One Honest Journalist's perspective on NO

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Bunyon, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. Bunyon

    Bunyon
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    Subject: The Real Problem


    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 ove r

    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 sm all 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 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 furth er

    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.)


    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 phases

    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 eva cuated 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, 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 away 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, 200





    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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  2. Pipedude

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    Excellent analysis.

    But it contradicts the Party line. Poverty caused those fine people to become mean, and you caused the poverty.

    You are to report to the re-education camp by Monday, 8 AM.
     
  3. Brother Ian

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    Excellent analysis of the problems. I'm sure though, that the liberals and left wingers will blame President Bush for their poverty.
     
  4. mioque

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    Look 4 IGNORANT Americans for the price of one in one thread!!!!!!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Natural disasters caused by flooding happen in Western-Europe all the time.
    All of Western-Europe is Welfare State and far more so than the USA is.
    Wild West orgies like we see in NO have never happened overhere after a disaster since the introduction of the Welfare State.
     
  5. Bunyon

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    mioque,

    I think the "welfare state" is quite another animal in europe. Welfair is only available to a few here. And it is much more than just free medical care. Although I am aware of what you mean, I have never seen any simularities. But you are right their is more to it. Also, overall, judging eropeans on their current state of Christianity and Values, I would have to say that your type of welfare has not been good for you at all, in fact I would say Europe is an unmitigated "values" disaster area. I don't think I would trade with you. And besides, I don't think Europe has seen flooding on this scale. THis was a whole major US city underwater.
     
  6. Pipedude

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    What's your analysis, if this one doesn't impress you?
     
  7. mioque

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    Bunyon
    "I think the "welfare state" is quite another animal in europe."
    "
    I suspect it's much more extensive here.

    "And it is much more than just free medical care."
    "
    Just like overhere.

    "And besides, I don't think Europe has seen flooding on this scale. THis was a whole major US city underwater. "
    "
    Every couple of years a major city basically get's flooded somewhere on this continent.
    But you are right in a sense, it has been a while since floodmanagement got botched overhere as badly as just happened in the US.
    The impact of a flood like this can lessened by the sort of effective flood management that was absent this time in New Orleans.
    If there is a real risk of a major flood in let's say the German Ruhrgebiet. People get evacuated beforehand, levees are strengthened beforehand, areas have been created that can savely be temporarely sacrificed to the water beforehand, etc.

    Pipedude
    "What's your analysis, if this one doesn't impress you? "
    "
    If I must.
    Let's compare it to a worse disaster the recent tsunami. People in Atjeh acted on the whole more civilized shortly after the disaster. According to a journalist who was in both locations, the big difference was that most locals in Atjeh accepted the disaster as part of God's will and that rage was the general response amongst a great many folks in NO.
    Many citizens of NO seem uncapable to accept the existance of disasters when they enter their lives, so they lash out at any target they can find.
     
  8. Bunyon

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    Monique,

    I think you missed my point. The welfare you are describing is not "welfare" it is socialism. That is quite a different thing. Here we have welfare that is only available to a few. Think about it!

    Did you know that the old NO did not get flooded or very damaged. The problems is the growth of the city sprawled into the flood zone over the years. That would not be the FED Gov's fault, that would be the City Govs Fault. If they wanted to spread out like that they should have planned for the consequences like you say. The crazy thing is, we got plenty of land here. It is not a necessity like it is in Holland. And bulding cities below sea level is unique to NO and not common like it is in Holland. So Lets put the blame on the city of NO where it should be.

    You are pointing out that the Tsunami victims acted differently. Could it be the welfare makes the difference? Remember, our welfare is nothing like your socialism. And remember, you Europeans are the folks who will bring us the Antichrist. I think your socialism and lack of self suffiency is the spring board that will bring him here. Not to mention the countries of Europe each have less than 20 percent Church attendance. If that is the result of your "welfare" you can keep it. One day you Europeans will just want someone to take care of you, and you wont have enough self suffiency to care if it is the Antichrist.

    And remember, We are the ones who got your European butts out of the sling twice.

