Friday, September 02, 2005

anarchy in the NO

I'm reprinting this verbatim because it might be hard to find on the blog page it's actually at:

The View from the Hampton Inn
Heard just now from an old journalism school friend, now living in Atlanta, who sent the following desperate message by e-mail:

I am hoping you can help. I am friends with a NOPD police officer Elizabeth Garcia. Things are MUCH MUCH worse in New Orleans. The inmates took over Central Lock up in New Orleans and took over the armory. They are targeting police and the police are under seige. She and 9 other police officers are running out of ammuntion and are being held down at the Hampton Inn across from the Convention Center. She just got her cell phone access and is calling everyone she knows to get out the information. They need assistance immediately. Please help in any way you can.

I called my friend just now to verify this. She said things have improved a bit since she sent the mail earlier this morning. She said that she got it to CNN, who relayed it to New Orleans authorities -- Ofc. Garcia couldn't even call the people across town to let them know. My friend, Lee, said that she spoke by phone to Officer Garcia (who, again, can't call anybody locally, but who can call out of the 504 and 225 area codes), who said the criminal gangs have automatic weaponry because they looted the police armory. According to Lee, Ofc. Garcia told her that the police can't help people because "anybody in a uniform is being targeted" by these gangs. NOPD is receiving reports of children being raped and killed by these thugs, but they are outgunned and powerless. "It's complete and total anarchy," Lee quoted Ofc. Garcia as saying.

I ask you: WHERE IS THE ARMY? WHY ARE WE LEAVING THESE AMERICANS TO SUFFER AND POSSIBLY DIE? Honestly, folks, I cannot believe federal authorities are leaving these police officers and civilians to this. Is this America, or Somalia? The government has failed. Is failing. It is an outrage. I promise you this: two weeks from now, two weeks from now, when the immediate crisis has passed, and the people who have had to live in the Superdome and Convention Center, and the police officers get out and tell their stories, we are all going to be thunderstruck by what our state and federal government allowed to happen because it did not respond quickly with a massive show of force to prevent anarchy. And the politicians will have hell to pay. I honestly think we can scarcely grasp how much Katrina will change American politics and society.

posted by Rod Dreher @ Sep 2, 1:28 PM

Normally I would consider Rod too conservative for my tastes, but he does at least try to be balanced, for which I'm willing to forgive a lot. Here though, I think he's nailed things dead on.

I may just have to hang loose here for a while, posting interesting stuff, not commenting too much. I find it ridiculous that we are even in the situation experienced in New Orleans, and I dont know if I can discuss it with the rational level required.
I will say this; it's obvious that the level of preparedness here has not been good; not only before the storm, but in the ability to react to it afterwards. I am beginning to become worried about the ability of our disaster relief forces to respond in the event of another terrorist attack. It's not like no one knew this could happen. I remember talk of this scenario last year. So a levy broke, rather than a surge overtopping it. The result is the same either way: a flooded city, misery, and death.

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