[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...

ken mitchell
(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 
we do? 
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.
For peace,
John Welch 
(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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