Descent Into the Pit

According to CNN:

Earlier, police officers told CNN that some of their fellow officers had simply stopped showing up for duty, cutting manpower by 20 percent or more in some precincts. Before Thursday night fell, police were stopping anyone they saw on the street and warning them that they were not safe from armed bands of young men who were attacking people and attempting to rape women.

This comes along with the reports of shots fired at National Guardsmen and widespread looting. Not looting for food, mind you, but looting for electronics, alcohol, and guns. I am hesitant to call out any specific examples, but I find the behavior of the people who use this tragedy as an excuse to become violent disgusting. I am also at a loss as to why the response is to get violent, rather than trying to pitch in and help. This is, if anything, a lesson about how fragile civilization is and how hard we must all work to maintain it. In contrast to the base and selfish behavior, I’ve heard accounts of gunmen being told to leave the convention center by citizens who banded together and told them to leave.

New Orleans resident Alan Gould described the situation as “modern day genocide”. I’m not sure what to do with this statement. Watching a video of the convention center, I saw groups of people chanting and yelling into the camera. It’s hard to comprehend being corralled into an area then essentially left to sit and wait. I’m not surprised that anger flares up. How couldn’t it? But I honestly don’t know what claims of genocide and demonstrations are going to do for the situation, other than enrage people further. Do they truly believe no one is working to help the situation? People are demanding to know why they aren’t taking them out of that situation right now, but where would they go? Shuttling people around without a plan will be worse than doing things right.

+ If you can, donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief. Or go to FEMA’s site to see how you can volunteer or make a donation. If we pitch in, I sincerely hope that we can celebrate Mardi Gras in 2006 with a revived and rebuilt Gulf coast, but that just may not be possible. +