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Old 09-03-2005, 11:15 PM   #21
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Jazuela, that was a good idea you had to start with. I hope someone with the power to act took note. Even if one person with a boat took it north/west out of Katrina's path and was able to make it back to NO to help one person, that'd be nice.

The_logos, I totally agree with your view. Food, bottled water, medicine. That's what I'd call essentials. Nothing else. There's no excuse (that I can think of - if anyone can enlighten me, please try) for taking material goods, especially at a time like this.

My thoughts - I do wonder why it took GWB so long to organise aid for the people stranded in New Orleans and other areas. Recently there was a russian sub in trouble off the Kamchatka peninsula but it wasn't 5 days before aid was organised. Yes, NO has been flooded but doesn't the US military have helicopters? And how did all the press get there so fast
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Old 09-04-2005, 12:31 AM   #22
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The press had satellite access and were already there (New Orleans has TV and radio stations, no?)

The reason the coordination was so lousy was because the government was reliant on communications from within. You can't call the state house, as a mayor, if your phone line is dead. You can't radio for the military if your cell phone tower was knocked over. You can't signal on a short-wave if you don't have electricity, or oil to keep your generator running.

They did have communication at first, then they lost it almost completely for a couple of days. I can even understand how they could say they didn't KNOW the convention center was filled with people. They had originally warned everyone to get OUT of the downtown area and head toward the Superbowl. They had to assume (since they had no other options at the time) - that the vast majority of people did that. They had no way of knowing - at that time - that people were going to the convention center.

The federal government had no way of knowing (at that time) that the state government told citizens to go to the convention center. They just weren't capable of communicating this, and most of those feds weren't watching CNN on TV - they were a little too busy trying to figure out what the heck was going on, and where, and with whom.

When they DID find out that those people were there, they had to do something. But they didn't think 3 days prior "Hey - we might get a hurricane tomorrow, that's currently a cat1 but will surely become a cat5,, so let's send a whole bunch of troops to the surrounding area so they can rescue a whole bunch of people we know will show up at the convention center.

They had no reason to know, they had no way to know, and by the time they found out, it was already chaos.

Hopefully people all over the country will learn from this - if the government orders a mandatory evacuation, even if they order one every freaking week for 2 years in a row - LEAVE. Don't say to yourself "Oh posh, we left every week for 2 years in a row and it hasn't been a big deal so far" - because you never know when it'll be the one you really should've left for.

I don't think any amount of pre-arrangements could've prevented the disaster. But the people themselves could've done things to prepare for themselves - because they had almost 24 hours notice and warning to get supplies, food, water, medicine. They knew this almost a full day in advance of the storm's arrival.

Some couldn't get out - elderly, infirm..but did the elderly and infirm all live secluded with no neighbors, no family members to prepare on their behalf? I mean - they knew they were living in sub-sea-level topography. They knew the levees weren't capable of handling anything over a cat3. And they knew a cat5 was on its way.

Regardless of Bush's brain-dead decision to reject funding for catastrophe planning in New Orleans a year prior - the people knew about this the day before the storm hit.
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Old 09-04-2005, 09:03 AM   #23
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I seriously doubt Bush is involved with the financial decisions on every single city in the US. Last time I checked the US wasn't the old Sovjet Union where you needed a signature to replace a light bulb.

There's this thing called responsibility, and whoever was in charge of New Orleans clearly messed up. The citizens of N.O. aren't exactly cooperating or helping out either. Of course it's nice to blame it all on the president.
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Old 09-04-2005, 09:43 AM   #24
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I'm not blaming it on Bush. My comment about Bush was just that - a comment. And yes, New Orleans DOES need Bush's signature to get *federal* funding. That's what Bush rejected. He rejected *federal* funding to the state of Louisiana a year ago (in June 2004) for the express purpose of researching and implementing improvements to New Orleans' disaster prevention/recovery program.

Bush was given the facts - that the levee system would only withstand a cat3. That sometimes hurricanes can top out at a cat5. That New Orleans is in the middle of hurricane territory. That New Orleans is almost entirely below sea level. That 1/3 of the entire country's oil has to pass through New Orleans before it gets to gas pumps in the rest of the states.

