Hell on earth
September 4, 2005 11:13 AM   Subscribe

"They killed a man here last night." Stories of rapes, murders, and suicides are emerging from survivors of the "shelter" of the Superdome. From a National Guard soldier: "We found a young girl raped and killed in the bathroom. Then the crowd got the man and they beat him to death."
posted by cerebus19 (112 comments total)
 
Well, that answers the ridiculous question I saw in an earlier thread, paraphrased as "What's wrong with these people? Someone gets raped while thousands of people stand around and do nothing?"
posted by odinsdream at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2005


Do folk normally go completely feral within a matter of days in circumstances like this, or is there something peculiar to this situation? Bloody scary, anyway.
posted by jack_mo at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2005


Hillary Snowton, 40, sat with a white sheet wrapped around his face to shield himself from the smell of a dead body that lay, untouched, just metres away.

He had watched the body lie there for the past four days, decomposing in the sultry Louisiana climate.

He didn't see the point in moving away from the corpse, he told the Associated Press.

"It stinks everywhere."


God damn. That was so horrible to read it made me laugh. I wish it were just a joke.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2005


"Do folk normally go completely feral within a matter of days in circumstances like this, or is there something peculiar to this situation? Bloody scary, anyway."

Lord of the Flies.
posted by strikhedonia at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2005


Utterly appalling.

Do folk normally go completely feral within a matter of days in circumstances like this, or is there something peculiar to this situation?

I believe, that at any given time, we are only so far away from this sort of situation. People that are already deprived and whose souls have been twisted by a cruel environment are that much closer, and are the first to run riot when things get bad.

There's some moral similarity to Abu Graib. Why did people behave so badly there? Because they could, because they were the powerful in the situation, because they encouraged each other to. The Zimbardo experiments tell a lot about what human nature can be like when we change the civil agreement and remove the normal social context.

It's sick, it's repulsive, I hate these stories and I know they're true. I also know that there are deeply noble stories of humans banding together to protect one another and to prevent these things where they could. I watched a man on TV last night who went out finding diapers and infant formula, and then made the rounds of the convention center in a shopping cart looking for mothers in need. It doesn't make up for what happened, but it does tell us that we humans need to make moral choices, and that we can't let the depraved have the last word about who we are.
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2005


so pointless. What fucking animals.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 11:42 AM on September 4, 2005


What fucking animals

... humans are.
posted by reklaw at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2005


CNN is dumping glurge on me right now... "the whole affair is colorblind right now. Black people helping white people, white people helping black people." And celebrities are saying random sentimental things. There's also bad music playing.

It's like a fucking advertisement.


Sorry if that was off topic, I just needed to say it.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2005


People don't see the big picture when it comes to these kinds of economics. This "tough love" "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" crap is a cop out and it has created this kind of mass poverty where ignorance that causes these kinds of actions flourish.

...But in one week will be looking at photoshop phriday, driving our SUVs and eating McDonalds and Bush and his ilk will call it "bouncing back"; I will call it denial.

I am wodering how many more wake up calls we need.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2005



CNN is dumping glurge on me right now... "the whole affair is colorblind right now. Black people helping white people, white people helping black people." And celebrities are saying random sentimental things. There's also bad music playing.

It's like a fucking advertisement.


Sorry if that was off topic, I just needed to say it.

This kind of thing made me turn off MSNBC last night. On, I think it was the Tucker Carlson show, they played a montage of slo-mo escapees, accompanied by some sappy crappy pop song by Josh Groban or someone like that. This sin't a f*ing music video, you mass media creeps. The urge to process and package this reality in some way that's comfortable is EVIL. Resist it!
posted by Miko at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2005


What fucking animals.

After days of living in a hot, dark, smelly stadium and having nothing to eat or drink, and nowhere to go to the bathroom, of course people are going to go crazy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2005 [1 favorite]



I am wodering how many more wake up calls we need.


My personal hope that this event will be a sort of socialist alternative to 9-11. Not that the victims deserve to be used as a political backdrop, but that they will be anyways, and it would be better to be one that helps people.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2005


Not that the victims deserve to be used as a political backdrop

I actually think we owe it to them to seek change. To do that would be to move toward redeeming their stolen human dignity, not to use them.
posted by Miko at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2005


My personal hope that this event will be a sort of socialist alternative to 9-11. Not that the victims deserve to be used as a political backdrop, but that they will be anyways, and it would be better to be one that helps people.

There's a distinct difference between pointing to this event, and all the people helping eachother (or trying to despite federal backlash) and saying "look how people work well together" - and Bush holding up 9/11 for, god knows what. I still don't know how Bush has anything (good) to do with 9/11. He just thinks he does, and knows people rally around catastrophe. People working together are directly related to Katrina, so claiming Katrina as a "backdrop" isn't a political move, it's reality, whereas Bush using 9/11 is pure sleaze.
posted by odinsdream at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2005


After days of living in a hot, dark, smelly stadium and having nothing to eat or drink, and nowhere to go to the bathroom, of course people are going to go crazy.

I have lived in some really shitty circumstances; I won't go into it but they a re VERY comparable and for much longer amounts of time. But I have never had the desire to rape or kill anyone.

No matter the circumstances, it is never acceptable for people to act this way.

People have faced atrocities far worse without degrading to this behaviour.

If you can rape you can walk out of there. I heard Geraldo saying they were forced to stay in there. I doubt that. They could have, en mass, walked out. Do you really think that the National Guard would shoot at them? Who would want that PR Headache? Do you think that the Wall mart in Gretton would've have wanted to be the corporation who turned away all those people. Yes, Bush and Co. dropped the ball, big time. But Human common sense and DECENCY plays a role in this as well.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2005


Jesus Christ, Limewire, do you really think you know what these people are going through? What the hell are you getting at? Do you think there was someone standing guard outside the building and preventing anyone with a criminal record from entering?

William S. Burroughs wrote about a man who taught his asshole to talk, but he didn't predict that assholes would be taught to type.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:25 PM on September 4, 2005


I have lived in some really shitty circumstances; I won't go into it but they a re VERY comparable and for much longer amounts of time

Unless you're talking about living in a refugee camp in Darfur, I calll BULLSHIT.

