"the best post on the subject [of the Stockwell shooting] so far and I agree. A must read." - Tim Worstall, August 21, 2005

"Chris at Optimus In Omnis wrote a thoughtful post in July...his more recent post describes the edginess many Londoners feel" - BBC News Online, August 22, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

As some wave flags to attract attention, others steal

As the chiefs of New Orleans ordered a mass evacuation, the world wondered what would taint minds during such a disatrous occurence to take to the streets and steal from the businesses which, months from now, will be expected to set up shop once again and rebuild a tourist industry under one giant rotating cloud mass that was Hurricane Katrina and the doubts that it implanted in minds the world over about the safety of staying in a city entirely below sea level.

The juxtaposition of families, waving flags and umbrellas, holding up shoddily made signs saying "help us," and common criminals, armed and dangerous taking to the streets in packs, was a most disturbing one - more disturbing than the sight of mangled buildings swept up under a wave of water which still lies stagnant over a huge proportion of the city, and is ever rising. These vigilantes, despite their most ardent of protests, are not taking vital supplies for their families, such as food and water, but instead gold Rolex watches and jeans, selling them on at an astronomical profit. These criminals have been joined by some police officers, who, in the time of crisis, have fallen to their knees and taken the stance of 'if you can't beat them, join them.'

All the while New Orleans looks more and more like a scene from a disaster movie, or a real-life retelling of Lord of the Flies with a modern-day twist.

Carrying boxes of Nike trainers and American football jerseys, clothes hangers and all, they wade out into the polluted water. Police officers see them, and, despite their commanding to shoot those who take advantage of a city at it's most weakest, they ignore them. Some join in, taking their own profit. 10,000 National Guard members have been drafted in to replace those who defect in the face of animosity.

While the military were busy airlifting and driving people out of the New Orleans Superdome, towards their new temporary home in Houston, the forty-year old Astrodome, shots were fired at helicopters and fires were started near the Greyhound buses assigned with the task of herding over 10,000 from a warzone to the relative safety of a stadium which has laid derelict for four years. Within minutes, the operation was halted, and those still remaining in the Superdome were stranded for another day.

Inside that stadium the scenes of horror even topped those outside on the streets.

Three people have died; one comitting suicide by freefalling 50 feet. Stealing is rife, and rape is burgeoning. As the emergency generators are powered down at night to conserve energy, those with perverted minds see their opportunity to attack. One child has been sexually molested. It is not known if the perpetrator was caught - it is not known whether those inside the Superdome know who committed such an inhumane crime. Alarm bells are constantly ringing, and, with thousands upon thousands of people to keep alive, and the lawlessness seen outside the concrete boundaries of the american football stadium starting to creep in, along with firearms, it is the last priority.

One reporter, broadcasting from Biloxi, MS, another city crippled and overlooked, summed it all up. "I have seen better rescue missions in Africa," he said.

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