    [ September 09, 2005, 10:03 PM: Message edited by: Bunyon ]
     
  9. mioque

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    Bunyon
    "Could it be the welfare makes the difference?"
    "
    I would say that Islam was a bigger difference, that's a religion with a strong component of accepting 'Acts of God' as they come. To a certain extend they were at peace with what happened.
    I see a somewhat similar attitude among a great many (non-Islamic) people in my country, when disaster strikes. They may wallow in selfpity, do the whole "Why God, why?!" thing, show the sort of stoïcism that would have made Seneca proud, or display an Islam-like fatalism, but they don't get enraged at the universe to the point that they go around raping and pillaging.
    On top of that, a lot of the looters were probably very poor, so poor that they could not flee, so poor that they could not buy lot's of stuff they could easily steal now. There is this whole, "I thought I was doomed but this is a golden opportunity" thing going as well.
     
  10. mioque

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    Bunyon
    "That would not be the FED Gov's fault, that would be the City Govs Fault."
    "
    In the Netherlands which has first rate Flood Management, most longterm stuff (like protecting the uiterwaarden which have the same function as the wetlands around NO) is done by the Waterschappen. Those are part of the local government, below the city governments in fact. Only when a truly big project is needed will it move up the chain of command to the provincial (in the US that would be county level), or national (in the US that would be state level) government.
     
  11. Bunyon

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    You missed my point again. Old NO was built on the high ground. It has been there for 200 years, and it did not flood or sustain much damage. One bar, Pat O'Briens, did not even close. The areas that were flooded are modern developments. So the verious modern city govs are responsible for that. The state and fed gov have no say in how a city spreds itself out.

    I think American Chritianity has just as much of a God's will attitude. Those folks were not that poor, perhaps by a western world standard, but not by a worldwide standard. Even on welfare, they are rich compared to most in the world. There can be no excuse for the rampant raping, murdering, and looting. But that is my point. Welfare, breeds such behavior. These were welfare people. Most Americans are not. Wellfare, not socialism.

    Monique- "but they don't get enraged at the universe to the point that they go around raping and pillaging."

    You should go live on the West Bank or Gaza Strip for a while, or visit the site of the World Trade Center.
     
  12. mioque

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    "So Lets put the blame on the city of NO where it should be."
    "
    Did I blame any American branch of government in particular? I think not.

    "Remember, our welfare is nothing like your socialism."
    "
    There is no real difference, pay outs are somewhat more generous overhere, but that's a difference of degree not a completely different system.

    "you Europeans are the folks who will bring us the Antichrist."
    "
    You wish.
    It could be, but look around the globe Bible in hand, plenty of other spots on earth where he could get his start.

    "If that is the result of your "welfare" you can keep it."
    "
    Was I defending the European Welfare State in this thread? No, I only pointed out that in NO case Welfare did not cause the disaster after the disaster.
     
  13. Bunyon

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    Many evangelical scholar's believe that Daniels prophecy predicts a revival of the Holy Roman Empire and the Antichrist will come out of it. But anyway, I was just getting you back for the Ignorant American comment [​IMG]

    Only A relatively few Americans are on welfare, and for a limited amount of time. Europeans are socilistic. We view welfare as a limited help for the poor, Europeans see it as a way of life. Europeans are wards of the state always and forever. That is the difference. It seems like the perfect scenerio for the rise of the antichrist. But that is debateable.

    I think the welfare state did cause the disaster after the disaster. If you ever visit an American housing project (that is gov paid for housing) you would understand. Most are havens for drug dealers. You would not ever want to go in there alone. Not if you want to live, that is! Most of the stranded people were out the Projects. This is what the author means when he says there is overlap between the projects and the prison.

    [ September 10, 2005, 02:31 AM: Message edited by: Bunyon ]
     
  14. mioque

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    "The state and fed gov have no say in how a city spreds itself out."
    "
    So, it's the same thing overhere. I never blamed any specific part of the US government. I just said that the government (in general) mismanaged the whole thing. For some weird reason you decided I blamed the feds for stuff that in my country is local as well.

    I've been on the West Bank, what has it got to do with this discussion?
     
  15. Bunyon

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    You said that the Islamic folks act differently because of a God's will attitude. So I pointed out the west bank. But I did not see where you switched to speaking about non-islamic people.

    Others were blaming the feds, and it just bled into this conversation. I don't follow your writing style very well. I'll read slower. ;)
     

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