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The un-reported story..........

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Sep 02, 2005
    by Robert Tracinski
    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:

    "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

    " '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

    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.)

    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

    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, 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

    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.
  2. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I saw that already, and it won't matter. The idiots have already formed a Congressional commitee who will now pull people off of their jobs to come up with a politized, predetermined outcome (Bush's fault). Disgusting.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    That article is the first cogent collection I've seen. It should get wider dissemination. I am sending it to a number of folks.
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