So much of the tragedy of New Orleans could have been prevented.
Metaphysically, Hurricane Katrina itself was unavoidable and unmanageable. Historically, Katrina followed a pattern in existence for centuries, namely that hurricanes tend to go ashore on the Gulf coast. The New Orleans area has faced that threat since before there was a New Orleans city, and there was no way to avoid considerable damage for all those who were in the path of Katrina.
What was not unavoidable was readiness: the man-made, not the metaphysical. Obviously, there was little to no readiness in New Orleans or Louisiana. For example, the New Orleans police have three boats, but only one was operational.
Hurricane Katrina did not suddenly and unexpectedly materialize as if by magic, to be beamed down onto New Orleans via some Star Trek technology. Few did not know it was coming, and few did not know it was one of the most powerful of hurricanes. The mayor of New Orleans apparently thought his work was done when he told people to vacate New Orleans. I do not know what the governor of Louisiana did other than utter platitudes and stare blankly into television cameras.
The costs of human suffering and death as well as the excessive losses of property could have been minimized. Some would have died. Some would have suffered. Some homes and buildings would have been reduced to matchsticks. None should have been flooded out, and no one should have been thrown to the wolves of chance as were those around the Superdome by the incompetence of those who "run" the City of New Orleans. Mayor "Nincompoop" of New Orleans leads the chorus of highly vocal blame casters, blaming everyone but themselves and their own incompetence. The mayor, like a number of others running to cover their butts, tries to implicate others to stave off anyone identifying his own role.
It is not in Washington, D.C., nor any state where the blame properly falls--not to the President, to Homeland Security, to F.E.M.A., to the National Guard, or to anyone or anything outside Louisiana. True, they were not standing at the instant ready as they should have been, but they did mobilize and do so handsomely.
From the moment of the disaster, until the "cavalry" arrived, personal, city, and state resources should have fully mobilized. As soon as the winds had dropped to levels safe enough for humans to mobilize out of doors, pre-existing plans should have gone into high gear, with all the materiel and personnel prepositioned. Apparently neither the mayor nor the governor gave the matter any thought, or so it seems. Thus, it is within the state of Louisiana that the blame properly falls.
Memo to Mr. Mayor and Ms. Governor: You have to ASK for National Guard help in order to get it, for example, so you anticipate needs and act in a timely manner, proactively. Why did you try to make your problem to be everyone's outside of your city and state?
Long-standing corruption, consorting with long-standing incompetence, birthed the Superbowl tragedy. Any other efforts to assign bogus blame, such as Bush's failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty, global warming, having too many national guard in Iraq, racism, and the like should qualify those who emit such statements as needing psychiatric incarceration and medication, as well as those who attest that this is the "end of days" and is the work of Allah punishing satanic America.
Here's why (excerpted) New Orleans and Louisiana failed, at the level of elected and appointed public officials: (All emphases mine)
Will New Orleans Recover? by Nicole Gelinas, 31 August 2005
No American city has ever gone through what New Orleans must go through: the complete (if temporary) flight of its most affluent and capable citizens, followed by social breakdown among those left behind, after which must come the total reconstruction of economic and physical infrastructure by a devastated populace.
And the locals and outsiders who try to help New Orleans in the weeks and months to come will do so with no local institutional infrastructure to back them up. New Orleans has no real competent government or civil infrastructure—and no aggressive media or organized citizens’ groups to prod public officials in the right direction during what will be, in the best-case scenario, a painstaking path to normalcy.
The city’s government has long suffered from incompetence and corruption. Just weeks before Katrina, federal officials indicted associates of the former mayor, Marc Morial, for alleged kickbacks and contract fraud. Morial did nothing to attract diversified private investment to his impoverished city during the greatest economic boom of the modern era.
The current mayor, Ray Nagin, ... in his three years in office...has made no perceptible progress in diversifying New Orleans’ economy. On television this week, the mayor has shown no clear inclination to take charge and direct post-Katrina rescue and recovery efforts for his population, as Mayor Giuliani did in New York on and after 9/11.
New Orleans teems with crime, and the NOPD can’t keep order on a good day. Former commissioner Richard Pennington brought New Orleans’ crime rate down from its peak during the mid-1990s. But since Pennington’s departure, crime rates have soared, to ten times the national average. The NOPD might have hundreds of decent officers, but it has a well-deserved institutional image as corrupt, brutal, and incompetent.
How will New Orleans’ economy recover from Katrina? Apart from some pass-through oil infrastructure, the city’s economy is utterly dependent on tourism. After the city’s mainstay oil industry decamped to Texas nearly a generation ago, New Orleans didn’t do the difficult work of cutting crime, educating illiterate citizens, and attracting new industries to the city. New Orleans became merely a convention and tourism economy, selling itself to visitors to survive, and over time it has only increased its economic dependence on outsiders. The fateful error of that strategy will become clearer in the next few months.
New Orleans has experienced a steady brain drain and fiscal drain for decades, as affluent corporations and individuals have fled, leaving behind a large population of people dependent on the government. Socially, New Orleans is one of America’s last helpless cities—just at the moment when it must do all it can to help itself survive.
According to Jimmy Rogers on the Fox News Cost of Freedom business program, Saturday, 3 September 2005, the New Orleans Levee Board [note the name] bought casinos, hotels, and financially befriended lots of cronies, to the tune of multi-millions of dollars, if not more--BUT THEY DEVOTED NOT A DOLLAR TO THE LEVEE PROBLEM. The levees were built to withstand a hurricane of category 3 strength, not category 3 or 4, including one moving as slowly as did Katrina. For decades, levees were ignored, while those who should have acted bet that a Katrina would not fall on their watches.
