September 6, 2005

Rumors and stories

An inevitable by-product of any mass confusion such as the aftermath of Katrina is that rumors, if they're juicy enough and fit neatly into pre-conceived notions, spread like wildfire.

Two of these which were very widely reported are now being said to be untrue.

First, as I said days ago, the reports of massive gangs of armed gangs controlling the city (used as an excuse for inaction) were of course, exagerated an largely untrue. As Mayor Nagin said, many were likely drug addicts desperate for a fix, many were the hard-core criminals who would have taken this as an opportunity in any city, and some were simply desperate people scared into thinking they needed guns for defense or to get what they needed to survive.

When you stop to think of the conditions these people were in, it's remarkable that there wasn't MORE lawlessness and gun violence.

But it's now clear that there were not nearly the amount of armed crooks roaming the streets.

The other story which has been said to be false is the reports that up to 60% of the police force abandoned their posts. There was a complete communication breakdown, with cops having almost no way to communicate with each other, which may have lead to the impression that the cops simply weren't there.

Of course, this could be an effort at damage control, and no doubt, many cops and firefighters did go A.W.O.L., but the initial reports of mass desertion appear to be untrue.

One story little reported is that there has been an enormous naval ship sitting off the coast with the capacity of making thousands of gallons of fresh water daily, with helicopters available and enormous search and rescue capabilities. But it's been sitting there idle and inactive.


At 9/06/2005 11:58 AM, Blogger Whetam Knauckweirst said...

When you stop to think of the conditions these people were in, it's remarkable that there wasn't MORE lawlessness and gun violence.

At the risk of seeming to make a wildly inappropriate analogy, I think this may put this particular rumor in perspective.

Have you ever been in a shopping mall on Xmas Eve? No shit, have you? While going through school, I worked retail, and more than a few times Xmas seasons I was aghast, disgusted, and outright shocked by the sheer number of people -- ordinarly folk -- who are bear stress-points away from utter madness. There were times in these instances when I thought back to the L.A. riots of 1992 or other moments of civil disturbance, and thought how backdoor-to-the-reptile-brain must be exponentially ripped from its hinges in so many people at such times.

Ever see a Yuppie given the wrong coffee at Starbucks? Christ, just a few years ago there were Newsweek articles about the decline of civility in contemporary life. Think of the stories of road rage and the violence perpetrated by parents at their kids' hockey games -- and this is under completely normal, pampered, well-lit, well-fed, hydrated circumstances. Take away all of those comforts and you'd have the head of the local chamber of commerce cannibalizing his children on his front lawn.

Place people in a crazy situation, don't be shocked when madness ensues.

One right-wing guy I read yesterday actually wrote: "... if the Superdome had been filled with white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself, it would not have been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion." (a blog called; he got it from elsewhere)

The story of Hurricane Katrina isn't that people in the midst of dire, inhuman conditions acted badly -- it's that people in positions of comfort, responsibility, on vacations for Christ's sake! acted badly. There's a huge fucking difference.

At 9/06/2005 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sir are a dumbass, maybe that's how it works in Canada. Think a little deeper

At 9/06/2005 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and the Battan story

At 9/06/2005 5:22 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You know anonymous, it's plain to see that you are the dumbass here. You offer absolutely nothing but stupid insults, contribute not one speck to the debate, offer no facts, no nothing.

Go read the story I posted in comments above about the Bataan
Then just shut up and go away until you've actually got something even remotely intelligent to say.

At 9/06/2005 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dumbass

go read the commente above and i suggest you follow your own advise


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