September 2, 2005

Your thoughts on the Katrina disaster

Here's a thread to express your thoughts, reactions, or opinion on the extent of the damage, likely effects, news, updates, outrages, and the response or lack of it by the federal government.

Two items to start:

These poor victims have clung to life on their rooftops, been snatched by helicopter or braved the filthy waters to manage to make it to the SuperDome. There they were packed in wet, hot, crowded conditions with non-functioning toilets, filth, and chaos.

They waited literally for days in the heat and were fortunate enough to FINALLY get loaded onto a bus, which they then road in exhaustion for 8 long hours, anticipating finally getting some semblance of normalcy and care at the Astrodome in Houston.

Reports have just came in that fire marshalls are now forbidding them from entering the Astrodome, and simply telling them, like a bartender at last call, that they don't care where they go, just as long as they go somewhere else.

Incredible. A. Where was the planning on this? Was there any? And B. A crisis of life and death for thousands and the freaking fire marshalls are worried about overcrowding and denying people the aid they've gone through so much to get?!

What the hell is going on here?

It was reported that up to 60% of New Orleans cops in some precincts are simply not showing up for duty. When the chips were down, they just quit. A reporter was at one precinct in the French Quarter where the cops have loaded in their families and friends and are barrackaded themeselves inside the station, complete with cops sniping on the roof.

This is a disgusting example of the cops simply giving up on doing their sworn duty and instead baracading themselves in the station, using city resources to take care of themselves and their families, while fending off any desperate people, who are literally dying, who might dare expect assistance or help from their own police.

And this while lawlessness is crippling the rescue effort.

Appalling. But it truly points up the fact that in a lot of areas, it's devolved to humanity at it's most primative and primal. It's anarchy, survival of the fittest, every man, woman, and child for himself. The system has broken down completely.

And where are the Feds and state officials? They say they can't get to any of this. Why? Well, there's a few feet of water in some of the streets. Why does this sound lame? Maybe because we've seen response to floods in the region and know how boats and military vehicles can be used to reach even the most isolated. Why isn't this happening in N.O.?

One reason is that much of the needed vehicles, equipment, and personnel are in Iraq, fighting that "noble cause."


At 9/02/2005 3:15 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And let's face facts. It appears as if, despite the fact that this scenario has been predicted, studied, and warned of, (I even recall seeing a NOVA program which went in depth into the effects of a strong hurricane on N.O. and how they weren't prepared. I vividly recall their computer generated images of what the French Quarter would look like with water up to the balconies.), even though the government has been aware of this danger for years now, THERE IS SIMPLY NO PLAN IN PLACE to deal with this.
The rescue efforts are a total mess, with little or no coordination and plagued by screw-up after screw-up.
They had no plan, and were totally and utterly unprepared, period.

I have no problem with realizing that the scope of the dissaster is beyond their capacity to deal with efficiently, but there is no excuse for the amazingly inefficient, slow-moving, and inadequate response so far.

At 9/02/2005 3:33 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

At the risk of monopolizing comments, I have to say that I think that officials are exagerating the situation on the street and the risk of being shot.

I truly believe that they're inflating a few reports into the suggestion that there's an army of outlaws shooting at anything that moves. Why?

It's obvious, it's the excuse they're clinging to to excuse their lack of response and the thousands of deaths they are allowing to occur.

The reports of a few shots being fired in an enormous city like N.O. was their perfect chance to say they can't do their jobs due to fear of being shot.

I think it's all bull, and one of the worst excuses I can imagine for not going full steam ahead with whatever efforts are needed.

If disaster relief efforts grind to a halt because a situation is wide-open and there's little or no law enforcement, then why bother to show up??!!

The exact same situation will occur in any disaster of even half the extent of this one, especially in any large urban area.

If they can't function in a situation with danger involved, then what the hell are they doing?

When situations change from the sterile examples they've used to plan, their plans fall apart?

It's simply a dodge. Look for it to be used as a catch-all excuse for their failure.

At 9/02/2005 3:52 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It's been a week now since the hurricane hit, and just now, a handful of corporations are actually doing something.
Wal-mart has donated $15 million (after posting a 2.8 BILLION profit recently) to relief efforts and donated products.

Budweiser is sending a few trucks full of bottled water, GM and Chrysler, I believe are taking steps to give hurricane victims time to repay their loans, which is really big of them, (not)considering none of them even has a job to return to, and their cars are likely destroyed. But this points up one of the tangential aspects of this. Auto companies will likely have to just eat all those loans, which is a big hit.

But even though these efforts are commendable, they remain rather paltry when compared to the actual wealth and capacity of these corporations.

Their efforts are akin to you or I dropping a couple bucks in a Salvation Army bucket. Something, yes, but a true sacrifice, certainly not.

At 9/02/2005 4:04 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

As an aside, in the finding humor in a desperately grim situation department, Louisianna's governor said during a press conference today that the situation in N.O. is "very fluid", no doubt not realizing her unfortunate choice of words.

At 9/02/2005 8:34 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

FEMA ordered rescue efforts to halt because they were afraid of being shot at. They later denied this, despite the fact that a National Guard official said he'd stood down their efforts due to FEMAs lead.

So many hours were lost, people's suffering and death were added to, all because some moron called off the meager rescue efforts due to being afraid of some shooting.

Now no one will admit it. How nice.

Any thinking, feeling person should be outraged at the way this situation is (not) being dealt with.

Does this inspire confidence in the Bush regimes ability to "protect" it's citizens? They can't shoot straight, and they haven't gotten anything right in 5 years, including this disaster. But this time it's thousands of our citizens being left for dead, when lives and intense suffering could be saved had they had even a rudimentary plan to deal with this or any clue as to how to coordinate the rescue effort.


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