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MAYORS: YOU'VE BEEN WARNED
September 6, 2005
As someone who works at home, I have the advantage of being able to monitor cable's 24/7 programming. I have watched every disaster, child abductions that end in horror (Jessie Lunsford), and events like Ruby Ridge, Waco, TWA Flight 800, OKC, 9/11 and Katrina unfold to their end and into the future. Most Americans work outside the home and don't have the opportunity to get the full story on many events; they get bits and pieces on the local nightly news and the drivel from ABC, NBC and CBS.
The Katrina story will be written about for a long time to come. The images blasted around the world by cable TV have been beyond words at times and impossible for most people to reconcile with 'life in the United States of America.' In New Orleans (NO) tens of thousands of humans crushed into the convention center and Superdome which turned into a staging area for murders (6), rapes (12), mountains of garbage, fecal matter, stench and rage born of hunger, thirst and despair. Katrina hit the morning of August 29th. Within 48 hours in NO there was violence, looting, people dying from hunger, heat and lack of medical attention. Americans were trapped like animals and the predators came out in force. Hospitals were operating under the most deplorable conditions imaginable; words are simply inadequate. By Saturday, September 3rd, 200 NO police officers had quit, two had committed suicide from the stress; by Monday, September 5, 2005, the force was missing almost 500 of them, gone for whatever reason. Every major news web site has been putting out coverage non stop and the stories range from heart breaking to pathetic behavior by politicians.
There has been some extremely ugly rhetoric since Katrina hit. Opportunist race mongers have come out with their usual drivel that the poor of New Orleans didn't get the help they deserved because they are black Americans. What bilge. I have seen countless "white" people in the same squalid conditions in the convention center and the Superdome. It wasn't just "blacks." The Katrina story as it relates to NO is due to many failures, not the least comes from the stupidity and ineptness of an unprepared mayor, who happens to be black. There was no leadership on the ground, absolutely no communications coordination or even a headquarters for that crucial tool, only panic by city fathers and an overwhelmed police force. A week down the road clearly shows that not as many people as thought evacuated before the storm hit. A few hundred thousand stayed behind to "ride it out." I watched one couple on the tube who happen to be black, who did survive, say they are angry at themselves for not leaving because they should have listened to the warning to get out.
For Heaven's sake, of course America is seeing a lot of black Americans suffering in New Orleans on the tube. According to the statistics I could find, 72% of the population pre-Katrina just happens to be a different skin color than white. If the television coverage shows mostly black people doing the looting and committing violence, does that make everyone racists? I think that Mr. Leighton Levy, a black man himself, wrote about the robbing and looting in the most honest column I've seen on the subject; read here. As a matter of fact, if you click here, you can see a film clip from MSNBC with a shocked reporter watching New Orleans police looting a Wal Mart. Yes, all America can watch police officers stealing and they are black. Does this make me racist for making this fact known?
While there has been a very modest response of "wish you well" from other governments, there was one extremely ugly commentary from Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment's research center. Remember Kuwait and why Bush, Sr., took us to war against Saddam back in 1990? You can read Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi's comments here: 'The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done, or it will strike areas close to their territory, until the promise of Allah comes to pass, for, verily, Allah will not fail in His promise.' [Koran 13:31]. Real nice considering how America bailed out their backsides 15 years ago.
Let me give you some facts here that you may or may not be aware of to help understand this human tragedy. Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on Florida August 24th as a category one; it hit on Thursday and dropped as much as 20" of rain as it passed over the state. The state was put on alert beforehand:
"We expect the impacts to South Florida to begin late [Thursday] afternoon with squalls and surge," Nelson said during a briefing in Tallahassee. A 3- to 5-foot storm surge is predicted, said Ben Nelson, state meteorologist. "Now is the time to prepare," urged Mike DeLorenzo, chief of Florida's Emergency Response Team. "Make sure your individual family preparedness plan is up to date."
Florida gets lots of hurricanes. They are right in the path of hurricanes. Everyone who lives there knows that hurricanes are dangerous and you have to take them seriously. Most residents seem to take the warnings seriously, those who do not usually end up in dire straits or dead. I think too many people got too "used to" the warnings and simply didn't calculate the strength of a cat four hurricane. In the case of New Orleans and the coastline clear to Mobile, Alabama, people living in that region also know that they live in harm's way every hurricane season and that they will take the brunt of the storm and ocean surges. They choose to live and work there anyway hoping "the big one" will never hit during their life time. Russian Roulette.
After Katrina hit Florida, meteorologists on every cable channel began warning that Katrina could head for the gulf area and that it was gaining in strength; those warnings began as early as Friday, August 26th. These experts weren't mincing words in their warnings. By Saturday the 27th these meteorologists were on every cable network telling people that Katrina would come on shore as a cat five with New Orleans right in the cross hairs. If NO got lucky they said, the storm might veer slightly to the east. I watched Joe Bastardi on FOX explain that this was the big one and people had better get out of its way. When Katrina made land, it was reduced to a cat four - deadly.
A few days before Katrina hit, the cable airwaves were full of interviews with Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and other gas bags. On August 28th NO Mayor C. Ray Nagin was on the tube, "We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared," he said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime event." Nagin was asking everyone to evacuate; the population of NO and surrounding parishes was estimated at 1.2 million. By Sunday, with the realization that Katrina was going to hit NO either directly or just to the East, caused Blanco and Nagin to get back on the air waves begging people to leave and those who couldn't leave, get to the Superdome to stay over night and ride out the hurricane. Early Monday evening some of the first pictures came in that simply took your breath away. From New Orleans to Mobile, nothing but destruction and death. Then came the levee breaks Tuesday morning and New Orleans simply drowned as everyone knew someday would happen.
