09-06-2005, 12:11 PM #1
Here's another Hurricane perspective.
Something to think about
An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State
An Objectivist Review
by Robert Tracinski | The Intellectual Activist
September 2, 2005
It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.
If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.
Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.
But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.
The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.
The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.
The man-made disaster is the welfare state.
For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.
When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).
So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?
To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story <http://tinyurl.com/auyju> :
"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.
"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....
"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.
"'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "
The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.
What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?
Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?
My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished <http://tinyurl.com/9hu4u> .)
What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.
There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.
All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.
No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail <http://tinyurl.com/ah5j7> , by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.
The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.
Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005
09-06-2005, 12:37 PM #2
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09-06-2005, 03:18 PM #3
I couldnt agree with you more!!!!!! They should take the evacuees and give them jobs rebuilding the city they live in!!!!!!!!! The problem would be that most of them will turn down the jobs (for one reason or another) and want to continue letting the Govmnt pay them and the other cities house them!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lazy fukers
09-06-2005, 03:53 PM #4
09-06-2005, 03:53 PM #5
09-06-2005, 04:23 PM #6
Indeed, quite interesting... it's a perspective I do not disagree with.
09-06-2005, 04:28 PM #7
I found this very interesting too:
New Orleans disaster plan excerpts
Lee Young has looked into the disaster planning on record for New Orleans. Here is what he writes:
With the scope of the disaster becoming more evident with each passing hour, the critique of this event will undoubtedly focus on whether there has been a failure in planning or execution ..... or both ..... or that the cost of preparing for a natural disaster of this type is financially prohibitive or exceeds a pre-disaster cost /benefit ratio. The attached excerpts from the City of New Orleans Emergency Plan clearly identifies significant responsibility for local officials. Did city officials educate the residents of New Orleans about the provisions of the plan? Does this plan take into account the socio-economic/special needs of the residents? Did the city open special needs shelters provided for in the plan? Was the mandatory evacuation ordered soon enough?
This disaster has been forecast for decades so there will be plenty of blame for all levels of government ..... much like the 9/11 Commission Reported following that catastrophe ..... the devastation was predictable.
Excerpts City of New Orleans Emergency Plan [With emphasis added]
Message from Mayor C. Ray Nagin
Dear Parish Residents,
The safety and well-being of the citizens of New Orleans is my greatest priority. For this reason, our Office of Emergency Preparedness has prepared this Guide to help individuals during times of natural or man-made disaster ...... Our City, due to its central gulf location, is one of the most vulnerable in America to the furies of a hurricane. Heavy rains, because of our topography, can and do cause severe flooding ..... This, our second annual update, serves that purpose. But, like any good tool, it is useless unless read and acted upon. Its place is not on a shelf gathering dust, but in an easily accessible family emergency kit where it can be used ......
C. Ray Nagin
..... The Office of Emergency Preparedness is responsible for the response and coordination of those actions needed to protect the lives and property of its citizens from natural or man-made disasters as well as emergency planning for the City of New Orleans. Our primary responsibility is to advise the Mayor, the City Council and Chief Administrative Officer regarding emergency preparedness activities and operations. We coordinate all city departments and allied state and federal agencies which respond to city-wide disasters and emergencies through the development and constant updating of an integrated multi-hazard plan. All requests for federal disaster assistance and federal funding subsequent to disaster declarations are also made through this office.....
Hurricane protection levees have been built in many coastal communities, especially the New Orleans area, to protect life and property from storm surge. While these levees do a very good job in protecting communities during minimal hurricanes, sophisticated computer modeling of storm surge effects indicate most levees in southeast Louisiana would be overtopped from the storm surge generated by a direct strike by a major hurricane. The result would be widespread flooding......
Even if you live behind hurricane protection levees, you may be asked to evacuate, as most levees can be overtopped by the storm surge generated from a powerful hurricane's direct strike....
..... CATEGORY 4. EXTREME DAMAGE
More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof failure on homes occur. Major damage is caused to lower floors of homes and businesses from storm surge flooding. Terrain continuously lower than 15 feet above mean sea level is flooded.
CATEGORY 5. CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE
There is complete roof failure of many homes and businesses as well as complete building failure of many small structures. Major storm surge flooding to lower floors of buildings located less than 20 feet above mean sea level occurs.
..... MANDATORY EVACUATION
This is the final, most serious phase of evacuation. Authorities will put maximum emphasis on encouraging evacuation and limiting entry into the risk area. The State Office of Emergency Preparedness, State Police, State Department of Transportation and The Louisiana National Guard will assume coordination and responsibility for traffic control on all major evacuation routes .....
