Saturday, September 03, 2005

Taking Criminal Negligence to a whole new level: Genocide in New Orleans?

As a Blue-State Democrat, I've watched bush Republicans take money away from Californians who voted against them and give it to red states who supported them. According to, 12 blue states receive less than a dollar from the federal government for each dollar they pay in taxes. However, 25 red states receive more than a dollar for every dollar they pay out.

Unfortunately, New Orleans was in the same boat as California -- a place with a Blue voting record that is now suffering from benign neglect.

But at what point does this benign neglect turn into deliberate Criminal Negligence?

My friend John just forwarded a very disturbing e-mail to me. It is the story of deliberate neglect in New Orleans -- neglect bordering on the criminal. The word "Eugenics" comes to mind. Or those old 1930s experiments on Negro syphilis patients -- African-American men who were allowed to die of this horrible yet curable disease so that government officials could "study" them.

Is what happened in New Orleans the wave of the future in America as well as in such far-away places as Darfur and Iraq -- where genocide is not only feasible but is actually happening? This "administration" is very good at doing nothing when ACTION could save thousands of lives. We saw them do nothing during the summer of 2001 when Mohammed Atta could have been captured and the 9/11 tragedy averted. And remember when they did nothing while Baghdad was being looted?

And now in Darfur, the Congress, White House and Pentagon continue to do nothing, essentially allowing thousands to die -- without having to seem to be responsible for these slow and agonizing deaths. And if the bush Republicans can turn a blind eye to the plight of the women and children in Darfur and the African-Americans in New Orleans, might the rest of us be next?

Here is the e-mail from John, written by Malik:

"I can understand the chaos that happened after the tsunami, because they had no warning, but here there was plenty of warning. In the three days before the hurricane hit, we knew it was coming and everyone could have been evacuated.

"We have Amtrak here that could have carried everybody out of town. There were enough school buses that could have evacuated 20,000 people easily, but they just let them be flooded. My son watched 40 buses go underwater-- they just wouldn't move them, afraid they'd be stolen.

"People who could afford to leave were so afraid someone would steal what they own that they just let it all be flooded. They could have let a family without a vehicle borrow their extra car, but instead they left it behind to be destroyed.

"People whose homes and families were not destroyed went into the city right away with boats to bring the survivors out, but law enforcement told them they weren't needed. They are willing and able to rescue thousands, but they're not allowed to.

"Every day countless volunteers are trying to help, but they're turned back. Almost all the rescue that's been done has been done by volunteers anyway.

"My son and his family -- his wife and kids, ages 1, 5 and 8 -- were flooded out of their home when the levee broke. They had to swim out until they found an abandoned building with two rooms above water level.

"There were 21 people in those two rooms for a day and a half. A guy in a boat who just said "I'm going to help regardless" rescued them and took them to Highway I-10 and dropped them there.

"They sat on the freeway for about three hours, because someone said they'd be rescued and taken to the Superdome. Finally they just started walking, had to walk six and a half miles. "People from Placquemine Parish were rescued on a ferry and dropped off on a dock near here. All day they were sitting on the dock in the hot sun with no food, no water. Many were in a daze; they've lost everything.

"They were all sitting there surrounded by armed guards. We asked the guards could we bring them water and food. My mother and all the other church ladies were cooking for them, and we have plenty of good water.

"But the guards said, "No. If you don't have enough water and food for everybody, you can't give anything." Finally the people were hauled off on school buses from other parishes.

"The people who could help are being shipped out. People who want to stay, who have the skills to save lives and rebuild are being forced to go to Houston.

"It's not like New Orleans was caught off guard. This could have been prevented. "There's military right here in New Orleans, but for three days they weren't even mobilized. You'd think this was a Third World country.

"I'm in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, the only part that isn't flooded. The water is good. Our parks and schools could easily hold 40,000 people, and they're not using any of it."