New Orleans stands as the perfect example of what not to do, BUT it is teaching jihadists just what to do. The "blame buck" stops with the state of Louisiana and goes no further, with the following exception.
Tens of thousands of New Orleans' black American underclass gathered inside and outside the Superdome as soon as they could after Hurricane Katrina had passed. Some brought a few belongings. Seemingly none brought water, food, medication, or even a portable radio (not power-hogging boom boxes). They helplessly waited to be taken care of. They waited until the competent could get in there to help them, i.e., those from outside New Orleans and Louisiana. Even rudimentary readiness on the part of New Orleans and Louisiana would have gotten these people water and food right away instead of displacing their own responsibility to the feds.l
Note that not even one sound truck or helicopter with loudspeakers or blimp with a full length neon signage gave these people gathering at the Superdome so much as one set of directions or information.
Right on cue came charges of racism as the unscrupulous rushed to cover their wrong actions or inactions. According to some silk suit sporting, fat cat in the NAACP, it was pure racism for these people--almost all black--to be left to last to be taken care of. By the way, where was (and IS) the NAACP (the black version of CAIR), or would-be fuhrers Jackson and Sharpton during ANY of this crisis? They have been nowhere to be seen. It makes you wonder just how much these people really care for those of their race. No, it doesn't create wonder at all. We know. The NAACP and its fellow traveller organizations are attention-getting, power-lusters who do not give one damn about their race except to use them as a means to acquire power over others, whether those others be white, black, red, green, and whatever.
The reason there were so many blacks gathered at the Superdome is because the population of New Orleans has become 67% black, not because blacks were singled out for mistreatment. Blacks live in high density in the peri-Superdome area because that is where housing-on-the-dole is, "the projects." They followed the largess, and that is where it took them.
What characterizes this population? They are New Orleans' indigenous underclass, made addicts to all sorts of handouts that robbed their incentive to be much more than range-of-the-moment parasites, in the main. During the looting, one of them told a wire service reporter that the looting was justified because of all the "years of oppression" blacks have endured. That statement could have come from a press release from the NAACP or CAIR. In fact, it came from Karl Marx, and it became engrained into to the "poverty blacks" by their "poverty pimps" on the Left.
The standard line among officialdom in New Orleans and Louisiana about New Orleans and Louisiana is how grindingly poor the city and state are; thus these people just could not help being the way they are. But, let's see: Louisiana, including New Orleans, has vast agriculture, oil wells, oil refining, enormous importation and exportation through one of the biggest ports of the world, unfathomably large Mississippi River floating commerce to America and the world, rail, air, tourism, and even Tabasco. In short, there is no damned excuse for the use of the term "poor" anywhere in Louisiana. What there is, is an insufficiency of accountability and an absence of long term imprisonment for those in power, an absence of free market capitalism in the state, and a huge underclass ill prepared for living successfully in the modern world.
There is no place in the country where people may successfully duck responsibility for themselves in the case of disaster, no matter how "poor" they are alleged to be. The choice is simply that of either exercising personal responsibility at a very basic level or passively accepting one's fate. A common sense attitude of personal responsibility would have worked to teach these poor blacks to ready themselves for contingencies during hurricane season, e.g., having water, food, medicine, and even a cheap IMPORTED portable radio on hand, enough to get by for a few days, until the cavalry arrives. Had they not already accepted a bogus fare of convenient slogans to justify personal passivity, they would have known: DO NOT RELY ON GOVERNMENT AS YOUR FIRST RESORT; PREPARE YOURSELF FIRST. This is the kind of stuff the NAACP and its ilk should be teaching and inculcating.
Had these people readied themselves at the most basic level, in the simplest applications of personal responsibility, and had the mayor of New Orleans together with the governor, readied materiel and personnel to move as soon as the winds dropped to safe levels, what we have been seeing would have been far less severe, even with the flooding. Had the first looters been shot dead by prepared police and left on prominent display with signs identifying why they were killed, little would have been looted. Did we learn nothing from the invasion of Baghdad?
But, these poor blacks have been played like a Wurlitzer, like chess pawns in power games. Since the 1960s, the Left (black and white) have destroyed the integrity of the black family and the integrity of the black person by making them helpless dependents on government-provided largess. Tragically, what has replaced their basic human level of functioning have been a poverty mentality of passive-dependent, entitlement mentalities which have become demanding parasites, and giving more excuses than Carter has liver pills to justify their lack of personal responsibility. The Left taught them, and they learned. However, they bought the line willingly, so they are not guilt-free "victims." They have become self-made "victims," people waiting to be waited on. They are the crown jewel of leftist ideology. Is it any wonder that a percentage of the same sub-population turned to looting, rape, murder, and mayhem over the past few days? And is it any wonder that so many became actual victims, dying and suffering needlessly?
And, why were the jailed prisoners released to return to harrass these poor people once more? At a minimum, these prisoners should have been put into chain gangs to service the needs of the populace they had repetitively victimized instead of giving them a get-out-of-jail free card.
Can we generalize from the New Orleans disaster? Yes, we can.
Hurricane Katrina smoked out just about all of the essential weaknesses regarding readiness in America for future 9-11s. Now the jihadist planners know that many Mogidishus are possible within America, and they know now how to produce them.
Could New Orleans level disasters be produced in American cities? Even without the flooding, the answer is YES! We seem to be as unready mentally as we are physically both as governments and individuals. We are waiting to be waited on, and that is a fatal mistake.
However, we are Americans. We can and will correct these problems, but we cannot rely on government, to do it all. We must prepare ourselves at personal and local levels, and there is much more to be said about that.
To reiterate the lawn sign of the church in my small town: Failure is success, if you learn from it.