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Thread: An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

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    An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

    Harsh yet to the heart of the matter....

    [B]An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State [/B]

    by Robert Tracinski
    Sep 02, 2005
    by Robert Tracinski

    It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

    If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

    Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

    But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

    The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

    The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

    The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

    For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

    When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

    So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

    To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

    "Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

    "The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

    "Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

    " 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "

    The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

    What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?

    Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

    Sherri figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

    What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: [B]early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa. [/B]

    There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

    All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

    No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

    What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

    But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

    The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

    [url]http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1026[/url]

  2. #2
    A Brilliant piece of writing. I believe Rush Limbaugh read portions of this yesterday on the air, and I agreed with it then too.

  3. #3
    According to the Mayor of NO there's just a few people engaging in 'knucklehead' behavior.

    It's all Bush's fault. Doesn't Bush realize that the Mayor of NO and Governor of Louisianna are Democrats. Geesh!

  4. #4
    Perhaps some truth to an extent however how does the author think people should have behaved? Essentially our whole society is a welfare state in that most people, rich poor, welfare, elite do not make a habit of growing our own food, finding our own water and being a survivalist. You could remove the 'welfare' state crowd and drop in people who most would consider not of that ilk and they would still need rescuing off the roof tops, food, fresh water and shelter.

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    This may the answer to the question I posed in my "Looting" thread the other day. A very well written piece. Another similarity can be drawn to the Chicago example, corrupt politicians.

  6. #6
    Great article, good find there.

    [QUOTE] The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting. [/QUOTE]

    For starters, as I was reading it, i wished there were stories about how instead of using their energy looting footlocker and electronics stores, the able bodied were removing the corpses from the water and putting them in a dry spot for a proper burial. But that would have to happen for it to be reported.

    Heaven forbid any of the survivors actually take steps to help their own cleanup. But hey, they got new sneakers and TVs out of the deal.

  7. #7
    ...things are improving in Mississippi and Alabama according to reports I've seen.

    People there getting involved, helping each other, cleaning up.

    Nary a rape, murder, helicopter getting shot at.

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    Comparing the effects of Katrina to 9-11 and a broken traffic light is absurd...this is huge, widespread and overwhelming. Any city would be in dire need of help and waiting for days for it? Even Bush said the relief was lacking.

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    [QUOTE=R. Tyme]Comparing the effects of Katrina to 9-11 and a broken traffic light is absurd...this is huge, widespread and overwhelming. Any city would be in dire need of help and waiting for days for it? Even Bush said the relief was lacking.[/QUOTE]

    How does that translate into raping women and shooting at rescuers again?

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=Piper]How does that translate into raping women and shooting at rescuers again?[/QUOTE]

    :dunno: How does it??

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    [QUOTE=FloridaJet]:dunno: How does it??[/QUOTE]

    Bush's fault, no doubt.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=AlbanyJet]...things are improving in Mississippi and Alabama according to reports I've seen.

    People there getting involved, helping each other, cleaning up.

    Nary a rape, murder, helicopter getting shot at.[/QUOTE]

    Great news. Remember NO is an isolated city and thus much more difficult to control. This is not an excuse for lawlessness.

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    [QUOTE=Piper]How does that translate into raping women and shooting at rescuers again?[/QUOTE]

    Aside from the bit about the prisoners and a few bad apples, IMO the article is garbage and slants to being racist.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=Piper]Bush's fault, no doubt.[/QUOTE]

    Who is saying this is Bush's fault??

    There is no excuse under any circumstances for citizens to rape, shoot, loot, or any other act against fellow citizens.

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    [QUOTE=FloridaJet]Who is saying this is Bush's fault??

    There is no excuse under any circumstances for citizens to rape, shoot, loot, or any other act against fellow citizens.[/QUOTE]

    I was being sarcastic based on the number of posts that have leaned that way..

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    [QUOTE=R. Tyme]Aside from the bit about the prisoners and a few bad apples, IMO the article is garbage and slants to being racist.[/QUOTE]

    How is it racist?

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    [QUOTE=Piper]How is it racist?[/QUOTE]

    telling the truth is racist, didn't you know?? Along the lines of "a FEW bad apples"...did you catch that one?

    [B]Police Chief: 'Urban Warfare' Slowed New Orleans Rescue
    NewsMax.com [/B]

    New Orleans Police Chief Edwin Compass said Friday that hurricane rescue efforts were hampered when relief workers came under attack by the city's criminal element, prompting conditions that resembled "urban warfare."

    "We have never had an urban warfare battle like this on any front in the history of our nation," Compass told NBC's "Dateline."

    "You're fighting in buildings that are pitch black with darkness. These individuals have root - the criminal element have looted all the gun shops and gun stores in this city, so they're armed, they're dangerous."

    Federal Emergency Management Agency Chief Michael Brown, under fire for his agency's slow response, echoed Chief Compass's complaint, telling CNN: "We are working under conditions of urban warfare."

