Friday, September 02, 2005

Mad Max: Beyond Superdome

I'm probably going to sound like an unfeeling bastard, but what the hell is up with these people in New Orleans? Sure, there is post hurricane lawlessness in other areas, but New Orleans is so far in the lead for looting, arson and general stupidity on the part of everyone from the citizens to the President that I'm just flabbergasted! If Gulfport, MS started right now to try and catch up to New Orleans, they'll never even see their tailights.

New Orleans lies roughly 20' below sea level. The levees and pumps were designed to deal with a Category 3 hurricane, and they had a Category 5 bearing down on them, but with several days notice. They're telling people to evacuate, but they don't reverse all the roads out of town. Some people in New Orleans inexplicably decide to stay and ride out the storm--and don't give me this crap that they were poor--doesn't New Orleans have school busses that could have been put to good use? We put 20,000 people in a sports stadium that may or may not stay intact since it isn't designed for this level of storm and where they know the plumbing will fail in 24 hours, and without enough food or water.

Then the storm hits and takes a last second jog east. Of course, it's still a big Category 4 storm, and New Orleans is still under it. After it clears, people start coming out saying they're out of food; out of water. You idiots! OK, so you ignored the advice to leave, I guess you must have ignored FEMA and everyone else saying "If you stay, you need to have 3 days minimum food and water. So they start looting the grocery stores, and we're going to forgive this, because they have no food or water. Well, maybe, if it was lost in the storm. Maybe. But I'm starting to not buy that crap.

The next day, almost predictably, the levees fail, and the city starts flooding. Now people are looting all sorts of goods, not just food. The cops watch, and it's rumored that they joined in in some cases. Today, the morons start burning the city. The National Guard is starting to move in, so I hear, but right now New Orleans is some bizarre post-apocalyptic landscape. The Superdome is starting to sound like the Torturedome. Mad Max would be an improvement, albeit a minor one.

It doesn't help my attitude that they're separating kids from their pets, either. Things aren't bad enough, we have to just throw gas on the fire. Guaranteed here's one kid who will never, ever walk across the street to piss on a cop if he's on fire. This is just one story--you know that in reality there are thousands of similar ones where the protectors become unfeeling, rule-bound bullies. Your government at work.

Why did the local and state officials not better prepare for this when the weather was clear? And I don't mean last week, I mean years ago--they were warned, for cryin' out loud! By their own state university, they were warned. If nothing else, they had several days knowledge that this thing was coming. They could have prepositioned supplies at least. I mean, it wouldn't have been hard, since they didn't reverse the roads--the trucks could have rolled right in. No traffic.

The federal response has been similarly inept. Yeah, I know the FEMA and Homeland (In)Security talking heads have been saying how much they're going to do, but it isn't getting to the worst hit areas. Spare me the part about "the roads are flooded, blocked with trees/stolen by space aliens". We're the nation who handled the Berlin airlift--we can't figure out something?

Well of course not--they aren't safe! The morons are shooting at the helos. I suppose we don't have any gunships handy....

This is our wake up call, and in more ways than one. When I can calm down a bit, I'm going to do a "lessons learned" sort of post. What we should have done, what we did that didn't work, and what we got right (boy, do I bet that part is going to be short).

What an f'ing mess.

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