He knew the facts, and acted on them. At the time, Iraq was the "big project." So maybe he didn't feel it justified, after so many decades of no disasters, to pump funds into the New Orleans project. I'm not sure I would've made the same choice, if it were mine. Then again, I'm not sure I would've made a different one either. That's probably why I'm not the president

Edited to add: If I remember the articles correctly (I can't remember where I saw the links to verify) - the proposal last year was to allocate 12 million dollars - just to pay for the research, on the costs involved, in upgrading the system.

12 million bucks spent to find out how much it would cost. I have NO idea why it would cost that much, just to do research. I'm not an engineer, but my dad was, and in his entire career, he didn't make 12 million bucks combined, let alone for a single project. I'd assume his entire department where he worked might have made that much over the course of 10 years or so... but for a single project? Dayam!

But that's what was being requested, and that's what was rejected. If it were me, I would've asked for 50,000 and free cajun coffee.
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Old 09-04-2005, 03:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (mudnutx @ Sep. 03 2005,03:15)
I see the poor and black folks left behind in a living ####.
Just because they're black, doesn't mean they can't get a job.  I got a job, and I'm black.  I do know that many people are blaming the slowness of the government on the fact that many people there are of dark skin color, but I don't think they're right.  I'd like to think, that in this day and age, racism doesn't play such a strong part in everyday governmental activities.  Of course, I'm probably wrong, but unlike many other folks, I'm not so pessimistic.  

Now I'm not sure that someone in Australia can really make judgements about us Americans, and while you're right about some people, most of us are on a higher level than what you just described.
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Old 09-04-2005, 08:23 PM   #26
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Contractors mistakenly shot and killed by soldiers.

Yep. Let's keep on shootin' to kill. Especially when they are haulin' those plasma TV sets out of every Walmart. Matt/The Logos has shown immense wisdom in dealing with these lootin' scum-exuding pieces of walkin' trash who have been left behind in the Hurricane.
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Old 09-04-2005, 09:36 PM   #27
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You people are amazing.

I have been hanging about on these boards for a few years, never bothered posting a retort/response to the issues, just watched it roll by.  Now, I think I have to say something. I'll not post here about my political and personal beliefs, instead, I think I'll ask you all what on Earth you imagine 'fair' to be. People in New Orleans (and, let's remember, in *many, many* other places) are suffering as a result of a natural catastrophe. It happens across our lovely planet, from time to time. America has often claimed to be a very civilised country- and so we expect that they are better able to deal with crisis. I think that the last week- remember that it has only been seven days- has shown the world that through various causes (mismanagement, confusion, inablility to cope with 'unexpected' strains), even the most wealthy and 'ready' nations suffer.

What we have here is a natural disaster. When people compare its damage to the Boxing Day Tsunami, I think that they misjudge the situation. (I would like to add that Britain, not the US, offered the most aid for the Tsunami Relief fund. America took three weeks to catch up with British aid, and even then did not match the funds gathered UK-wide (per capita). Don't believe the hype! )

The tsunami washed quickly over a huge area, and then retreated, sweeping people/homes/villages and towns with it. The devastation was massive, but rebuilding was, in some ways, easier. Flooding stays.  The people affected by the latest hurricane have to regain themselves, with aid, and rebuild what that can of their ravaged cities and towns.

Do any of the people who have posted thus far believe that they are helping? If so, in what way? Do you feel that discussing this, and arguing, and throwing hateful terms about, is helping anyone?
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Old 09-04-2005, 09:56 PM   #28
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Well considering that the whole reason I started this thread was an attempt to help before the storm even hit, I'd say yeah - I'm helping. On page 3 I outlined some of the things I've already done, or are planning to do tomorrow once my state's offices open for the week. I also dropped off a small donation today at Petco, because they have a fund to help with one of the animal rescue projects down south.

I'm also riding my bicycle and walking instead of driving, whenever possible, to help in a -very- small way in using as little gasoline as I can, since we still have shortages until the refineries are all up and running again.