    Though the city's crime rate is ten times the national average, U.S. news outlets downplayed the connection between New Orleans' outsized criminal element and delays in rescue efforts.

    Saturday's London Times, however, painted a bleak picture of the challenges faced by local police as they tried to restore order.

    "One New Orleans police officer wept as he described seeing bodies riddled with bullets, and the top of one man's head shot off. He said some looters were armed with AK-47 rifles, and compared the situation with Somalia, with police outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks . . .

    "An effort to remove patients and staff from Charity Hospital, in the city centre, was suspended after it came under sniper fire . . .

    "'It's a war-zone, and they're not treating it like one,' he said, referring to the federal government . . . Gunmen continued to fire on troops and rescue helicopters, and police officials said that many officers had stopped reporting for duty, cutting manpower by 20 per cent."

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    [QUOTE=Piper]How is it racist?[/QUOTE]

    The gist of the article is implying that all these people are on welfare (the census said the majority income there is a very low $25,000 and less) are uncivil, do not know how to ban together, help each other and have no values. And the majority of those in New Orleans are African Americans and many poor. UNLIKE people in 9-11 and a broken traffic light in a small U.S. town which again is such a ridiculous comparison-- that alone makes the article reek. This sounds racist to me.

    There are also stories coming out of the convention center of how people were helping one another despite the horrible conditions there and being there FOR DAYS but you hear more about the bad. And there were buses standing outside of the convention area but wouldn't go near cause of the bad stories they heard even though none of that was happening at the convention.

    Guns being looted? Citizens arming themselves? The NRA should be proud.

    The article 'seems' to downplay this ENORMOUS natural disaster which is wrong and puts the blame on the poor citizens of New Orleans instead of asking why wasn't the city more prepared? It's not like they didn't know this could happen, the levees would break OR that there would be poor people in the thousands trapped because they did not have the vehicles or the money to leave?

    articles on New Orleans' people and income
    [url]http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050903/NEWS02/509030322/-1/spider[/url]

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    [QUOTE=R. Tyme]The gist of the article is implying that all these people are on welfare (the census said the majority income there is a very low $25,000 and less) are uncivil, do not know how to ban together, help each other and have no values. And the majority of those in New Orleans are African Americans and many poor. UNLIKE people in 9-11 and a broken traffic light in a small U.S. town which again is such a ridiculous comparison-- that alone makes the article reek. This sounds racist to me.

    There are also stories coming out of the convention center of how people were helping one another despite the horrible conditions there and being there FOR DAYS but you hear more about the bad. And there were buses standing outside of the convention area but wouldn't go near cause of the bad stories they heard even though none of that was happening at the convention.

    Guns being looted? Citizens arming themselves? The NRA should be proud.

    The article 'seems' to downplay this ENORMOUS natural disaster which is wrong and puts the blame on the poor citizens of New Orleans instead of asking why wasn't the city more prepared? It's not like they didn't know this could happen, the levees would break OR that there would be poor people in the thousands trapped because they did not have the vehicles or the money to leave?

    articles on New Orleans' people and income
    [url]http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050903/NEWS02/509030322/-1/spider[/url][/QUOTE]

    You're just trying to justify the behavior of the looters, rapists and killer...maybe if the mayor had a plan for evacuating the criminals in prison rather then just releasing them into the public...

    Speaking of the mayor- he was just on with Wolf Blitzer and said many of his police and firefighters have been traumatized by what's gone on and there have been a few suicides (though I can't believe this is worse then what the NYPD/FDNY witnessed on 9-11)...

    Evidently he sent them to Baton Rouge but the hospitals are full and they need psychological counseling- "we need to get them to a city that has a lot of hotels to house them- we're hoping to contact LAS VEGAS!"

    I sh!t you not....

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]You're just trying to justify the behavior of the looters, rapists and killer...maybe if the mayor had a plan for evacuating the criminals in prison rather then just releasing them into the public...
    ..[/QUOTE]

    And where do I do that about rapists and killers? I said there were some bad apples which you scoffed at and I also said the bit about the prisoners was right in the article.

    Maybe you're trying to justify condemnation of a whole city of citizens. I see on the news a lot of people of all ages; families needing help....do you see all thugs?

    [COLOR=Indigo]The element that is responsible for the hard-core looting of guns, ammo and drugs is the same criminal element found in any major city. Some in this restless, poor, undereducated class wreak havoc on the city in ordinary times. Now, they have taken advantage of this catastrophe to "get to work," the street slang for stealing and creating mayhem. New Orleans never wanted the world to see this ugly element at work, but they exist, they have been exposed, and we can do nothing to put the genie back in the bottle.

    They are, however, a fraction of the population. Most New Orleanians are kindhearted, family-oriented people who now find themselves splintered and fanned out across many states of the Deep South. For them, the sweet fabric of family is ripped apart, and many are numb trying to cope with a tightly-woven community's loss of nearness to each other.[/COLOR]

    [url]http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050903/NEWS02/509030318/-1/spider[/url]

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