I heard Geraldo saying they were forced to stay in there. I doubt that. They could have, en mass, walked out.

No, they couldn't have. As you would have known if you'd been paying attention (or watched Shep Smith's report on Fox the same time Geraldo was reporting), you would know that A) a checkpoint was set up at the bridge that led from New Orleans into Gretna specifically to PREVENT anyone from walking over out of NO, and B) after several days without food, water, and medicine, thousands of people (many elderly and children!) were literally too sick and weak to walk ANYWAY.
posted by scody at 12:26 PM on September 4, 2005


Also, pink, my socialist politics have no sympathy for rapists and murders.

"There is rapes going on here. Women cannot go to the bathroom without men. They are raping them and slitting their throats," (From the Article)
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:27 PM on September 4, 2005


They could have, en mass, walked out.

Perhaps. But Shepard Smith said some tried, and were turned back, presumably at gunpoint.

After days of living in a hot, dark, smelly stadium and having nothing to eat or drink, and nowhere to go to the bathroom, of course people are going to go crazy.

I'll point again to destro's thread. We don't actually know for sure what things happened, though the suicide and rape-murder seem to be confirmed to some extent. But as I said in that thread,

perhaps that the hurricane aftermath created in an instant a microcosm of the conditions of the ghetto. Economic disinvestment. Public protection absent. Collective efficacy smashed. I think this is a lesson from which we can learn a lot.
posted by dhartung at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2005


They could have, en mass, walked out.

Nothing creates a panic that leads to a stampede faster than a lot of people trying to get out of a narrow exit all at once. And you assume the people in the Superdome and the Convention Center were thinking rationally. I think we all know they weren't and I don't blame them.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2005


No, they couldn't have. As you would have known if you'd been paying attention (or watched Shep Smith's report on Fox the same time Geraldo was reporting), you would know that A) a checkpoint was set up at the bridge that led from New Orleans into Gretna specifically to PREVENT anyone from walking over out of NO, and B) after several days without food, water, and medicine, thousands of people (many elderly and children!) were literally too sick and weak to walk ANYWAY.

You know what I would have done? I would have gathered a bunch of people together and stormed the checkpoint. I would have said "no, I will not allow my daughter, sister, mother, (whatever) to be raped and murdered. I will not revert to a two year old. I and my friends will carry the sick on out backs, and push them in their wheel chairs. No I WILL NOT DIE TODAY. I WILL SURVIVE.

DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THE NATIONAL GAURD WOULD IN THIS DAY AND AGE IN AMERICA FIRE UPON UNARMED WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN AMERICA?

Give me a break.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:33 PM on September 4, 2005


Murder in the Thunderdome. Movie at eleven.
posted by jmccorm at 12:34 PM on September 4, 2005


Nothing creates a panic that leads to a stampede faster than a lot of people trying to get out of a narrow exit all at once. And you assume the people in the Superdome and the Convention Center were thinking rationally. I think we all know they weren't and I don't blame them.

Then start thinking; it's called survival instinct and rape has no part in it.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:35 PM on September 4, 2005


And who would have organized this walkout, livewire?
posted by dazed_one at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2005


And who would have organized this walkout, livewire? You'd have to be the President of the United States or something to get so many people co-ordinated and out of there at once.
posted by dazed_one at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2005


There's a huge psychological difference between living in an awful circumstance temporarily, and living in the same awful circumstance with nobody in charge and no expectation that anything will get better. I'd bet that the problem wasn't that these people were crammed in the Superdome for five days, but that they suddenly, completely lost all social order.
posted by jacobm at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2005


limewire, what the hell are you trying to say? Are you honestly saying there's something wrong with the people of New Orleans? Something wrong with blacks, maybe?


My socialist politics have no sympathy for those who refuse to empathize.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:39 PM on September 4, 2005


You know what I would have done? I would have gathered a bunch of people together and stormed the checkpoint.

Sure, I like to think that's what I would have done, too. But I've never encountered the circumstances that were going on at the Superdome -- and, again, unless you've lived in a fucking REFUGEE CAMP IN DARFUR, neither have you. So you cannot fucking announce with one fucking iota of credibility that you "know" what you would have done under those circumstances, and what everyone else "should" have done.

Otherwise, if you're so fucking smart, chief, why didn't you get on a fucking plane and go down there and lead the exodus? Obviously they were just waiting for you to show up.
posted by scody at 12:39 PM on September 4, 2005


I have a sick feeling that over the coming weeks the refugees are going to be painted as an army of Willie Hortons. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by maryh at 12:40 PM on September 4, 2005


Sadly, mary, I think you're spot-on. It's the only way the FoxNews crowd will be able to process this in order to keep their Dubya Uber Alles worldview alive.
posted by scody at 12:41 PM on September 4, 2005


But I have never had the desire to rape or kill anyone.

Anthropologically, that's because your social context remained intact. You may have been able to maintain it for any number of reasons: psychological training and preparation, the people surrouding you; structure and routine; environmental cues. Sometimes people (POWs come to mind) are able to maintain their social context in isolation; it takes a tremendous effort of will and very strong initial mental health to do so.

As Zimbardo's work indicates, once those protective factors are removed, social control evaporates and even self-control begins to seem strangely arbitary. The self-preservation and power instinct take over. Altruism dies.

No matter the circumstances, it is never acceptable for people to act this way.

I totally agree with that. Absolutely. I do. It's unacceptable. It's the whole reason we have created societies; to avoid this. But we need to create functional societies to avoid it, because it is always there, under the surface. Dysfunctional societies -- or, suddenly, no society at all -- will bring it right to the surface. Horrifying but true.

I would rather doubt this myself. But my examination of human moral development after Abu Graib led me to reluctantly admit that we contain the seeds of both good and evil. There is a preponderance of evidence -- Ill add the Milgram experiments on cruelty.