I'll also be going to the Salvation Army tomorrow before work (another need to drive, but it's worth it in this case) and dropping off around $500 worth of decent-condition clothing I've cleaned out of my closets. In addition I will ask them if they need volunteers to help pack boxes for deliveries to the south, or to homes that have taken in victims. People who are housing evacuees need help too, because they are shouldering a HUGE burden and shouldn't have to shoulder it alone.
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Old 09-04-2005, 10:12 PM   #29
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Well, I'm sorry, Jazuela, but isn't that stuff you should have been doing *anyway*? You say you've been donating clothing- good on you- but what do you normally do? And as far as biking or walking instead of driving, well, hells, is that unusual? I'm not having a go as such- just trying to point out that we- all of us- could do a feck site better than we do. If something 'special' comes up, we seem all-too-willing to donate money, time, effort to sort the unfortunates out. Ever wonder what we could do in the off-time (when most people are not affected by disaster, but peacefully starving to death, or unable to get fresh water?) ?

And before you all jump on me and say I'm clearly a communist/idiot/liberal, I'll add to the mix that I am a charity worker for a non-religious, well-known society that I cannot name here for obvious reasons. I have loaded lorries bound for Serbia, I have checked medicine packs for a relief effort in Somalia.
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Old 09-04-2005, 10:53 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (mudnutx @ Sep. 04 2005,20:23)
Contractors mistakenly shot and killed by soldiers.

Yep. Let's keep on shootin' to kill. Especially when they are haulin' those plasma TV sets out of every Walmart. Matt/The Logos has shown immense wisdom in dealing with these lootin' scum-exuding pieces of walkin' trash who have been left behind in the Hurricane.
AP was incorrect with their report. The contractors were shot at by 7 or 8 gunmen, the police shot and killed 5 of those gunmen.

There are savages roaming the streets, like packs of feral dogs. As it's been said - disasters bring out the best AND the worst in people.

And now there are people who are REFUSING to leave, while rescuers are trying to clear the city so they can drain it. Every single person who refuses is adding to the delays. They *cannot* move forward until the city is evacuated. I say - tell the people who refuse, that their homes are gonna get a black X painted on the roof, and any further attempts by those refusers to get out will be ignored. They had their chance, and they're holding up the entire recovery process with their stubbornness and stupidity. The few, holding what's left of the city hostage. It disgusts me. People clinging to their lives, begging to get out - and these fools are making a bad situation worse.

Let those who intentionally stand in the way of recovery rot.
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Old 09-04-2005, 11:07 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by (Sasca @ Sep. 04 2005,22:12)
Well, I'm sorry, Jazuela, but isn't that stuff you should have been doing *anyway*? You say you've been donating clothing- good on you- but what do you normally do? And as far as biking or walking instead of driving, well, hells, is that unusual? I'm not having a go as such- just trying to point out that we- all of us- could do a feck site better than we do. If something 'special' comes up, we seem all-too-willing to donate money, time, effort to sort the unfortunates out. Ever wonder what we could do in the off-time (when most people are not affected by disaster, but peacefully starving to death, or unable to get fresh water?) ?

And before you all jump on me and say I'm clearly a communist/idiot/liberal, I'll add to the mix that I am a charity worker for a non-religious, well-known society that I cannot name here for obvious reasons. I have loaded lorries bound for Serbia, I have checked medicine packs for a relief effort in Somalia.
I normally donate my clothing to a local organization, because the Salvation Army -usually- sells the clothing we bring there, and I prefer to give my used clothing away than see it sold. In this situation, I am confident that the donations will go to the Katrina efforts.

It is unusual because I am disabled, and usually drive the mile to work because walking and/or riding my bike is difficult for me. And groceries are too heavy to carry home when I'm walking, so I'm making two trips instead of one.

I don't know why it makes any difference to you whatsoever what I do with my time, energy, and money, outside of this situation with the hurricane. This thread is about efforts to help the south rebuild, before, during, and after the hurricane hit. I know it doesn't matter to me if you climb the Himilayas every year to rescue lost shephards in blizzards. It has nothing to do with this.
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Old 09-05-2005, 02:21 AM   #32
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Jazuela,

I've been thinking about you a lot the last 3 days. I've intentionally stayed off this board, because I knew that going off on you is NOT helpful. Like some alluded to, sitting here and typing judgments of others morals and ethics is NOT helpful, and I apologize. Like you, I have been finding alternative ways to try and help instead.

