Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Few Bad Apples

Katrina is the world right now. This thing just keeps getting worse, and there's no hope in sight. Now the specter of race riots appears. As New Orleans becomes a warzone, there is the distinct possibility that confrontations will spark outpourings of frustration in other destitute communities.

Worrying about rioting, thousands dead and dying, looting, misery, and massive destruction is enough for one, without having to deal with the pundits, the partisans and the party hacks. The waters had barely begun to rise when the opportunists started asking themselves: "How can we use this to our advantage?"

There are folks screaming racism in the coverage because black people have been shown looting. I know I've seen shots of both black and white looting, and that the majority of rescue shots I've seen have involved people of color.

Then there are the people who see this as an opportunity to attack the Bush administration. I am no fan of the nutcases in power at the moment, but give them a few days to mobilize relief. Lesson 1: The hurricane was not caused by Bush's failure to sign the Kyoto treaty, and anyone who says so is either stupid or dishonest.

On the other hand, there are worse faults than criticizing the disaster preparedness of the area or country. You could claim that the storm is sent by god to punish the wicked. Kind of like Robertson did in the past...or this Kuwaiti official just did in the World Tribune. Lesson 2: God doesn't help football players score touchdowns and he doesn't indiscriminately kill thousands of people (many of whom undoubtedly were opposed to the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East) as an act of judgment. Anyone who claims god does such things is insane and an enemy of reason.

Of course nothing compares to the inspiring example of people in times of crisis:
"Police say storm victims are being raped and beaten inside the New Orleans Convention Center. About 15,200 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile. Police Chief Eddie Compass says he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob. Compass says, "We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten."He says tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.In hopes of defusing the unrest at the convention center, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank for whatever relief they can find. But the bedlam appeared to make leaving difficult."

As if people needed an excuse not to send money, to turn a blind eye, to say, "Maybe they did deserve it." Lesson 3: People are idiots. I mean what are you going to do with the TV? There's no power! And 20 ft. of water! Take food sure...but beer?...sneakers?

Now ask me why I have such a dim view of humanity.

1 comment:

beckett said...

Let me add today, that acrimony and blame are increasing. The locals blame the feds. The feds blame each other, and up and down the line, people dodge responsibility.

They were not prepared for this: not state, not local, not federal. For God's sake, fix it first, then sling the mud. There's plenty of it.

My heart goes out to the people still trapped in that city.

I ask myself, in a zero-law situation, my life in danger and my means of survival gone, would I attach to one of these gangs? I doubt it, but it's hard to say what you'll do when your life is on the line.