In these bad situations, much depends on our personalities. Some would choose passive tolerance of horrendous conditions; some would step in and try to organize, but would continue only if encouragement was received from others; and some would riot. It is not defensible. That is why we need to maintain strong and mentally healthy societies. Clearly, in Katrina's path and in the US as a whole, we've failed.
posted by Miko at 12:42 PM on September 4, 2005


You know what I would have done? I would have gathered a bunch of people together and stormed the checkpoint. I would have said "no, I will not allow my daughter, sister, mother, (whatever) to be raped and murdered. I will not revert to a two year old. I and my friends will carry the sick on out backs, and push them in their wheel chairs.
<snark>Damn, Livewire, too bad you weren't there then.</snark>

Seriously, it's really easy to speculate on how you would behave in an extraordinary situation. Much harder to actually do it.
posted by jacobm at 12:43 PM on September 4, 2005


Do you think there was someone standing guard outside the building and preventing anyone with a criminal record from entering?

NO, THAT'S WHY I WOULD HAVE LEFT; PAY ATTENTION TO THE THREAD.

posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2005


But I have never had the desire to rape or kill anyone.

I've got bad news for you, Limewire. A lot of people have had the desire to rape. I've had the desire. It's called a fantasy, and it's part of being human. Maybe you're all about having a "pure mind," but that doesn't make you any better than an ethical person with a dirty mind.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:48 PM on September 4, 2005


NO, THAT'S WHY I WOULD HAVE LEFT; PAY ATTENTION TO THE THREAD.

and just where the hell ELSE would you have gone? PAY ATTENTION TO REALITY.
posted by scody at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2005



NO, THAT'S WHY I WOULD HAVE LEFT; PAY ATTENTION TO THE THREAD.


Have fun in the hurricane, and have fun being beaten by bandits.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2005


I'll point again to destro's thread. We don't actually know for sure what things happened,

You could say that about any number of stories coming out of new orleans, both positive and negative. But it seems, at least on metafilter, we only question what challenges our beliefs. Helicopters are being shot, question it. Incompetence at the federal level, we assume it to be true.

perhaps that the hurricane aftermath created in an instant a microcosm of the conditions of the ghetto. Economic disinvestment. Public protection absent. Collective efficacy smashed. I think this is a lesson from which we can learn a lot.

And some people are simply ready to take advantage of any situation. A very small minority for sure, but for them the only lesson to be learned is humans can sometimes be evil. No over analyzing needed.
posted by justgary at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2005


Here's my final take and then you all can bicker back and forth with someone else.

The federal Government dropped the ball. These people have it very hard; but that is no excuse for rape and murder. NO EXCUSE.

As for you jacobm: maybe you would have been in there so you could do some on the spot counselling or the rapists. You could have brought your sister, girlfriend or mother along. That shoe can very easily fit on the other foot.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2005


Do folk normally go completely feral within a matter of days in circumstances like this, or is there something peculiar to this situation? Bloody scary, anyway.

Do website members normally go completely dailykos within a matter of days in circumstances like this, or is there something peculiar to this situation? Bloody scary, anyway.

:)
posted by mathowie at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2005


Helicopters are being shot, question it.

This was sensationally reported as hearsay without any attribution for several days.

Incompetence at the federal level, we assume it to be true.

That, I could see with my own eyes.
posted by Miko at 12:54 PM on September 4, 2005


These people have it very hard; but that is no excuse for rape and murder. NO EXCUSE.

Nobody was excusing it. They were recognizing it.
posted by Miko at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2005


Incompetence at the federal level, we assume it to be true.

FACT: Governors of multiple states offered on SUNDAY to mobilize National Guard units to help New Orleans in anticipation of severity of storm.

FACT: President Bush did not take up said offers until WEDNESDAY.

I take it you assume that represents competence? What, exactly, would incompetence look like to you? Seriously. I'd love to know.
posted by scody at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2005


Livewire, I don't think anybody here is excusing rape and murder. We know it's bad. We're explaining the situations that lead to such violence being spawned and how the victims of said violence couldn't really escape it. Sure, they could rush the doors (and hve many die in the stampede, mind you) but where would they go after that?

I think we're arguing a non-existant arguement.
posted by dazed_one at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2005


Have fun in the hurricane, and have fun being beaten by bandits.

Did someone forget to notify me that they were an asshat?

When i was a kid my town in Kansas (very close to Lawrence, Kansas where we later moved to and I got a job twice a week mowing lawns... BTW William S. Burroughs was one of customers and he gave a couple pieces of his art as well) was devastated by a series of tornadoes. You know what? My dad didn't jump the gate and start raping the next-door neighbour’s kids. We helped others get their lives back together.

I didn't hear about anyone roaming the streets in the wake of 9/11 raping and looting either. These people in NO have not handled this well. Full stop. Niether has the Bush and Co. We as Americans have fucked up in general it's time we start over.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2005


but where would they go after that?

The next town, the next state... Anywhere but there.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 1:00 PM on September 4, 2005


If not blaming the raped and murdered for being raped and murdered makes me an asshat, then hello good sir, I am an asshat.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:02 PM on September 4, 2005


Livewire, the all caps really adds to your credibility.

DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THE NATIONAL GAURD WOULD IN THIS DAY AND AGE IN AMERICA FIRE UPON UNARMED WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN AMERICA?

Well, it wouldn't be the first time if they did, oh you of short memory.

And with all the talk of martial law and declaring combat operations against the "insurgency"... well, frankly, yes, I do think that could easily happen again.

[on preview, I see you're getting more and more absurd as time goes on; I'm not going to bother trying to keep up.]
posted by ook at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2005


What do you propose be done to "these people in NO"? Furthermore, the situations you described are completely different, at least in the sense we are discussing. No-one in New York was held inside a staadium with thousands of others, in the dark, with little food, little water, no medicine, corpses all around for a week. I don't know about your personal experience either, but if they were similar to what I just listed, then I doubt I would've missed the massive news and media response. What stadium were you in? How many thousands of people were with you?
posted by dazed_one at 1:05 PM on September 4, 2005


Limewire makes a good omega wolf.
Ah, it is so good to be ANIMAL.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:07 PM on September 4, 2005


I didn't hear about anyone roaming the streets in the wake of 9/11 raping and looting either. These people in NO have not handled this well. Full stop.