I've written mid-term suggestion emails to the President, MSNBC, FoxNews, my congresspersons, the Missouri state Governor, and a few other media and political outlets (i.e. FEMA). I don't know if anyone is listening: I doubt Bush has time to read my emails. *grins* I, too, have been finding ways to walk more and conserve gasoline, and it's pretty sad that it's taken yet ANOTHER crisis to make me do that.

I talked about what I felt in my earlier post...you know what I feel the *most*? Helplessness.

There is NOT much I can do to actually 'help' this situation. That's why I started writing my ideas in emails to people who have the financial power and clout to possibly implement some of them. It was maybe a useless gesture, but like you, I think getting ideas to the people who can implement them is not a 'bad' thing to do. You've given a great list of other ways individuals who are geographically distant from the massive devastation sites to actually feel like they are helping. Survivor guilt...I've learned what that phrase means, from 9/11, to the tsunami, to this.

Somewhere between 80k-95k square miles have been devastated in this hurricane. Two fairly major U.S. cities have been decimated (N.O. and Biloxi), along with an unimaginable number of rural communities.

One thing that strikes me a lot here is: when did we stop being "the home of the Brave" in the U.S. ? Some of the 'slowness' of the response (and, 'slow' to me is QUITE arguable...response resources are finite, the scope of the devastation here is more than even the U.S. could have been expected to immediately respond to) was due to people being unwilling to go into 'unsecured' areas, such as the convention center. On one hand, I can understand that...nobody wants to die. On the other hand, it makes me *so* sad that people were not willing to take the risk to help out their neighbors. My hope is that the news media IS sensationalizing that reaction at this point...and that more stories of individual bravery will come out as time passes.

My attitudes have shifted somewhat because of this disaster. I've never wanted to own a gun before: now...I am seriously considering purchasing both a shotgun and a handgun. I've never refreshed my CPR training, since 8th grade. I believe I will look for a Red Cross course on that sometime this fall. I've never wanted a vocation in the health profession, but now, I'm considering some kind of medical training, whether it is CNA or EMT or something. You know why these things changed? I realize now...if this ever happens in my neck of the woods, a serious crisis, it is entirely probable that nobody will be able to come to my aid. Self-sufficiency, self- and family-protection, and the ability to be a first responder are some personal imperatives to me now...where I never felt a need for them in the past.

There is so much I want to write, so much I want to say about this sitation. I wish I had started off on a better foot in this thread... though I stand behind my statements on many levels, the tone was out of line and I'm sorry for taking my frustration and anger out on you personally, Jazuela. I *do* understand that we can only do what we can do, and Threshold is right, it's not right to tell other people what they 'should' be doing.

With reflection and much prayer,
Earthmother
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Old 09-05-2005, 07:20 AM   #33
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Earthmother, Sep. 05 2005,02:21
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I've never wanted to own a gun before: now...I am seriously considering purchasing both a shotgun and a handgun.

I think this is the scariest and most depressive statement so far in this very depressing thread.

There are many parallels between the New Orleans tragedy and  the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia.
Both were natural catastrophes, made worse by human short-sightedness, greed and neglect.

In Southeast Asia the natural mangrove vegetation which might have protected the coasts, had been eradicated, and hotels and other facilities for mass tourism were erected in the most vulnerable spots, directly on the shoaling beaches.  A warning system for earthquakes and tsunamis could have saved thousands of lives, even if it wouldn’t have stopped the material disaster.

Large parts of New Orleans was built below water level and the protective walls were inadequate. This was a well known fact for the authorities, who had requested federal funding for repairs. The requests were denied, even though it was also well known that New Orleans was situated in the main path of tropical  hurricanes, and that the protection walls wouldn’t withstand a level 5 hurricane.

In both cases total chaos ensued, the authorities seemed unable to handle the situation, or even grasp the extent of it, for several days, although mass media were quickly in place and continuously issued updated reports every hour over international TV channels.

