What the hell is going on in New Orleans?

I dont have time to trawl through all the posts and news items, but I want to know what is behind the major SNAFU in New Orleans. Sorry that this is yet anothe NO thread.

Why are people shooting at rescuers?
Why are rescuers shooting innocent people*?
Why are looters being stopped? I would have thought looting would be the least of the cities problems - many people are just trying to get food.
Why on earth are refugees being raped*? Are there prisoners on the loose?
And the question every one else is asking. What happened to the disaster recovery plan? I work in risk management and crisis management - these cities in the huricane zone should have plans in place to deal with these events. Implementation of such a plan was not evident.

This all sounds so bizarre. I would love to be enlightened.


I should point out that I am from Australia, so am not getting much news coverage on the hurricane event.

Why are people shooting at rescuers?

There are reports that at least some of the shots weren’t aimed at rescuers, but made in an attempt to get their attention, since helicopter after helicopter kept flying over people and leaving them stranded.

Why are rescuers shooting innocent people?*

Because there are bad apples in every bunch; because they’re scared shitless; because they’re stressed to their emotional and physical limits; they’re scared shitless; and now there’ll be even more killings now that “Combat operations are underway on the streets “to take this city back” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

Why are looters being stopped? I would have thought looting would be the least of the cities problems - many people are just trying to get food.

Because our Fearful Misleader declared that “looters… should be treated with “zero tolerance”,” that’s why.

Why on earth are refugees being raped? Are there prisoners on the loose?*

Yes. And drug addicts going through withdrawal and doing unspeakable things in order to get a “fix.”

And the question every one else is asking. What happened to the disaster recovery plan? I work in risk management and crisis management - these cities in the huricane zone should have plans in place to deal with these events. Implementation of such a plan was not evident.

It’s right here . I’m not sure anyone in the Louisiana government has ever even read it, though, seeing as how they didn’t implement a fucking thing in it.

Well it seems a devastating Category 5 hurricane was headed to New Orleans. A waterfront metropolis under sea level protected by levees that would only withstand a cat 3 hurricane. Something that people had been warning about for decades. The day the hurricane hit it seemed New Orleans was spared, yet again, the disaster that everyone was afraid of. The state next to it got hit alot harder. Everyone was breathing a sigh of relief and preparing to help the neighboring state when sometime in the middle Monday night one of the levees holding back a lake half the size of Rhode Island (our smallest state) broke and poured about 5 feet of water into the city of 1.2 million with maybe 100,000-200,000 people who wouldn’t or couldn’t evacuate when the order was given on Sunday either in their homes or in shoddily equipped shelters.

The rest is for hindsight to decide. Me, I think poor leadership, a false sense of security and the sucker punch of the levee breaking hours after the hurricane hit, led to a human catastrophe in the US never seen. It is also unprecedented. You have to imagine a city with the population ,roughly, of Brisbane being inundated with 5 feet of water, 9 feet below sea level, tens of thousands of it’s poorer residents spread through and local authority stranded or evacuated. And then take in what I said above about leadership and you have a mess to put it lightly.

Thanks for the info.
Shayna - I expect that that Emergency Operations Plan will soon be updated to contain a chapter on Consequence Management.

Perhaps the US Governments are too pre-occupied with ‘this terrorism thing’ (which is actually LOW risk) to be concerning themselves with high-risk events such as that just experienced.

The treatment of looters is disturbing. Resources should be turned elsewhere - like protecting people from the escaped prisoners.

Because Bush said this in a press interview you take it as a direct order to the civil authorities in New Orleans? That sounds much more like a knee-jerk swipe at Bush than a factual answer to the question.

Unless the local authorities have declared the city a “loot if you want zone”, the guys trying to keep order are going to stop looting when they see it. And they should. Lawlessness can be just as threatening to human life as floodwaters-- often more so.

How is looting a threat to human life? I would have thought allowing looting had more chance of preserving human life. If looting were allowed, you would not have people fighting over food or water - there would be more food available to all.

One of the first things looted were guns. Tying for first with expensive electronics and whatnot. Actual looting for survival came later. At least, that’s what I heard over the grapevine. Sorry, but Google is hating my computer right now.

But why on earth would they try to even prevent looting at all?

In the scheme of things looting is an insignificant problem. Perhaps the police or armed guards could have gone to the gun shops and confiscated all the weapons to prevent the gaol escapees and other bad people getting them. But still their efforts would have been more useful elsewhere.

Am I missing something?

You own a small shop. Your whole life’s investment is tied up in that shop. Looters arrive to take everything you own. What are you going to do?

Two groups arrive at the same time to loot a store. There is only enough loot for one group. How do they resolve that “problem”?

You can’t imagine any scenarios where looting would be dangerous? Come on. Looting isn’t a garden party, it’s crime. Yeah, there are some who just want to get food for their children, but surely you realize that’s only a part of what was going on.

‘So sorry, old chums! But as you can see, I’m still in possession of my retail emporium. Perhaps you should try Beauregard’s over on Rue Royale. I think he’s high-tailed it.’

There is an article in Slate today that addresses this question:

The Thin Line Blew: How a hurricane turned citizens into criminals.

After he explains how ordinary citizens can turn into petty thieves and how less ordinary citizens can turn into thugs, the author notes:

If you own a shop and people take all your food - cant you collect the insurance.

Would they be more interested in water damaged DVDs and TV sets or food and water?

Based on what has been observed…the former. Massive looting of non-essentials is going on, and according to a report just heard on the tube, police have started shooting armed looters. At least 6 shot so far, with several confirmed fatalities. About freaking time! People scrounging food and water and necessaries is one thing…looting is another.

Actually according to what I just read on CNN, the Army Corps of Engineers is saying that the 6 people shot were contractors on their way to repair a canal. One fucked up situation.

No doubt. CNN has an update that says the COE says that their contractors were NOT shot by the police.

Good lord this needs to get fixed…

Almost every bit of retail inventory is a total loss right now. It is either destroyed by water, is rotting, or is useless. Even if the inventory is dry and salvageable, there will be no one to purchase it. They should shoot the people who are shooting at them, protect the hospitals and pharmacies, and let the rest go.

I agree with your overall point, but you are missing some things due to lack of local experience. Guns are by no means confined to a handful of gun shops. Here they are sold in Wal-Mart, for example. Not to mention that many people who did evacuate probably left guns in their homes.

Also, AFAIK, it wasn’t like there was a specific jail or prison where criminals escaped from. New Orleans has a high crime rate, and the general criminal element was out and about, often already owning a gun or knowing where to get one.

Why such a big deal if people are taking stock that is not food? Why is that such a concern considering what has happened? Shooting somone for taking written-off, damaged stock is absurd.

Looting is looting. The concept of letting a criminal do whatever they want is what’s absurd.