Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Response To A Comment

One of the readers of this blog left a comment on a previous post that I'd like to address. Following my post, a reader by the name of Craig (here's his blog) left this comment...

I agree that blame seems to be everywhere, but noone seems to even want to acknowledge that there is any to be given out. My theory, which I detail on my site, is that the entitlement programs we have grown up with are to blame. We have become so dependents upon the government, that we don't do the things we should as preperation.
I responded with this...
It's a valid argument. I believe that as people have become more accustomed to government hand-outs (a.k.a. entitlements), they have come to expect the government to take care of them. There appears to be less self-reliance in those parts of society accustomed to living off the public dole.
Another reader, who calls herself Ann but won't give an email address or homepage, responded to my comments. I'll address them as I go...
So are you saying that the poor black citizens...
Why "poor black citizens"? Do you believe no poor white citizens were affected?
...with no resources (cars, money, connections, helicopters, etc) who actually did survive the most devastating hurricane ever to hit this country's shores, were supposed to rescue themselves from the flood caused by the busted levees? You know, the ones that the Corps of Engineers wanted to fix before their budgets were slashed (over and over again).
Actually, a little initiative might have saved some of those who died, and might have gotten lots of them out before the flooding trapped them. No money? Call a church and ask for help. Call a cab company and ask for a free lift. Ask a neighbor or friend or relative. Call a local charity. Maybe several people could have pooled their money and hired a cab. Many people believe, and I think the argument has some merit, that the more reliance people have on the government, the more complacent and needy they will become. When you have done less for your own benefit, because others are doing for you, you might tend to have troubles when fate puts you in a position of fending for yourself.

As for the Corps of Engineers comment, I have no idea what the budget needs and distributions have been for those levees over their 30 or 40 year lifespans. I do know that there are many people responsible for the work that should have been done to shore up the levees. Presidents (at least 8 over the last 40 years), governors, senators, representatives, mayors, local leaders, Louisiana Emergency Management officials, and who knows how many others. President Bush didn't write budget legislation funding or cutting funds for the levees. He didn't use the line-item veto to delete it from funding bills. If anyone deserves to be blamed for funding issues on those levees, it's Louisiana's elected leaders in DC (both Democrats and Republicans) who have had four decades to put the issue on the front burner and get it addressed.
This is how you justify the abandonment of the sick and hospitalized young? And what about the thousands of old folks in senior homes who were left to drown in sewage up to their eyeballs? How were they supposed to rescue themselves?
Actually, I blame the mayor directly for anyone hospitalized, in nursing care or in senior homes who were not evacuated. Thousands of city school buses and public transportation vehicles could have been brought out en masse and used to evacuate these people. Instead, they sat unused, like empty lifeboats on a sinking ship.
Don't you wonder why they were not evacuated while all those busses sat idle? When the state was declared to be in a state of emergency, and all the request actually were made (perhaps not to the letter of the law, but that never stopped rescue efforts in the past!).
I do wonder why the buses were never used. I have no idea why the Governor of Louisiana first turned down President Bush's request for federal assistance. I have no idea why Mayor Ray Nagin left thousands of school bus seats empty and unused, then chose to blame the President for what appear more and more to be failings at the local and state levels.

And unless I'm mistaken, the governor has the authority to call up the Louisiana National Guard in an emergency crisis. Why didn't she do this immediately? Why didn't she order thousands of troops into the city immediately? Why didn't she order vehicles and aircraft into the area to save lives immediately?
New Orleans, they were told, was too hard to get to. And yet there it sits at one of the most accessible points by water, land, or air, of any city in the nation. That, in fact, is why it even exists in the first place: incredible access.
That "incredible access" to water is what caused the entire crisis. The hurricane did virtually no damage to the city itself prior to the levees failing. Unlike thousands of square miles of devestation east of New Orleans, the city itself came through remarkably well until the waters overpowered the levees.
The blame falls squarely with the Federal Government, on FEMA and W especially. Heinous bigotry and incompetence.
It's clear you dislike the man, but how does President Bush "especially" fall to blame? Show me the "bigotry". You libs like to throw inflamatory comments around, but the never want to substantiate them with facts.

Let's see, most of the faces we saw in distress (in New Orleans) were black. Obviously that means (to a liberal) that they are suffering because they're black, and the white people must have been rescued first. How am I doing so far? But wait, the vast majority of people I saw conducting rescues, whether from boats or helicopters, were white. Does that mean that only white people cared enough to go rescue the needy? Of course not. That's absurd. Just as absurd as the complaints fro mthe left that the victims were left to their own devices because of their race. Two-thirds of the city of New Orleans is black. That means that the majority of the people left behind would probably be black. That's no racism, it's mathematics.
And the fact that they suspended rescue efforts for Laura's photo op (8 hours), and for W's photo op (locked down airspace, faked the levy repair efforts, etc.) is unforgivable. How many could have been rescued during that time? How many lives were lost. This culture of life language that sounded so good to me once, is complete bulls**t.
Your insensitivity is almost as staggering as the incompetence of this administration and its racist policies. Wake the f**k up.
As with all good Libs, the lack of hard facts and material to defend one's point leads to the inevitable personal attacks. With Ann, at least, it also leads to vulgarity. I have no idea where she's coming from with these last comments. Sounds like the ranting from the discussion groups at DemocraticUnderground.com

I don't know how many of you read the comments posted on this blog, so I wanted to address this directly in a post.