But there are also many differences:
The tsunami came totally unexpected for everyone, including the authorities. The countries affected were mostly small, poor and underdeveloped, and many parts of the archipelago were very isolated. The catastrophe also affected several different countries, which made communication harder. A large number of the victims were tourists from several other countries, which lead to further complications with the need for medical care and the assessment of the victims.

The American authorities knew about the hurricane and its magnitude several days ahead, in fact the magnitude turned out to be a bit less than predicted. And yet the best they could come up with was to tell all inhabitants to evacuate the city. Then those who obeyed the directives were left to rot without food, water or other facilities for several days, on highways and in ballparks, because the authorities supposedly didn’t know where to look for them. And why wasn’t the National Guard called in _before_ the hurricane struck, to strengthen the walls?

But here comes the really scary part:
In the underdeveloped 3rd world countries the local inhabitants, who had lost all their worldly possessions, were reported by the world press to selflessly share what little they had left with the tourists. There might have been some cases of looting, but I don’t remember any, (and I did follow those reports closely and continuously, since my country was one of the hardest affected from the disaster. Instead, as a direct result of the catastrophe, a 20 year long armed and bloody conflict in the Aceh province of Sumatra was resolved and a peace treaty was signed, because both sides realised that political differences must stand back for the greater needs.

But in USA, the world’s richest and supposedly most developed democracy, armed looters fire at rescue helicopters and contractors. And the National Guard has orders to ‘shoot to kill’, cheered on by several posters on this thread. Already several innocent lives have been lost because of this policy being carried out.

And now Earthmother, one of the nicest posters on this board, draws the conclusion that maybe she should go out and buy herself some guns, because everyone needs to protect themselves in times of distress.

Did it ever occur to any of you that the insanely liberal gun laws of USA might be part of the problem? Did it ever occur to any of you that the vast social differences and the policy of ‘Self-sufficiency, self- and family-protection' might be part of the problem?

I don’t usually bash USA. But instead of bringing out the best in people, like the tsunami did, this disaster seems to have brought out the worst.
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Old 09-05-2005, 09:15 AM   #34
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It's hard, isn't it? To sit in our comfy homes with electricty and running water and watch vidclip after vidclip of devestation in our own back yard. Knowing that as "individual citizens" there is very little we can do, in a direct, active way. I found out I wouldn't be allowed to go to New Orleans, because I lack the training and I am not qualified (you have to be capable of lifting 70 pounds). I would just end up being in the way, regardless of my intentions.

So it's up to us, as individual citizens, to take a step back (since we already ARE back)...toss our emotional reactions to the side if only for an hour or two. Force logic to kick in. And then look again and see what needs to be done from a distance, and where we can fit in to this scene.

Maybe it's how I'm hardwired that makes me think (and write) differently. When faced with crisis, I get weird. The entire scope of the crisis smacks me in the face. I see every single freaking side of the whole thing all at that same time, in a split second, and I have to remove layer upon layer upon layer of data from my brain until all that's left is me, and what I can do about it.

Only after I've done this process (which I'm learning here through your replies is not normal), can I blast out my emotions. Kinda like one of my recent posts where I said if anyone -refuses- to evacuate at this point, to let them rot in their homes.

Harsh, yes. But I could've worded it prettier - sugar-coated it, and said the exact same thing in a different way and I probably would've gotten a bunch of "heck yeah!" posts in response.

As for guns - not for me. I'm a coward and a pacifist to the extreme, and I'd let someone beat the living crap out of me before I ever raised a hand to another person. It's not a moral issue for me. I -should- fight back. I just don't have it in me to do it. And so - I won't be getting a gun to protect myself or my family, "just in case." Guns creep me out and I won't allow one to be in my home. It also isn't the solution. Remember..

All those people had almost a full 24 hours notice to leave. If they were unable, they could've arranged with their neighbors, friends, families. They had time to do this. I wouldn't wish what happened to the victims of the violence on anyone, no one "deserves" it.

