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I have always had a golden rule about my blog…”Stay Neutral”. I have not wanted to offend people or alienate anyone, so I have tried hard to drive down the middle of the road. Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath has taken that away. If I offend you, I am sorry, but this is not a time for pussyfooting around anymore. I will also apologize upfront that this will ramble, but I am so angry it is hard for me to gather my thoughts.
Our goverment has failed. There is no other way to put it. This was not something like 9/11, we knew this was coming, we could tell it was going to happen, we had time to prepare, and we didn’t.
We could have moved the National Guard members into position. We didn’t.
We could have moved relief items into position. We did, but not nearly enough.
Once the hurricane hit, and the levies of New Orleans broke, we took five days to get supplies to the city. It took five days for our President to get to the disaster area, while it only took him two days to visit Ground Zero. Where was the leadership? Where was the plan? Why are there no food drops? There were food drops two days after the Tsunami hit in Asia. Two days….halfway across the world….we got them food. Our own country and it took five days for a measly 50 trucks to drive through the water and get supplies to the refugees in New Orleans. In our own country…not halfway across the world…in our own country.
Where were the plans? Where was the leadership? Where were the troops? Where were the rescue boats? We knew this was a possability, but we did nothing.
Our goverment, both parties, failed us. They failed you, they failed me, they failed everyone in this country. If you are sitting some place like Billings, MT (no offense, it was a random choice) and you think “Oh, this has no effect on me…” WRONG! This effects every single one of us!
Now, to some more specific points:
Looting – If you loot a grocery store, a clothing store or something in the same vein, I have no problem with it. You did what you had to do to live. However, you did not need the jewelry, put that down and move along.
Using the military as police – Ok, this one I will actually defend the goverment on. When the looting and chaos began, people called out for sending in the military. Well, the military can be used, but it has to be done under very strict rules set down in the Posse Comitatus. You can go read up on it, but there are a whole lot of reasons you can not just drop the military into a policing action. The National Guard can be used under a governor’s orders though.
Recovery – How do you rebuild a city? The economy of New Orleans, and the small towns in Mississippi that everyone seems to forget were totally wiped away, are gone. The businesses are gutted or looted. How do they rebuild? Should they bother?
Mississippi gets $2 Billion a year from tourism, and most of that from the coast where the casinos are. Half of those are destroyed. In New Orleans, what about the revenue from Mardi Gras? They are saying it could be 80 days before the city is drained of the water, that puts us in mid to late December, Mardi Gras is in February, is it even a remote concept they could be ready in time? I doubt it.
Turning down volunteers – A friend of mine is going to school in Houston and she wants to volunteer and help anyway she can. She is here on a student visa from England, and under that she is now allowed to hold a job or she faces being deported. According to our goverment, volunteering qualifies as working. She has medical training and is qualified as a teacher, but she can’t do anything because of this insane rule. Way to go goverment!
The roving gangs – Would someone please explain to me why you would open fire on rescue copters? Fire on patients trying to be evacuated from a hospital? Taking shots at policeman doing their job? Way to go folks, you win the loser of the year award.
The Police – I saw a very angry policeman from New Orleans on CNN this morning. He had a message for the 1/3 of the police force that had deserted their jobs and left town. He reminded them that when they were hired they swore an oath to protect the city and it’s people and by deserting they had broken their oath. Good for him! It needed to be said. Police are human beings, I understand that, but when something like this happens, it seperates the real cops from those just doing a job. To the police who have stayed on the job, I salute you.
Houston – I could not be prouder of a city than I am of them. They are taking in possibly as many as 200,000 evacuees, and they have not said one word about turning people away. For those of you in Houston, please be told that the shelters are in desperate need of underwear, diapers, socks and formula. This may apply to all shelters everywhere, but Houston specifically is asking for those donations. Please check with news sources like The Houston Chronicle, KPRC NBC channel 2 (and specifically this page saying they need volunteers at the Astrodome…unless you are a student from England of course), KHOU and so on.
What you can do – If you live around the shelters, volunteer, donate items, take evacuees into your home. If you do not live in the area, please do not forget to donate to the Red Cross.
I have much more to say, but they will break into other enteries.