The Katrina Disaster

“Louisiana…Louisiana…
They’re trying to wash us away,
They’re trying to wash us away.”
  — Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927

First things first. The news out of New Orleans and Gulfport/Biloxi gets worse and worse. You can do something. Give money to the Red Cross or any other charity that’s going in there and helping people. Donate blood. Urge others to do the same.

The entire city of New Orleans (and environs) is devastated. They don’t even know the death toll yet because they still can’t get to the dead. Biloxi and Gulfport aren’t a lot better.

Probably we should wait until the people still in danger are rescued and the bodies are buried before we start pointing fingers and blaming people, but the sad truth is, neither the bodies nor the survivors seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Some folks have been saying that President Bush needs to get his ass down there instead of holding rah-rah photo ops. I disagree. He needs to stay out of the way and let the people who are actually useful and good for something help people out. If he’s not planning on personally helping get people out of there, he needs to go someplace else.

It should be noted, however, that there used to be a time when the National Guard would be in there helping rescue people and stave off further disaster. Unfortunately, most of them are too busy fighting for oil in Iraq.

And why weren’t the levees shored up more to keep the water out?

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

(Source: Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? ‘Times-Picayune’ Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues)

Yes, it’s possible that the “fiscally responsible” Bush Administration may have had a hand in the destruction of New Orleans.

But one also has to wonder why New Orleans, a city that knew it was only a matter of time before this happened, seemed to have no evacuation plan in place other than “Everyone get in their own car and drive to somewhere else”. Those who had nowhere to go and no vehicle to take them there were stranded in front of Katrina. Why are school and city busses sitting underwater when they could have ferried people out of the city on Sunday?

Mind you, I’m not blaming a natural disaster on short-sighted politicians. I’m blaming the lack of an entire city to respond to a natural disaster — one that was only a question of when rather than if — on short-sighted politicians.

And yet, what’s got everyone up in arms the most? Looters. Never mind the observation that apparently black people “loot” but white people “find things”. The simple truth is, so what if people are taking TV sets out of stores? Who gives a crap? Jesus, is there no worse suffering going on right now so that we have to be outraged about that? It’s just stuff while people stand on their rooftops hoping to be rescued. Can you read this email, allegedly from a rescue worker, and tell me that we really need to be caring if someone lifts a DVD player from a washed-out Best Buy?

So shut up about the damn looters and go give some money or blood. Right now. And if you think you can’t afford to, go right now and drink a glass of tap water and realize you’re doing something that many people there can’t do because they have no clean water or their home has been destroyed or they’re dead.

This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Katrina Disaster

  1. stealthcomic says:

    I know there’s going to be lots of finger pointing when it’s all said and done. There’s plenty of blame to go around. I have my fingers crossed that it won’t just be bluster.

    With the situation in NOLA now, the looters are just marking time. Most won’t get out with what they took and those that took necessities are trying to survive. Frankly, I’d rather that the NOPD place the priority on saving the living rather than saving the stuff.

    Thanks for letting me know about your friends and relations, too.

  2. Blasterhappy says:

    I know the looters are of little importance now and the efforts to save lives is the priority but there are several problems that are immediate at this point. Your absolutely right! New Orleans never had a plan in place for such a diseaster and that can be argued forever. Now you have living people trapped with time running out for their survival, not to mention the ones not found yet. Plus the man power is too low to adequately make a push to find and save these people. To add insult to injury there are ARMED looters running around the city hampering the rescue efforts just to protect the crap they stole. Everything plays into the Big Picture and that picure is real ugly. I was just on Canal street 2 weeks ago and actually took the time to walk around the French Quarter after work one day. I’m glad I did because it will never be the same. Give till it hurts! Because there are people out there hurting more than you can imagine.

  3. randy rocks says:

    I’ve donated money to the Red Cross, but it frustrates me that my money will probably go to the restoration of New Orleans several months from now instead of food and water to the people who really need it right now. I can’t believe this is America.