But the only people they had control over was themselves. And for whatever reason, they chose inaction, and now they are seeing the results. People who are normally law-abiding citizens killing others with guns, robbing abandoned homes of jewelry in the middle of a 20-foot flood-filled city..with no open pawnshops to sell it to...there's no logic in what happened to -those- looters. Plenty of logic to the junkies who did the same thing - junkies will do anything for a fix, and will do even worse once they realize a fix isn't coming.

Rapes, attacking and shooting rescuers, theft of non-essentials, hoarding of essentials while their neighbors who didn't evacuate when the first orders came before the storm sit on rooftops dying of thirst...this is what's left of New Orleans. This is what those people have been reduced to, regardless of whether or not they were like that in the first place. That's what's left now.

And that image is why I feel as I feel about the whole thing. Help where help will actually do some good. And just forget the rest, it'll take care of itself. Tragic, sad, cold-hearted and horrible to consider - but that is the reality of it, and no amount of sugar-coating will change it.
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Old 09-05-2005, 05:14 PM   #35
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Sinuhe,

Heh! (Thanks for the vote of confidence *smiles*). On the gun thing: I was raised in the Midwest here in the U.S...guns are a very ingrained part of life in this area. Hunting is very common, as is the idea of 'defending the homestead'. As an adult, I chose to actually reject those ideas, ideas I'd been brought up to believe in deeply, in favor of pacifism and gun control, for the common good. I made the choice to trust my governments, to believe in the system to protect me, and to rely on them, that I would not *need* to hunt for my own food or defend my own home with firearms. I have mixed feelings on guns, and until now, I had chosen what I consider a more community-minded approach to them.

Now, I realize that I can't count on my governments.

Your post was actually pretty inspiring: it is awesome to hear that civil strife was avoided because people DID put aside the petty stuff in favor of the greater good.

Maybe my money would be better spent on a battery-powered bullhorn, rather than guns. I think that maybe if someone had used one in the large shelters, and told people what to do and how they could help eachother rather than just everyone sitting passively by waiting for help to come...the conditions wouldn't have worsened quite so rapidly. I wish the U.S. could respond more positively to crises; figuring out how to do so on both an individual and collective level is frustrating and in some ways, heartbreaking. Wanting a gun is a knee-jerk reaction on my part...I'll put several months more thought into it before I take such a drastic step. In truth, the time and money I'd spend on a gun could probably be put to a much better use.
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:22 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Sep. 04 2005,09:43)
I'm not blaming it on Bush. My comment about Bush was just that - a comment. And yes, New Orleans DOES need Bush's signature to get *federal* funding. That's what Bush rejected. He rejected *federal* funding to the state of Louisiana a year ago (in June 2004) for the express purpose of researching and implementing improvements to New Orleans' disaster prevention/recovery program.
Is it absolutely necessary to act like the election cycle never ends?

Do we really have to play petty politics ceaselessly?

I cannot wait for the Bush presidency to end just so I can stop hearing him mentioned as the cause of every problem or the reason behind every solution. Of course, whoever comes next will probably get treated the same way, so I am not terribly hopeful that things will improve.
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Old 09-05-2005, 09:34 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by (Threshold @ Sep. 05 2005,20:22)
Is it absolutely necessary to act like the election cycle never ends?

Do we really have to play petty politics ceaselessly?

I cannot wait for the Bush presidency to end just so I can stop hearing him mentioned as the cause of every problem or the reason behind every solution. Of course, whoever comes next will probably get treated the same way, so I am not terribly hopeful that things will improve.
I couldn't agree more, Threshold. Most people treat political parties like football teams. Whenever the Republicans do something that might be considered a failure, the Democrats will jump on them. And whenever the Democrats do something that might be considered a failure, the Republicans will jump on them.

Can't we just give this up and focus on what's happening in New Orleans instead of what's happening in Washington?
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Old 09-06-2005, 06:47 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by (Earthmother @ Aug. 31 2005,11:28)
[/SAAARCASM ON]

Yes, judging from what I'm watching on the news, all those people CHOSE to stay there. They all look quite wealthy and well-off, like they could afford to hop on a jet and just get on outta there. They all look like they have family all over the place they could have gone to stay with, and the homes they chose to stay in definitely look like typical summer resorts. I'm pretty sure they all had the special FEMA-offered-only flood insurance that is so easy to come by, and are just waiting around for their checks.  