Just consider these three e-mails below sent by a friend to him from those in the affected areas:
"Christie and I spoke with our son just a couple of hours ago. He is in the LA National Guard and is in New Orleans. We were elated to hear his voice, but distressed by the news he related. He has been in the CBD since getting to NO. Wednesday night his squad was holding in the NO Convention Center when they were attacked by a large group carrying AK-47s. They had to fire fight their way out and made it to the Superdome. He said they have been receiving fire the entire time he has been in the CBD. This morning as they made their way from the Superdome to Bourbon/Canal area, he spent 6 clips of ammo protecting himself.
"Once reaching the area, they realized that the Riverwalk was ablaze. He says that there are bodies everywhere and most have died from gunfire, not the storm. Those of us who know this element of NO have ignored it in the past and stayed away from the areas they frequent, but now they are trying to kill our young men and women who are making an effort to save those need help.
"Please keep these young people in your thoughts and prayers! And let's question politicians why they think that is necessary to keep us in the dark about what is going on in NO. Their denials make me want to puke! Our son said that although he was trained to do what he is now doing, he would have never believed that he would be doing it in LA. It is very perplexing for him and all those in his squad. Thanks for listening."
Just an update. The National Guard is in New Orleans, as are several hundred SWAT teams including ours. I was there today at Touro Hospital rescuing patients, nurses, and doctors. We got shot at from the time we got off the GNO until the time we got across the bridge. These pictures that the news is putting out are nothing. There aren't words to describe the chaos over there. We came in through Westwego and there were nothing but Wildlife and Fisheries trucks at Bayou Signette. As we crossed the Harvey canal, we saw what must have been hundreds of SWAT trucks and teams. The mall on the westbank had police in the parking lot using it as a staging area. When we returned the mall was on fire and a riot had broken out in the parking lot.
"We would have helped but we were escorting critical patients to Alexandria. It's ten times worse than what the TV is showing. There are several guys on the SWAT team with me that were in Iraq during the initial invasion and all the mayhem that ensued afterwards. They said that what we saw in N.O. today was ten times worse than anything they had ever seen in Iraq. It's scary to see all of this. Just to let you know, the military is on the way BIG TIME. I've been told that even the LAPD SWAT teams are on the way with their helicopters. I hope that everyone is safe and look forward to seeing everyone again."
"Do not send "stuff". Donate money. We just got power back. I'm in Baton Rouge. If you are not here, you are not getting a picture of the true situation. The national news is not reporting the reality. We are fine. Minimal damage to our house other than one hell of a mess with trees down. We just found out that all of Pat's family in Gulfport survived. Houses torn up. Can't get to them, but they're damned tough country folk and will make it. We have friends coming who lost everything who will be staying with us for an indeterminate time. We're gonna leave the light on for them. We expect the house to be OVER-FULL by nightfall. Many wonderful things have happened. People are stepping up to help.
"No one who used to live in N.O. has a job or a home. Freezer trucks are being brought in to stack the dead in. An extra 100,000 people are now in Baton Rouge. It is expected to double in size in a month. That is a problem. I was told by the police yesterday that you should not move around town without a gun to protect yourself. Some of the NO gangs have come here. They are out of drugs and maniacal. Thankfully, the local police are taking a HARD-LINE stand against this. There are some serious problems from the low-lifes. Baton Rouge is ARMED and it is dangerous. Drug-crazed lowlifes attacked a hospital to steal drugs. The situation is deteriorating rapidly.
"No one who lived on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain has a job right now. A few still have homes but the roads are impassable. The FAA has made the whole area a no-fly zone so we can't even go evacuate people we know can get to a GA airport. This makes 9-11 and the Tsunami look like Romper Room.
"The lowlife scum in N.O. are shooting at the rescue choppers and shooting the good blacks. Rescue operations have been suspended as a result. I see no way to stop the rioters without killing 'em. That means an awful lot of good black citizens will die when they otherwise could be rescued. I see no resolution. I suspect 50-100,000 deaths--maybe more if they keep shooting at the helicopters. I suspect N.O. will not be rebuilt. Few are yet willing to admit it.
"We are fine but my income has just gone to zero. It took 6 months to recover from Andrew in 1992. This will be MUCH worse. The good news is that we are all alive and well and my airplanes are undamaged... if only we could use them to go help folks. I'm really busy and probably will not be back on-line for a while."
A few minutes ago, I watched live coverage of a woman crying her eyes out. She's walking out of the city with her dog and they refuse to allow her to take her beloved pet with her. The trauma isn't bad enough, now the "law enforcement" is refusing to allow people to keep their pets with them? In a time of deep stress, dogs and cats and let's face it, they become part of our families - our little friends help to take away life's woes. They give us unconditional love and in such horrible times, not only is that woman's dog her dear friend, he is big enough to help protect her. I don't blame that women and if it were me, I would keep walking and tell them to go ahead and shoot me. Think I'm kidding? Treating suffering Americans like criminals when they've lost everything except their beloved pet is beyond the pale.
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� 2005 Devvy Kidd - All Rights Reserved
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Devvy Kidd authored the booklets, Why A Bankrupt America and Blind Loyalty, which sold close to 2,000,000 copies. Devvy appears on radio shows all over the country, ran for Congress and is a highly sought after public speaker. Get a free copy of Why A Bankrupt America from El Dorado Gold. Devvy is a contributing writer for www.NewsWithViews.com.
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There have been some extremely ugly rhetoric since Katrina hit. Opportunist race mongers have come out with their usual drivel that the poor of New Orleans didn't get the help they deserved because they are black Americans.