Who doesn’t remember the awful images of the US response to the tragedy called Katrina? The people begging for help while our President cut cake.
Who doesn’t remember the double standard of “looters” vs. “survivalist” run in news organizations across the country? We resembled a poorly run 3rd world country but refused any of the assistance offered. We’re smart that way.
Sometimes I wonder what if we had accepted some help early on. Maybe, just maybe, things like this wouldn’t have happened but I doubt it. That recounts the story of the blockade of refugees trying to cross the Crescent City Connection out of New Orleans. The actions by Gretna cops was clearly motivated by race and was dismissed earlier this year. Yes, I said dismissed. (While they say it concerns just this particular family who brought the lawsuit, we all know precedent has been set and done is done). Although the trail concerning the cops use of “excessive force” to keep the blockade is going on, I find it an egregious slap to humanity that it has taken this long for a representative of the government, the same government who screwed this so badly, to tell this family that the act itself was acceptable. The authorities who are meant to serve and protect not only went against their oath of office, but more importantly, shoved shotguns in the faces of their countrymen, women, and children who just needed assistance, who just wanted safe passage. Very Christian of ya, folks, all the way around.
I also remember this story. Right after it hit, rumors were floating around about more police abuse within the city. The typical gasbags went on and on about the lawlessness and how the police were doing their duties; however, the story linked to above describes how at least this one cop randomly shot innocent people in the back (how’s that for bravery) and then covered up the story. Here’s the third officer to plead guilty in the cover up.
While I am sure most officers tried their absolute best in extremely bad conditions, but the adamant denials and lack of timely follow up to address the issues still make people like me wary. It went beyond the officer that just did the shooting and it is not unreasonable to question how many other possible unheard stories have been swept out to sea.
As we move into another hurricane season, let’s hope we learned something: let’s hope we learned how to be more decent human beings.