As for the looting, oh, well, I'm sure they'll all be SO wealthy from those wet Nikes they're making it out of there with. I'm sure the rafts, the foodstuffs, the juice and water off the shelves of stores that are going to be a complete loss in 3 days anyhow are just going to waste, and those people who just lost everything they know are only doing that out of greed. I haven't seen a SINGLE little kid caught down in there.

[/Sarcasm off]

Jazuela, normally, I have every respect for you on these boards. Your opinion is one I generally value. This time, however, your judgmental attitude toward people in crisis makes me completely sick. I can *somewhat* see where you are coming from, but to me, that doesn't make a lick of difference, whether they 'chose' to stay or not. There are enough folks down there who HAD NO CHOICE that just seeing you justify inaction because you don't want to help those you deem morally 'lesser' makes me sick.

Put yourself in those looters' shoes (so to speak). Poor to begin with, no transportation out of the city, no way to pay for a hotel stay of unknown duration, no family to go stay with, and now, no electricity, no food, no water. I doubt most of them had cupboards full of food to begin with, and now, the entire cupboards are gone. I wonder how many of them even HAVE any basic insurance, let alone flood insurance.

Did you donate to tsunami relief? Does it bother you that some of the people in the affected area MIGHT be terrorists? That they looted? Do you *know* if they did or not? How about 9/11 families? Think any of those people MIGHT have ever committed a white-collar crime? Think any of their spouses benefitted from it?

How you can sit here, with internet access, and judge those who have just lost everything they know, people who, all they HAVE now is *what* they are looting out of stores, without showing the slightest bit of compassion, is BEYOND ME. Do you think they and their stolen Nikes are going to make it OUT of N.O.? Not on any rescue transportation mode I can think of. That stuff will sit there, left behind anyhow.

Justifying not helping just because the people on the receiving end of it MIGHT not be up to your moral and ethical standards...that's a pretty slick way to go. That way, you never have to help ANYONE.  

[/sending off the pittance she can afford to the Red Cross, no matter WHO's on the receiving end.]
Yeah I have to agree with Earthmother. I'm sure those children weren't terroists, Yeah 9/11 might be terroists, but how about that 2, eh?
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:26 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Sep. 05 2005,09:15)
It's hard, isn't it? To sit in our comfy homes with electricty and running water and watch vidclip after vidclip of devestation in our own back yard. Knowing that as "individual citizens" there is very little we can do, in a direct, active way. I found out I wouldn't be allowed to go to New Orleans, because I lack the training and I am not qualified (you have to be capable of lifting 70 pounds). I would just end up being in the way, regardless of my intentions.

So it's up to us, as individual citizens, to take a step back (since we already ARE back)...toss our emotional reactions to the side if only for an hour or two. Force logic to kick in. And then look again and see what needs to be done from a distance, and where we can fit in to this scene.

Maybe it's how I'm hardwired that makes me think (and write) differently. When faced with crisis, I get weird. The entire scope of the crisis smacks me in the face. I see every single freaking side of the whole thing all at that same time, in a split second, and I have to remove layer upon layer upon layer of data from my brain until all that's left is me, and what I can do about it.

Only after I've done this process (which I'm learning here through your replies is not normal), can I blast out my emotions. Kinda like one of my recent posts where I said if anyone -refuses- to evacuate at this point, to let them rot in their homes.

Harsh, yes. But I could've worded it prettier - sugar-coated it, and said the exact same thing in a different way and I probably would've gotten a bunch of "heck yeah!" posts in response.

As for guns - not for me. I'm a coward and a pacifist to the extreme, and I'd let someone beat the living crap out of me before I ever raised a hand to another person. It's not a moral issue for me. I -should- fight back. I just don't have it in me to do it. And so - I won't be getting a gun to protect myself or my family, "just in case." Guns creep me out and I won't allow one to be in my home. It also isn't the solution. Remember..

All those people had almost a full 24 hours notice to leave. If they were unable, they could've arranged with their neighbors, friends, families. They had time to do this. I wouldn't wish what happened to the victims of the violence on anyone, no one "deserves" it.

