I’d post all the ways that government failed New Orleans and Louisiana and Mississippi, but this post on Sploid does so quite well and points out the key insight: the consept of “Homeland Security” over “Civil Defense” has been an unmitigated failure.
Instead of trying to catch every perp who might want to bomb us, we could have prepared for city-destroying-level disasters, hardened the targets, and enabled more robust responses instead of giving privacy-destroying toys to every podunk sherrif’s department in the country who wanted to spy on and beat up blacks, gays, and pot smokers.
The only thing sploid doesn’t cover is the fact that local government in New Orleans and Louisiana could have been prioritizing levees and disaster planning even if the federal government wasn’t there with funds. They could have ignored the federal government’s failure to act in the aftermath. They could have planned for evacuuating the superdome immediately after the storm or getting supplies to it.
Sometimes, you have to steal a bus to survive. Many municipalities have these things. But this young person DID NOT HAVE ZE CORREKT PAPERS! So,
“I just took the bus and drove all the way here…seven hours straight,’ Gibson admitted. “I hadn’t ever drove a bus.”
The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there.
Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome. But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus.
Maybe it is America’s shame that we’ve accepted authorities who make no distinction between survival in a disaster zone and looting…and are embarrassingly upstaged by a young man with fewer degrees in public administration who nonetheless figured out that school busses work just as well as coaches, whether they’re “authorized” or not.
I agree there’s been some racism in the response to hurricane Katrina. Hell, most of New Orleans is the result of racism in its various forms. But some black Congress members got up to talk about the issue today, and one lady I saw (didn’t catch her name) went way the hell too far:
“This is America’s shame.”
No, it’s you in government’s shame. By participating, you’re a part of it, lady. This has been a government failure of massive proportions, decades in the making and made acute by current inaction. But America is not its government, and quite frankly, we responded faster than you did, lady. We were there first, and likely we’ll be there after. It’s not our shame, it’s your shame, and you should either direct your criticism at your fellow Members, or you should apologize for the continual failings of them in preventing or dealing with this crisis.