Additional Guideline for Persons with Disabilities .....
Before the Disaster
There are several important things that can be done in order to reduce the effects of a disaster:
1. Make sure you have a support system in place.
2.Complete your individual personal assessment and prepare your individual disaster plan.
3. Gather the supplies you will need before, during and after a disaster. Make sure the supplies are specific to your disability.
4. Make sure your residence is as safe as possible in the event of an emergency.
Remember, preparedness must begin with you.
A support system, sometimes called the “buddy system,” can help you prepare for a disaster as well as during and after a disaster. Members of your support system, or “buddies”, can be roommates, relatives, neighbors, friends, and co-workers. They should be people you trust to determine if you need assistance. Your support system members should know your capabilities and needs, and be able to help in a matter of minutes.
1. Have your “buddies” assist you in preparing a written personal assessment.
2. Give your support system copies of your emergency information list, medical information list, disability related supplies and special equipment list, evacuation plans, any emergency documents and your personal disaster plan.
3. Arrange for your support system to check on you immediately if local officials give an evacuation order or if a disaster occurs.
4. Agree on the methods of communication to be used during a disaster.
5. Give your “buddies” any keys they need for your place of residence or vehicle.
6. Make sure your support system knows how to operate and transport any equipment specific to your disability. Make sure it is labeled and laminated instruction cards are attached.
7. If you have a service animal, insure that the animal is familiar with your support system members and have written instructions on any care the animal may require.
8. Review and update your personal assessment and disaster plan with your support system on a regular basis. “Practice your plan”.
Special Needs Shelter Plan
City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
The shelter is intended for individuals who have no other resources and who need assistance that cannot be guaranteed in a regular shelter, i.e. medication that requires refrigeration, oxygen equipment, etc.The Special Needs Shelter (SNS) will only be activated by the Mayor of New Orleans or his designee.Entrance into the SNS does not relieve any individual of the responsibility for their own care.Admission into the Shelter is NOT TO BE INTERPRETED AS A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY, and the City of New Orleans is not assuring anyone protection from harm within the facilities that are being offered or opened for this purpose.
It is critical that everyone understands that this shelter will not be able to substitute for the comforts of the individuals' homes, and that all equipment and special furniture, which are normally used, may not be able to accompany them.It is recommended that all persons with special medical needs and/or their responsible family members develop a viable plan for transportation out of the community to a community that will be able to give long term assistance.The potential exists that New Orleans could be without sufficient supplies to meet the needs of persons with special considerations, and there is significant risk being taken by those individuals who decide to remain in these refuges of last resort.The plan is intended to identify the mechanics of establishing a SNS and when it shall be activated.
There's much more at the link.
09-06-2005, 04:31 PM #8
09-06-2005, 04:36 PM #9
In all honesty, I don't think something like a Cat-5 hurricane can be "preplanned" for. Not by individuals, and not by governments.
The best one can hope is that an organisation like FEMA (government) and the RedCross (civilian) is there to pick up the pieces at best it can after ths shît hit the fan.
09-06-2005, 05:12 PM #10
NEW ORLEANS FLASHBACK: OFFICALS WARNED RESIDENTS 'YOU'LL BE ON YOUR OWN'
Mon Sep 05 2005 18:57:15 ET
Before residents had ever heard the words "Hurricane Katrina," the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE ran a story warning residents: If you stay behind during a big storm, you'll be on your own!
Editors at TIMES-PICAYUNE on Monday called for every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be fired. In an open letter to President Bush, the paper said: "Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame."
But the TIMES-PICAYUNE published a story on July 24, 2005 stating: City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give a historically blunt message: "In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."
Staff writer Bruce Nolan reported some 7 weeks before Katrina: "In scripted appearances being recorded now, officials such as Mayor Ray Nagin, local Red Cross Executive Director Kay Wilkins and City Council President Oliver Thomas drive home the word that the city does not have the resources to move out of harm's way an estimated 134,000 people without transportation."
"In the video, made by the anti-poverty agency Total Community Action, they urge those people to make arrangements now by finding their own ways to leave the city in the event of an evacuation.
"You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you," Wilkins said in an interview. "If you have some room to get that person out of town, the Red Cross will have a space for that person outside the area. We can help you."
09-06-2005, 10:27 PM #11
thats a def diff view point
09-07-2005, 06:51 AM #12
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09-07-2005, 07:05 AM #13early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose.
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