Woah.

A> "these people"?? this conversation is about a few criminals, not all of new orleans.

B> 9/11? 2 office buildings. big ones, yes. and a terrorist attack. all kinds of ramifications and bad stuff. but new orleans? an estimated 350,000 homes damages or destroyed and a full evacuation. one that isn't going so well.

I think you need to really step back and decide if you stand behind that statement. To just paint an entire traumatized town as "bad people" who should have "handled themselves better" is, well, one of the crazier things I've read in a while.
posted by zaack at 1:08 PM on September 4, 2005


devastated by a series of tornadoes

There's something about the scale of this you're not getting.

And you haven't processed my earlier points about prior mental health and social context.
posted by Miko at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2005


As for you jacobm: maybe you would have been in there so you could do some on the spot counselling or the rapists. You could have brought your sister, girlfriend or mother along. That shoe can very easily fit on the other foot.
Wha? I feel like this is some sort of barb, but I have no idea what it's supposed to mean. All I was trying to suggest was that we know from copious experience that people are very bad at estimating how they would react when placed under extreme stress — see Stanley Milgram's book "Obedience to Authority" for instance, or just observe over time the extreme disparity between all statements in any Metafilter thread ever of the form "If it had been me, I'd've ..." versus what the people in the situation actually did.

I certainly think, from my perspective here 1000 miles away in my apartment watching CNN, that it would have been great for those people to do exactly what you suggest, ignore the National Guard and just exit en masse. I even like to think I would have led that initiative. But I don't believe I would have, and I don't believe you or anybody else here would've, for the simple reason that of the thousands there, nobody did.
posted by jacobm at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2005


I have lived in some really shitty circumstances; I won't go into it but they a re VERY comparable and for much longer amounts of time.

After almost 3 years of lurking here at MeFi, this comment got me to sign up.

Okay, you can't raise that specter without giving us a hint as to what or where you lived like this. Jail or prison doesn't count, as far as I'm concerned-even prisons have some sense of order.

Not many people have mentioned this (that I have read) so I will. With, let's say, 20,000 people left in NOLA after the storm, how many of these folks are on mental health meds? I couldn't dare to guess. How many are there that need (whether you like it or not) narcotics such as heroin to maintain? Suddenly all of there people are mixed in with the rest of the population without their drugs or medications in totally chaotic surroundings. Things are bound to get ugly.

Even under the best circumstances, 20,000 people in one place are bound to create some violence. Wasn't there a Woodstock or Lalapalooza show a couple years ago with violence and rapes in the crowd? And to think, that was almost all white kids that went there by choice.
posted by glycolized at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2005


this conversation is about a few criminals, not all of new orleans

Exactly.

Most people I have seen have appeared quite civilized.


posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on September 4, 2005


Welcome, glyocolized.

You know, there's a big bunch of rich white guys up here that have a big ol' riot about twice every year. They don't even need a hurricane! It's called the opening of UNH for the new academic year.
posted by Miko at 1:14 PM on September 4, 2005


Do folk normally go completely feral within a matter of days in circumstances like this, or is there something peculiar to this situation? Bloody scary, anyway.

What pisses me off about all this is the failure to isolate what were probably isolated cases of barberism. New Orleans had a high crime rate, a high murder rate long before Katrina hit. Some of those people got into the superdome, and maybe a handfull of people acted out this way, but thats what dominates the discussion. It's not as if every one of them turned into an animal, it was just a handful. One girl got raped, and the rapist was beaten to death.

there were 10 thousand people in there. if even one tenth of one percent were fucked up to start with, that's 10 people out there doing crazy shit. Those are the stories you are going to hear about. And it's a copout for the government lovers "Yeah, the government screwed up, but look at those freaks!"

Whatever, the vast majority of the dead bodies were caused by starvation, etc.

I have lived in some really shitty circumstances; I won't go into it but they a re VERY comparable and for much longer amounts of time. But I have never had the desire to rape or kill anyone.

Maybe you didn't. but nether did the vast, overwhelming number of people in the superdome. It was a few bad seeds, and I'm willing to bet that there were a few bad seeds where you were, as well. If the situation was compareable, which I doubt.

You know what I would have done? I would have gathered a bunch of people together and stormed the checkpoint. I would have said "no, I will not allow my daughter, sister, mother, (whatever) to be raped and murdered. I will not revert to a two year old. I and my friends will carry the sick on out backs, and push them in their wheel chairs. No I WILL NOT DIE TODAY. I WILL SURVIVE.

Ohh, how touching. But you almost certainly would not actually do that. Nor would most people. Most people would look around to see what everyone else was doing, and then keep doing that. The few people who tried to leave, and were told not to will turn back. I'm sure there was some desire to 'maintain order' in order to give the appearance of being civilized, and I'm sure most of the people were still hoping that the government would come and rescue them (which they eventually did). Maybe thought that if they acted that way they wouldn't be helped.

And where, exactly, were they supposed to go? Walk miles and miles to get to somewhere not flooded? The superdome had some food, at least.

Then start thinking; it's called survival instinct and rape has no part in it.

No shit, but you think someone who was already a rapist might try to take advantage of the lawlessness? Idiot. It wasn't the superdome that turned someone into a rapist.

NO, THAT'S WHY I WOULD HAVE LEFT; PAY ATTENTION TO THE THREAD

You would not have left. Also, you don't know much about Social Psychology.
posted by delmoi at 1:14 PM on September 4, 2005


Back to a more realistic discussion--I heard it said that the Navy decided to help without any government directive. Does anyone have the news source for this?
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2005


Livewire, you're utterly full of it. You probably also think you would have single-handedly kept one of the planes from hitting the WTC.
posted by geekgal at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2005


Livewire, you were in a fucking tornado in Lawrence, KS and you think you know what's going on in New Orleans? Are you out of your ever-loving MIND? Because guess what? I've been in a tornado in the exact same city and IT DOESN'T COMPARE. Not on any scale of reality. The comparison is like that of a toy train to a fucking locomotive. You either have absolutely no idea of the actual magnitude of what's actually happened in NO, or you have such an unhinged sense of self-involvement that you think you've actually been through the same thing.
posted by scody at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2005


What pisses me off about all this is the failure to isolate what were probably isolated cases of barberism

Important point. Had there been any order, this behavior would have been contained.
posted by Miko at 1:17 PM on September 4, 2005


Bing. delmoi nails it in one post.
posted by dazed_one at 1:18 PM on September 4, 2005


It just wasn't what they thought it was going to be:
"Forty-four soldiers pressed together in their truck, swaying as one at every bump and turn like reeds in a river.

