Thursday, September 01, 2005

Looters at Fort Apache

Thank God they got those people out of New Orleans. I was almost late everyday for work as my eyes were glued in shockish horror at the unbelievable images of human devastation floating in front of my eyes. Floating because of the tears I couldn't hold back. And then five extra minutes to re-apply my eye make up. Oh, living a life of beauty is rigorous.

All those soft feathery feelings turned to hardened Elmer's glue, however, when I began to see the coverage of looters ripping off Walgreens Drugstore. Walgreens! It was horrendous. Well....on second thought perhaps it wasn't so horrendous. I saw one woman run out with a couple bags of Huggies. Watcha gonna do when you run outta diapers, huh? Rob a Walgreens.

Seriously, though, it was the picture of two young black men trudging through calf-deep water with bags stuffed with what looked like shoe boxes that really pissed me off. Then I heard a reporter talking about how the police headquarters in New Orleans was coming under so much gunfire by gangs and vigilantes that someone put up a sign that said "Fort Apache." Galling.

Made me not wanna donate any money.

But then I started thinking (ka-blam!!!) Perhaps the reason so many black people were robbing and looting had less to do with their moral character and more to do with what they had learned to expect through a lifetime of conditioning in a town rife with racism. Like not to expect a policeman when you need one. That the needs of white people tend to come first. And that in a choice between a black man who needs rescuing and a white man who needs rescuing, the black man better have a plan B.

3 comments:

Mom said...

We were horrified at the tsunamis and now the same devastation has come to our doorstep. We criticized the lack of quick response to their suffering and now are guilty of slow response ourselves. The lesson here, folks, is BE PREPARED. Okay, you can't always know when something is going to happen. But if you live in Michigan be prepared...we could have a blizzard knock out power for days, or worse, have our heating fuel supply interrupted by terrorists or extreme weather or whatever. So make a plan about how you are going to survive and keep your family reasonably comfortable and safe. Emergency preparation: it's not just for crackpots anymore.

Mom said...

Oh, yes, about the racial thing. This one is hard to call...I think it was the plan, or lack thereof that is mostly to blame for the early delays. If racism played a part, I believe it was before and not necessarily after the disaster. The black and poor people lived in the most vulnerable area! As in most cities, they get the least valuable real estate, only in New Orleans, it is an area everyone knew would be deadly if there were a catastrophic flood. I don't think it is blaming the victims to say there was obviously a lack of preparation, that kind of preparation has to be done at a governmental level. As for the slow response, I couldn't say that racism played a part but I do have two comments on that. One, I remember the National Guard being diverted from rescue operations to restore law and order. It wasn't the undoubtedly necessary looting as much as the gun-toting crazies that were destablilizing the rescue operations. One shot at a helicopter was all it took. And the other point is I think they were afraid to go in with anything less than enough for everyone for fear of stampedes and violence, and that took a while to prepare. However, it is shameful no matter what way you slice it. So how about the rest of you, why so silent on this issue?

YooBee said...

I think the slow response was not due to a lack of preparedness so much as it was a lack of decision making and action taking on the state and local level. As I have said many times, FEMA is not a first responder, the state and local officials (I can't stomach calling them leaders) did not augment the plan that was put in place for just such an event.
Furthermore, first responders on the ground (fire/ambulance/rescue)will NOT go into an area where there is gunfire no matter what the human tragedy might be.

Rasism is an easy answer to explain why so many people were left behind, but, this is a city with a black mayor, and a black police chief. Are we to suggest that the federal government is so good that they planted pliable and obedient officials in key posiitons just in case a hurricane or some other big event came along with the purposes of getting rid of lots of black people? the idea sounds even more rediculous when you say it outloud...try it. If we're that good then why can't we find a six foot tall Egyption?

Media talking heads and black leaders tend to perpetuate racism to keep themselves in power and on the TV screens. To suggest that the coast guard chopper flew all over town to make sure that they picked up the white people first is a discredit and disgrace to the crews manning them. It is a known fact that a black congressman used a contingent of vehicles and manpower (including a chopper) to secure some clothes and a laptop frome his home in New Oleans, the Military was disgusted with the fact that he drove past people in dire need (moslty white people who live in the affluent neighborhood with him) in order to gather up some expensive threads and a laptop. So why aren't we screaming about him? There are many examples of things going wrong in New Orleans, beginning with polititions attempting to make Political hay by claiming that racism was the major reason why so many died.

My oppinion is that if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes or tornados then you had better be prepared, if your too stupid to figure out anything (accept how to aquire a blackberry and nextel without having a job) then you shouldn't live in an area such as New Orleans. I feel the same way for all the angry people with their hands out in Florida, they were told they should leave, they defiantly stayed there, now they are out of water (they should have stocked up on) and ice (you live in a hot place dumbass, prepare for it) and now they are running out of gas (where you going to go..to work?)
It angers me to see americans so attached to the great breast known as the US government. They should get off the teat and provide for themselves and their families on their own, begining with getting the hell out of the way of a cat. 3 Hurricane. I'm sorry but the victim mentality of some americans just pisses me off.