But the only people they had control over was themselves. And for whatever reason, they chose inaction, and now they are seeing the results. People who are normally law-abiding citizens killing others with guns, robbing abandoned homes of jewelry in the middle of a 20-foot flood-filled city..with no open pawnshops to sell it to...there's no logic in what happened to -those- looters. Plenty of logic to the junkies who did the same thing - junkies will do anything for a fix, and will do even worse once they realize a fix isn't coming.

Rapes, attacking and shooting rescuers, theft of non-essentials, hoarding of essentials while their neighbors who didn't evacuate when the first orders came before the storm sit on rooftops dying of thirst...this is what's left of New Orleans. This is what those people have been reduced to, regardless of whether or not they were like that in the first place. That's what's left now.

And that image is why I feel as I feel about the whole thing. Help where help will actually do some good. And just forget the rest, it'll take care of itself. Tragic, sad, cold-hearted and horrible to consider - but that is the reality of it, and no amount of sugar-coating will change it.
Yeah, let's just stay in our comfy chairs, and play muds.
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:49 AM   #40
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Ilkidarios Posted on Sep. 05 2005,21:34
Quote:
Originally Posted by

Quote (Threshold @ Sep. 05 2005,20:22)
Is it absolutely necessary to act like the election cycle never ends?

Do we really have to play petty politics ceaselessly?

I cannot wait for the Bush presidency to end just so I can stop hearing him mentioned as the cause of every problem or the reason behind every solution. Of course, whoever comes next will probably get treated the same way, so I am not terribly hopeful that things will improve.

I couldn't agree more, Threshold.  Most people treat political parties like football teams.  Whenever the Republicans do something that might be considered a failure, the Democrats will jump on them.  And whenever the Democrats do something that might be considered a failure, the Republicans will jump on them.
'Petty politics?' Petty? This isn't really about politics, it's about local and federal incompetence and negligence.
If a democratic government had handled the disaster in an equally disastrous way, they would have received the same blame that is now directed at the republican administration.

The authorities knew, years ahead, that the protection walls of New Orleans were inadequate and that there was a very distinctive risk of large parts of the city getting flooded.
They knew several days ahead that the hurricane was going to hit the city.
You could even deduct that they knew that the walls would break. After all, you don't tell the inhabitants of a million people city to evacuate their homes, unless you have a pretty good idea that something devastating is about to happen.

So since the authorities had the knowledge and forewarning; why the blundering and delay?
Why weren't the walls repaired, when it first became obvious that they were at the risk of breaking? Why wait until the city is flooded, when the costs will be hundreds of times higher?
Why wasn't the evacuation at least organised properly, with transportation and facilities waiting for the evacuees?
Why wasn't the National Guard called in to supervise the evacuation, stop the looting and uphold the peace _before_ the hurricane struck, instead of several days after?
Why were fugitives left to die from lack of food, water, medicine and shelter in the very places they were instructed to go to?
Why did the president of USA feel that he had other more pressing engagements than taking care of the biggest national disaster since September 11th?
And why is this same president now proposing to lead the commission that is supposed to answer these and other questions?

This isn't about what the Republicans 'did', it is more about what they didn't do, and why.

Jazuela @ Sep. 05 2005,09:15
Quote:
Originally Posted by
All those people had almost a full 24 hours notice to leave. If they were unable, they could've arranged with their neighbors, friends, families. They had time to do this.
/snip/
And for whatever reason, they chose inaction, and now they are seeing the results.
In the light of the government inactivity, it seems a bit cheap to blame the locals for 'choosing' inaction.
They obviously didn't get any help from the authorities, apart from the order to evacuate. They probably didn't expect any help either. Apparently a large percentage of the inhabitants were extremely poor. Maybe they didn't have TV or internet access? Maybe they didn't have any money, or any friends or family outside the disaster area to go to? Maybe they felt that they didn't have anything to lose? And in the cases of people that did have something to lose, maybe they even made the conscious choice of staying, to protect their homes against the looters that seem to be ever present when there is a crisis in USA?
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