...The soldiers, members of an elite Special Response Team from the Louisiana Army National Guard, were the first convoy out of what is rapidly becoming a massive military staging ground. Their mission, simply, is to turn New Orleans into a police state--to 'regain the city,' said 1st Sgt. John Jewell.... the order came at the intersection of Poydras and Carondelet Streets: 'Lock and load!'

...But when they arrived, they did not find marauding mobs. They did not come under fire. They found people who had lost everything in the storm and, since then, their dignity. The soldiers were part of the Superdome team that came to town before the hurricane. For days, they had been cut off from media reports, sleeping and working among the refugees and the vicious rumor mill at the stadium.

Their Superdome duties left them with a terrible image of the city. They knew that out on the streets, a police officer had been shot in the head, that looting was widespread, that snipers were taking potshots even at boaters trying to rescue victims from rooftops and attics.

Now assigned to patrol the streets, they headed for the convention center in the city's central business district.

Their mission was to establish a command post at the site, which officials have increasingly turned their attention to, particularly as the evacuation of the Superdome neared its end. They would then build a staging area to bring in food and water. Finally, they would send in teams of soldiers to seize control of a massive and lawless facility.

The soldiers braced for the worst.

Two trucks pulled beside them, one carrying water and one a massive pile of ready-to-eat military meals in boxes.

They pulled into a parking lot next to the convention center in full battle mode. They spilled out of the truck, formed a tight circle and began walking outward, stepping over the detritus of the refugees. Dirty underwear. A compact disc.

A troop carrier rolled over an empty bottle of water, popping it like a balloon. The soldiers yanked their weapons to a firing position before realizing what it was.

No one came at them but a nurse. She was wearing a T-shirt that read: 'I love New Orleans.' She ran down a broken escalator, then held her hands in the air when she saw the guns.

'We have sick kids up here!' she shouted. 'We have dehydrated kids! One kid with sickle cell!'

'You've got to do something,' said the nurse.

Children slept on laps and on the ground. There was an elderly emphysema patient as well as a diabetic.

'We'll get you some help as soon as some people get here,' said Lt. James Magee.

Frankie Estes, 80, said she was glad to see the troops. It was a glimmer of hope. Friday marked her fifth night sleeping on the sidewalk in front of the convention center.

'I haven't had food or water for three days,' she said. "' didn't know if I was going to make it.'

By Friday night, dinner had been served to an endless line of refugees. Helicopters had begun airlifting the most critically ill. The soldiers had found their mission. It just wasn't what they thought it was going to be."
posted by ericb at 1:20 PM on September 4, 2005


You would not have left. Also, you don't know much about Social Psychology.

No I would've have left on the 28th or 29th like the 450,000 other residents did. Asshole.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 1:27 PM on September 4, 2005


ook that was 1970. about 35 years ago! WEAK ARGUMENT.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 1:28 PM on September 4, 2005


From the story that ericb posted
For days, they [the NG troups at the superdome] had been cut off from media reports, sleeping and working among the refugees and the vicious rumor mill at the stadium.

Their Superdome duties left them with a terrible image of the city. They knew that out on the streets, a police officer had been shot in the head, that looting was widespread, that snipers were taking potshots even at boaters trying to rescue victims from rooftops and attics.

That probably explains the main reason they didn't leave. The people inside the superdome thought the rest of the city, the outside of the superdome was worse then the inside. Even the few troups stationed there.
posted by delmoi at 1:28 PM on September 4, 2005


Sigh... my cousin blamed the people for staying. I didn't feel like arguing with her, explaining how tens of thousands of people without cars can't all hitchhike, how they might not have known how bad it was going to be, or how the U.S. government could have used the military to transport those people out of there.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:30 PM on September 4, 2005


No I would've have left on the 28th or 29th like the 450,000 other residents did. Asshole.

Oh, I see, you own a car.

Anyway, earlier your were speaking about what your hypothetical self would have done if traped in the superdome with the hypothetical 10,000 maniacs. And I was discussing that scenario.
posted by delmoi at 1:30 PM on September 4, 2005


No I would've have left on the 28th or 29th like the 450,000 other residents did. Asshole.

Well, many didn't have the means to leave...Living Paycheck to Paycheck Made Leaving Impossible.

Also, what about the hundreds of doctors who were in New Orleans for their annual "Infectious Disease" Conference and had no way out? I saw them interviewed and they ended up in the upper-floor ballroom at the Ritz Carlton. They ended-up "looting" (er, I mean, "finding") antibiotics from a Walgreen's across the street, so that they could treat other ill "refugees."

What about the 50 tourists -- many from foreign countries -- who having not previously known each other, banded together and made their way to the Riverwalk Marketplace where they "found" provisions in the food court.

Surely, these folks bear responsibility for their plight!
posted by ericb at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2005


ook that was 1970. about 35 years ago! WEAK ARGUMENT.

Livewire, Everything you posted has been a weak argument. My city, Ames, IA was once flooded along with Des Moines, and lots central Iowa. There wasn't anything like this because the response was immediate. I don't know much about your horrible tornado, but I'm sure you weren’t packed in with 10,000 other people with no food and no water and no information for 5 days.
posted by delmoi at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2005


Interesting how everyone is talking to Limewire, as he says more and more inflammatory things in a non-contingent fashion... could this be what they call "trolling?"
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2005


Livewire, your argument has run its course. You haven't refuted any of the points, and you seem not to have incorporated the factual detail of the disaster into your thinking. We now know you consider yourself smarter and more moral than the 50,000 suffering victims. You have achieved your goal: for your own conscience to rest easily. Meanwhile, there is what actually happened and is happening.
posted by Miko at 1:35 PM on September 4, 2005


Citizen Premier. You right.
posted by Miko at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2005


Rapes and murders are unacceptable, we all agree on that. That it happened to people already experiencing compounding tragedies (hurricane, evacuation, loss of home, loss of livelihood, loss of control over their circumstances/situation -- inadequate food/shelter/personal hygiene facilities) is doubly horrible.

