Your Government Can’t Protect You… but It Can Get You Killed
No politician or business leader died from the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Those with the money and resources evacuated the city in plenty of time, while those left behind face not only rising waters and food shortages, but also armed police and national guardsmen, sent by the government to “restore order” – to stop people from getting the supplies they need to survive. After an initial shortage of National Guardsmen (since they were ironically stationed in Iraq), it is ridiculous for them to now be playing an antagonistic and potentially lethal role when they should be engaged in assisting those in need.
Clearly, the US is responsible for not only the strength of Katrina, but also the preparedness of the affected areas. Global warming, long ignored by Republicans and Democrats alike, is cited for the excessively warm waters in the Gulf that strengthened the storm from a Category 1 to a Category 5 storm. Bush had also continuously defunded the program that was improving the levee that broke to divert it to the war in Iraq.
After a very slow and ineffective response to the disaster, the Bush administration has vowed to aid those affected, but we have already seen that the people themselves know best how to organize relief efforts. While police force looters out of stores to “shop” themselves and quarantine people in stadiums, a young man commandeered a bus to take 100 strangers to safety, people flood internet message boards with offers of free aid and housing, while others organize relief efforts out of their vans and houses all over the country.
Responsible yet antagonistic, violent and reactionary, ineffective and arrogant, why do we put up with a racist government that doesn’t care about the poor nor has any accountability to the people it supposedly represents? Is it because the media reinforces the stereotypes that blacks “loot” while whites “find?” Whatever the reasons, we need to realize that we can take care of and defend ourselves better than any leader can, that police and other centralized bureaucracies are easily overwhelmed, and most important – our government can’t protect us, but it can get us killed. Look to your neighbor for help – not your government.
Websites of people getting involved:
neworleans.craigslist.org – housing and employment offers, resources
neworleans.indymedia.org – local independent news outlet
getyouracton.com – residents providing supplies at the grassroots level
hurricanehousing.org – housing offers
katrinashelter.com – housing offers
infoshop.org – non-corporate media outlet
“[New Orleans] is going to look like Little Somalia … We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.” – Brigadier General Gary Jones, Army Times September 2, 2005