[percy-l] [peirce-l] RE: hurricanes
KMitch2626 at aol.com
KMitch2626 at aol.com
Sat Sep 3 00:09:02 EDT 2005
If you couldnt tell from my rant, i am not going to argue about what i said.
but i will say that I appreciate your response. in fact, i agree with almost
the entirety of what you said, and still think that what i said was true. I'm
going to try to be as silent as possible. Call me crazy, but I hate it when
lists like these devolve into political interpretations of the news about race
and such. Still, I thank you for your earnest reply, but...
(ps. im forwarding this reply to the percy list. hope you dont mind. i think
its a good thing for the readers of each to see whats going on on the 2 lists)
To Ken Mitchell,
(1) An explanation by Jim Wallis (<A HREF="http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=sojomail.display&issue=050831#3">
During hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters, those who have the
least to lose are often those who lose the most. Why?
First, the dwellings in which poor people live are not as sturdy, stable, or
safe as others. "Shotgun" shacks, mobile homes, and poorly constructed
apartment buildings don't do well in hurricane-force winds and tidal surges.
Second, the places where poor people live are also the most vulnerable. The
rich often live at the tops of hills, the poor in the valleys and plains that
are the first to flood. The living conditions in these neighborhoods are also
usually the most dense and overcrowded.
Third, it is much harder for the poor to evacuate. They don't own cars, can't
afford to rent them, and often can't even afford a tank of gas - especially
at today's prices. They can't afford an airplane, train, or even bus ticket.
And, as one low-income person told a New Orleans reporter, they have no place to
go. People in poverty can't afford motel or hotel rooms, and often don't have
friends or family in other places with space to spare. In New Orleans, there
were many people who desperately wanted to leave but couldn't.
Fourth, low-income people are the least likely to have insurance on their
homes and belongings, and the least likely to have health insurance. If jobs are
lost because of natural disasters, theirs are the first to go. Poverty makes
long-term recovery after a disaster more difficult - the communities that are
the weakest to begin with usually recover the slowest. The lack of a living
family income for most people in those communities leaves no reserve for
New Orleans has a poverty rate of 28% - more than twice the national rate.
Life is always hard for poor people - living on the edge is insecure and full of
risk. Natural disasters make it worse. Yet even in normal times, poverty is
hidden and not reported by the media. In times of disaster, there continues to
be little coverage of the excessive impact on the poor. Devastated luxury
homes and hotels, drifting yachts and battered casinos make far more compelling
The final irony of New Orleans is that the people who normally fill the
Louisiana Superdome are those who can afford the high cost of tickets, parking, and
concessions. Now its inhabitants are the poor, especially children, the
elderly and the sick - those with nowhere else to go. Those with money are nowhere
to be seen.
As the Gulf Coast now faces the long and difficult task of recovery, what can
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declared Wednesday a day of prayer: "As we
face the devastation wrought by Katrina, as we search for those in need, as
we comfort those in pain and as we begin the long task of rebuilding, we turn
to God for strength, hope and comfort." She urged residents in her state to ask
"that God give us all the physical and spiritual strength to work through
this crisis and rebuild."
2. A brigade each of the Louisiana, Mississippi, and, probably, the Alabama
National Guard are serving in Iraq. I saw the Louisiana Guard train last
summer; they were very unhappy. Nearly half the troops in Iraq are Guardsmen. Why?
Because there aren't enough Regulars and Marines, and this short-sighted,
spineless administration does not have the courage to admit that their
neo-conservative fantasizers profoundly underestimated the scope and duration of the war
-- in spite of clear warnings from the senior generals in the Army. By early
2004, they saw that they either had to introduce a draft, quickly, or deploy the
Guard. Over Labor Day, 2004, there was a near mutiny by a South Carolina
Guard battalion training at Ft Dix; the troops felt they had contracted to guard
their home state -- during hurricanes, for instance -- rather than run convoys
in Iraq. Several NCOs got a petition started asking that their governor recall
them from federal service. More than a dozen South Carolina Guardsmen went
AWOL, and the entire battalion was locked down every night after their evening
The Louisiana troops are scheduled to re-deploy (ie, come home) over the next
few months, but it will take much longer to get their heavy equipment back.
It has to be packed onto ships and sailed home.
3. In spite of the mis-use of the Guard, the Federal government had plenty of
regular Army and US Navy resource that could have been used if Bush had been
awake. There were helicopters and big trucks and equipment powerful enough to
drag a disabled tank. It is about a ten-hour drive from Ft Hood to New
Orleans, in good conditions...say, 20 hours at the worst. Yes, there is a law that
prohibits using the Regulars within the borders of the US except in a crisis --
that's why we have a National Guard, remember. Still, there is that sanity
"except" loophole. Katrina did not sneak into New Orleans like a tsunami. Bush
had a week to see the danger and give the order. Maybe he was asleep, or raising
money, or too busy avoiding the Gold Star Families outside his ranch. Maybe
none of his aides wanted to wake him...hey, Chief, there's a monster hurricane
about to wipe out a major American city!
I don't know what ails the man, but I do know that Jim Piat is exactly right
about both Iraq and New Orleans.
(normally simply a reader of this list, but also a member of Military
Families Speak Out. A friend has a husband in the NY Guard serving in Iraq in a unit
with the Louisiana guardsmen.)
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