Yet to focus strictly on the rape(s) and murder(s) that have been reported in N.O., or worse use it as the basis for judgment on the entire populace of the City of New Orleans, is wrong. Even when major cities are functioning normally -- that is to say, NOT flooded, NOT in a state of emergency/crisis/evacuation -- there are bad things that happen. Every single day in every major city there are going to be one or more murders, assaults, rapes, drug use and/or other bad things happening. That's *with* a fully functioning police force (one presumes, anyway) and civil structure. Without that, all bets are off.

In a bad situation, bad things happen. That doesn't make it right, but it also doesn't signal some moral or spiritual defect of the collective group experiencing the tragedy. If anything, it's a reminder of defects in society at large and humanity in general. Defects that, while rare, exist in any reasonable sample size of humans on Earth.
posted by geekgal at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2005


My guess is Limewire is referring to his time at boarding school - it was very hard on the smaller ones, being thrust in with five or six other boys, night after night after festering night... Breeds a great deal of resentment does boarding school.
posted by benzo8 at 1:38 PM on September 4, 2005


I am not at all sure that this entire Katrina event has made the impact on middle-class white America that it has had on internet discussion boards.

Here in Vegas, I have seen very little, no make that, virtually no response among the Labor Day revelers. Not even The Orleans, one of the largest just-off-the-Strip casinos, had any indication whatsoever that its namesake city was drowning in a toxic pool, but boy, the place was packed!

Backing up, on Wednesday night when I spun the TV through the local stations, the networks were all broadcasting the usual entertainment fare.

The loudest complaints I have heard (and I admit this is all anecdotal) were about gas prices.
posted by mischief at 1:39 PM on September 4, 2005


This may be the stupidest question ever. But....
How are news organizations getting these quotes? Is there a reporter they drop in to take notes, and then they take him away to safety? Im not being a smartass, I just don't get it.
posted by ackeber at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2005


Miko and Citizen Premier. You're right. His baseless ranting has run its course. Time to "ignore" him..
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2005


I take it you assume that represents competence? What, exactly, would incompetence look like to you? Seriously. I'd love to know.

You're reading more into my post than is there. I'm not saying there wasn't federal incompetence. It's obvious. What I'm saying is that every little claim that comes out claiming incompetence is take as true with no questioning. The shooting at relief workers is immediately questioned.

Incompetence at the federal level, we assume it to be true.

That, I could see with my own eyes.
posted by Miko


You know what you've been fed, unless you have very good eyes (from n.h.). Don't get me wrong, a picture is worth a thousand words, but this idea that we have a grip on what's going on from behind our computer screen is faulty. And again, I meant specific instances.
posted by justgary at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2005


No I would've have left on the 28th or 29th like the 450,000 other residents did. Asshole.
...
ook that was 1970. about 35 years ago! WEAK ARGUMENT.


I can't tell if your a very stupid man or a very smart troll, but in either case you're a dick.
posted by Bonzai at 1:45 PM on September 4, 2005


My socialist politics have no sympathy for those who refuse to empathize.


WHAT? You're criticising livewire for lack of empathy because he says there was no excuse for rape and murder in this situation? If you are, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. That's no socialism I know anything about.

He's absolutely right: there was no - none - not ONE excuse for rape and murder in this situation. NOT ONE. Get a grip on your thinking.
posted by Decani at 1:45 PM on September 4, 2005


This may be the stupidest question ever. But....
How are news organizations getting these quotes? Is there a reporter they drop in to take notes, and then they take him away to safety? Im not being a smartass, I just don't get it.


The media -- print, television, etc. -- have been "on-the-ground" since Monday. More than once I have seen correspondants discuss how easy it was/is for them to get "in-and-out" of New Orleans all week -- and such has beffudled them as to why the federal relief effort couldn't get there as easily and quickly as them.

On Wednesday evening's broadcast of the NBC Nightly News Brian Williams actually showed their crew's departure from the city and the subsequent return to their television command post in the French Quarter. He, Marty Savage and Carl Quintanilla (who have all had combat coverage experience) have been incredulous all week. They were able to get food and supplies for their crew, as well as access the Superdome and Convention Center all week.
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on September 4, 2005


You know what you've been fed, unless you have very good eyes (from n.h.). Don't get me wrong, a picture is worth a thousand words, but this idea that we have a grip on what's going on from behind our computer screen is faulty.

Dude, I'm a media junkie, my mother is the editor of a newspaper, I worked for several years as a reporter myself, and I have family in East Texas. I don't 'get fed' information, I actively seek it. I'm not sitting in front of MeFi 24/7 gathering all my news via posts. I'm multi-sourcing, reading the documents, and viewing live feed. I know there's more to the story out there, always is. But you'd have to be reading some pretty narrow sources to think that everything was going smoothly, wouldn't you?
posted by Miko at 1:48 PM on September 4, 2005


Ill add the Milgram experiments on cruelty.

Milgram was actually about acquiescence to authority -- how far people would go (shockingly far) in hurting another human being when told to do so -- by an absent authority figure, by one present but not near, and by one standing over your shoulder telling you to do it. Not really applicable here, though I know that Milgram and Stanford/Zimbardo get trotted out every time people do inhumane things.

If you do want to generalize from these results, I would suggest that the National Guardsmen at that checkpoint would be very hard to predict in terms of what they'd do when facing what they perceive to be a "mob" crashing the gate.
posted by dreamsign at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2005



My socialist politics have no sympathy for those who refuse to empathize.


WHAT? You're criticising livewire for lack of empathy because he says there was no excuse for rape and murder in this situation? If you are, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. That's no socialism I know anything about.

