddie Compass: No bodies of children found at Convention Center and no evidence of sexual assaults. “

    Little tidbit I found on http://www.wwltv.com Katrina Blog.

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