He's absolutely right: there was no - none - not ONE excuse for rape and murder in this situation. NOT ONE. Get a grip on your thinking.



That was a joke--a self-referential joke. Read a little more into what livewire (hmm, I've been saying limewire all this time!) is saying and you'll see what I mean.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:54 PM on September 4, 2005


Do you really think that the National Guard would shoot at them?

Yes. Troops have and always will follow orders.
posted by Skwirl at 1:55 PM on September 4, 2005


"Miko and Citizen Premier. You're right. His baseless ranting has run its course. Time to "ignore" him.."

Yes, as I said in another thread, please don't feed the sociopathic narcissist. Thank you.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:58 PM on September 4, 2005


Breaking news: Police in New Orleans have shot eight armed people on a bridge. Five or six are dead.
posted by mischief at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2005


That's true, dreamsign. I just added it because it did offer some interesting findings regarding when or whether people's internal moral code was strong enough for them to refuse the authority figure. It was meant to refute the idea that most people consult only an internal moral code, and take no cues from the environment.

During the experiment, Milgram tracked the percentage of people who were willing to challenge an authority figure who asked them to administer increasingly painful and finally, fatal shocks to a test subject. Unbeknownst to the subject, the shocks were fake. Presumably, if a challenge occured, it would be because the individual's conscience overrode his or her desire to submit to authority.

From Wikipedia:
many people begin to indicate their desire to stop the experiment and check on the subject. Many test subjects stop at 135 volts and begin to question the purpose of the experiment. Some continue after being assured that they will not be held responsible. Some participants even begin to laugh nervously once they hear the screams of pain coming from the learner.

If, at any time, the subject indicates his desire to halt the experiment he is given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, such as: "The experiment requires that you continue. Please go on." If the subject still wishes to stop after four successive verbal prods, the experiment is halted.

In the original experiment, though some went to the end of the shocks (450 volts), everyone stopped at some point and questioned the experiment. Others even said they would return the check for the money they were paid. Later results and multiple test set-ups showed that the closer the teacher was to the learner the sooner he stopped.


Also:
Before the experiment was conducted Milgram polled fellow psychologists as to what the results would be. They unanimously believed that only a few sadists would be prepared to give the maximum voltage.

In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent (27 out of 40) of experimental participants administered the experiment's final 450-volt shock, though many were quite uncomfortable in doing so. No participant stopped before the 300-volt level. Variants of the experiment were later performed by Milgram himself and other psychologists around the world with similar results. Apart from confirming the original results the variations have tested variables in the experimental setup.

Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland (who is also the author of a biography of Milgram, called The Man who shocked the World) performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment (done at various times since, in the US and elsewhere). He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, between 61% and 66%, regardless of time or location.


It's true the study wasn't designed to test capacity for cruelty. But its findings do indicate that the conscience and the desire to be obedient are sometimes in conflict, and that the conscience does not always win. That was the point I was making -- that one cannot always confidently state "I would never do such a thing!"
posted by Miko at 2:06 PM on September 4, 2005


This may be the stupidest question ever. But....How are news organizations getting these quotes? Is there a reporter they drop in to take notes, and then they take him away to safety? Im not being a smartass, I just don't get it.

From the Open Letter to Bush from the Times Picayune:
”Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It's accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.

How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.

Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a ‘Today’ show story Friday morning.

Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

….No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn't be reached.”
posted by ericb at 5:43 PM on September 4, 2005


‘Tribes’ find way to survive in French Quarter
”In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming ‘tribes’ and dividing up the labor….While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods — humanity. Read more.
posted by ericb at 5:47 PM on September 4, 2005


But you'd have to be reading some pretty narrow sources to think that everything was going smoothly, wouldn't you?
posted by Miko


I agree with you Miko. I'm merely saying that there are stories there that haven't been written, that have been exaggerated, stories where parts are missing, etc. but we seem more skeptical of some stories than others.
posted by justgary at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2005


What does it take for Bush to meet with members of the NAACP after over five years of his administration?

One guess.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:14 PM on September 4, 2005


we seem more skeptical of some stories than others.

OK. Speaking only for me, I've tried to hold an open opinion of most things that aren't supported by direct visual or documentary evidence. When I've stuck up for Nagin, or evacuees, or whoever, it's because I want to fend off premature conclusions before the information is in. Premature conclusions like "Aid didn't go in because helicopters were being fired on. People who got stuck there were stupid and deserve to die. This whole thing is Nagin's/Blanco's/whoever's fault."

I do still want to know plenty more about what happened with the governors -- of all the states, not just La -- and the mayor. I want to know how the disaster plan script was supposed to run. I want to know exactly what the federal role was supposed to be, and when (though almost all sources indicate the plan was for them to be involved earlier. We'll find out.) I want to see a full timeline. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and we may be surprised by some of the answers. But there are a lot of early hypotheses emerging that do seem to be warranted, and will probably stick unless proven incorrect.

Questioning some stories and not others is also a natural and logical result of past experience. It's just the healthy use of a bullshit detector. I don't question stories that say the earth is round; there's loads of evidence. I question ones that say the earth is flat and there's something wrong with my eyes if I can't see that. See what I mean?

Questioning stories from certain sources, or about certain people, is sometimes a sign of strong political bias, but sometimes it's a sign that those sources or people have proven themselves unreliable in the past. You evaluate their information differently - just as parents do with children. Once they've lied to you once, you know forever after that that it's something they're capable of trying, so you look for further evidence. And some of the people we're questioning have lied to us.

And the snarky comments about Bush? That's just entertainng. However, no single person will bear the blame based on snarky comments. There are facts out there. They need to be found. If and when they are, history will be the judge.
posted by Miko at 6:18 PM on September 4, 2005


Oh, and the NYT just put together the first timeline. This is the best thread to drop it in at the moment, I'm afraid.
posted by Miko at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2005


Your link goes to Microsoft.com, Miko.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:28 PM on September 4, 2005 [1 favorite]


Dammit, you've gotta go to the homepage and go to "Retracing the Storm" and click on the word "graphic" because I can't figure out why my link doesn't work. The article expands upon the graphic.
posted by Miko at 6:29 PM on September 4, 2005


I smell a TV show in the making.

I know, I know, I'm cruel.
posted by Mach3avelli at 6:31 PM on September 4, 2005


"DO YOU HONESTLY THINK THE NATIONAL GAURD WOULD IN THIS DAY AND AGE IN AMERICA FIRE UPON UNARMED WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN AMERICA?"

Some certainly would. Some of 'em have had plenty of practice firing upon unarmed women and children in Iraq.

You ain't read much history, have you?
posted by davy at 6:45 PM on September 4, 2005


Miko writes "Dammit, you've gotta go to the homepage and go to 'Retracing the Storm' and click on the word 'graphic' because I can't figure out why my link doesn't work. The article expands upon the graphic."

http://http//www.nytimes.com/packages/html/national/2005_HURRICANEKATRINA_GRAPHIC/index_02.html


Your link failed 'cause of the extra http// that snuck in there... Try this...
posted by benzo8 at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2005


Mike's link had an extra http in it

Does this work
posted by stevil at 6:48 PM on September 4, 2005


Grazie folks. I usually don't use that 'link' function....that's what I get for working too fast. Apologies
posted by Miko at 6:50 PM on September 4, 2005


Open question: were there any reports of crimes like this (rape/murder specifically) in the aftermath of the tsunami? I can't recall any but I wasn't following the on-the-ground reporting of that as closely as this, not least because the rescue operation swung into effect so quickly.
posted by Hogshead at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2005


Hogshead:
For your reading
posted by geekgal at 7:05 PM on September 4, 2005


Okay, to summarise the results of geekgirl's link (to a Google result for "tsunami rape"): widespread fear of rape and kidnapping in the refugee camps. Many people reporting they had heard stories of women being raped and/or abducted. Several reports of sexual abuse and harassment. Three cases of rape investigated by the police, one of them a gang-rape, none of rape/murder.
posted by Hogshead at 7:21 PM on September 4, 2005


Google's hardly the only source in the world, of course. The link was just an initial -- yup, looks like there were "reports of crimes like this" after the tsunami.
posted by geekgal at 7:31 PM on September 4, 2005


This thread has brought another long time lurker, myself, out of the closet of anonymity. As the this link says, Britain ‘four meals away from anarchy’, and I'm afraid the veneer of civilisation is a lot thinner than many people on this thread and elsewhere seem to think. The behaviour in the New Orleans Superdome and the Convention Centre were predicable.

Confine a large number of people in enclosed space, remove all social structures and then deprive them of food and water and the result will be anarchy. This has nothing to do with race or class and everything to do with the reactions of humans under unfamiliar and and extremely stressful conditions. The law of the jungle will break out as people battle for the limited recourses, form alliances to protect their group and kill others who represent a threat. Its all extremely ugly and very predicable.

You can be sure that the human reactions seen in the the New Orleans will be the stuff of (unpublished) academic writings and study by security services and Governments as it provides them with very useful information on how much stress an urban population (and for Americans I do not use the term as a euphemism for Afro-American), can take.

Sadly, if nothing else it, will provide FEMA with time scales to which it must operate if it wants to avoid anarchy in similar situations. It will also provide City Governments a salutary lesson in providing security at emergency shelters if they have to congregate a large number of people at one location.
posted by Carbondata at 8:58 PM on September 4, 2005


"Open question: were there any reports of crimes like this (rape/murder specifically) in the aftermath of the tsunami?"

Yes, many accounts of such including forcing orphans into prostitution.
posted by mischief at 10:24 PM on September 4, 2005


Since things are going so nicely in this here thread, I though I'd share a link I came across in a MeFi -> Conservative blog -> Another conservative blog fashion.

http://www.punditguy.com/2005/09/wandering_refugees.html

While people are fighting for their lives inside the city, there are those that have the luxury of contemplating the small damage to their houses with two car garages. I by no means mean to make light of anyone's suffering -- surely this family has been through a lot -- but looking at pictures of that house kinda brought the disparity home for me.
posted by VulcanMike at 10:52 PM on September 4, 2005


Scroll down further on the second link for further perspective. Under a post titled "Not Everyone Is So Lucky" is the bolded text "There were snakes everywhere" and below that word of how trashed the Sonic restaurant was.

Think about some of the things you've seen in bold on this and other sites during the past week... Again, I don't mean to be critical of this family at all -- their neighbor's house is in horrendous shape, they have children in tow and certainly their lives have been quite disrupted. It's just some interesting perspective -- they live approximately 30 minutes northeast of downtown NO in Slidell.
posted by VulcanMike at 11:02 PM on September 4, 2005


On the subject of the proximity of anarchy, consider the April Fools' Mefi wiki experiment. It took along time before any co-operation evolved, and we are all well-fed and housed. /fairly asinine

Another borderline idiotic thought I have had is the potential for 'GTA - Hurricane Melinda', set in 'Old French Town' (working title). Survive for a week in the flooded city.

Anyway, I agree that the number of violent crimes reported within New Orleans, and specifically the Superdome, do not seem to be statistically high. This is not a reason to excuse any such depraved behaviour, but to put it in perspective. Is the crime rate in the Superdome different from that in any large group of people?

I can remember when I went to Glastonbury the first time, I arrived on Thursday before the official festival had started. At that time there had been 99 reported crimes, including a rape and a stabbing. At that stage the campsites were about a quarter full (mostly staff and helpers).

Preditary people will take advantage of any situtation they can.
posted by asok at 4:17 AM on September 5, 2005


... probably isolated cases of barberism ...

Yeah, damn those hair-cutting bastards! (Sorry, delmoi -- I had to say it.)

On topic -- unless trained for the worst, no one knows exactly how they'd react in any given situation.
posted by bwg at 6:24 AM on September 5, 2005


the number of violent crimes reported within New Orleans, and specifically the Superdome, do not seem to be statistically high

That rings true for me too. In fact, sadly but truly, I think you could show that the overall violent crime rate in NO during these seven days could be quite a bit lower than in any other seven days, particularly when corrected for a similar demographic population .
posted by Miko at 7:03 AM on September 5, 2005


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