Skip to comments.New Orleans Didnít Just Go Nuts -- Itís Been Nuts
Posted on 09/07/2005 6:28:19 PM PDT by Cicero
New Orleans Didnt Just Go Nuts -- Its Been Nuts by Mac Johnson Posted Sep 6, 2005
Where to even begin in being one more idiot talking about Hurricane Katrina? I hate the subject. It should be a news item and a humanitarian cause --a huge recovery and reconstruction effort joined in by all. It should not be a political issue fit for commentary.
But the Hurricane tore at more than just the weaknesses in New Orleans inadequate levees. The shortcomings of the levee system were known to all who ever lived on the Gulf Coast, and in the end, all the levees really did was encourage expanded development in a huge geologic bowl sitting between a large lake, North Americas mightiest river, and the immense green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The whole booby-trap was simply yet another triumph of government subsidized and directed development. And its failure was long anticipated.
What was not anticipated was the way the Hurricane tore at our human divisions.
First out of the gate were the Holy Men of the Cult of Global Warming, who couldnt wait for the first dead to wash up before they declared the Hurricane irrefutable proof of Global Warming and a direct responsibility of George W. Bush.
Next up were the racial ambulance chasers, always looking for another grievous injury to add to their political caseload. Looking at the Sea of Black faces abandoned without transportation, food, water or protection, they somehow managed to look past the Citys Black Mayor, Black Police Chief, Black City Council members and all the other Black office holders that run the 67% Black city, and found that the whole thing was: white folks fault. Yet another example of racism at its worst.
This opened up a torrent of Bush-bashing, since he was the closest Republican that had any responsibility for the City. The Democratic Governor of Louisiana -- though white -- was merely a victim of the whole thing it seems, just like the Mayor of New Orleans. Nobody has any power in this world other than George Bush. Nobody has any responsibility. George Bush is now the navel of the world for his enemies. If a butterfly flaps its wings in Central Park, its George Bushs fault. And the butterfly is racist. And it was blown there by Global Warming.
And at some point during the disaster, the most disturbing of all the infighting began. The thugs of New Orleans turned on their neighbors like a Mongol horde. Looting erupted, as did arson and robberies, shootings and beatings. Rape became an organized crime as gangs preyed on the defenseless stranded girls of New Orleans. Pharmacies were looted and hospitals were surrounded and invaded in a manic hunt for drugs. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin couldnt stop such junkie armies from destroying much of what was left of the Citys medical infrastructure, but he could excuse them, explaining that it was all just people looking for something to take the edge off their jones, if you will. Actually, no, I wont. (The mayor added a few minutes later in the same interview: You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly. And nobody said different, Mayor.)
Barbarians with an edgy jones shot a cop in the head, shot a national guardsman, halted life-saving evacuations by firing on helicopters and humvees. Police had to mow down a gang of six shooting at contractors who came to repair the levee breaches. A group of white civilians that came into the city in private boats to save as many refugees as they could -- giving lie to the racism howls of the media -- gave up and turned back because people began shooting at them, trying to take their boats.
Soldiers who should be concentrating on rescue operations are carrying full battle gear through the streets of an American City, opening doors with rifles at the ready. Overnight, it seems, The Big Easy had become Thunderdome, and Mad Max was nowhere to be found. In the middle of the worst American natural disaster in over a century, gang warfare, anti-authority psychosis and individual malevolence finished off the hope of tens of thousands that had survived the flood. It did more to demoralize the nation than the storm had done.
The storm may have triggered the violence, but it did not cause it. What we saw in New Orleans was what happens in Americas most murderous city when the criminals realize that all the cops have left.
It wasnt desperation, or insanity, or protest. It was New Orleans, without police.
Many people believe that Washington, D.C., is the murder capital of America. And indeed it often is, but that is only because such rankings are limited to major cities those with a population of 500,000 or more, and New Orleans has (or had) a population of 485,000. Were it not for this actuarial accident, Washington, D.C.. wouldnt even have a shot at the murder title. The per capita murder rate in New Orleans is 16% higher than in Murder Capital Washington, D.C.; and nearly 10 times the national average. To have a murder rate equal to that of New York City, New Orleans would need to reduce its murders by 86%. No, thats not a typo.
At a time when crime is plummeting in most of America, it has been steadily increasing in New Orleans. And one cause is simple: The New Orleans City Government has run its law enforcement apparatus into the ground. On a per capita basis, New Orleans has less than half as many cops as Washington, D.C.: just 3.1 police officers per 1,000 citizens. Turnover has become a huge issue, as young cops leave at the first opportunity. A report conducted for the city two years ago said that New Orleans was bleeding police officers.
The strain shows. Fewer than one in four murder cases in New Orleans results in a conviction. 42% of violent offenders have their charges dropped by prosecutors because the cases are not suitable for court. Many in New Orleans will not now testify against the thugs that they know -- more likely than not -- are going to be released Scot-free. People dont even bother calling the police in New Orleans anymore. In 2004, academic Researchers conducted an experiment in which they had police fire 700 blank rounds into the air, in a single afternoon, in one neighborhood. No one -- not one person -- called to report the gunfire. It was background noise.
The report on police levels mentioned above stated that New Orleans needs 2,000 cops just to maintain order in normal times. When Katrina struck, the city had only 1,700. No more than 1,500 are on duty now, after dislocation, desertions, resignations, and two suicides.
There is no wonder the place went chaotic. There should be no mystery. It is barely under control on a good day.
Why are the cops leaving? They are utterly demoralized. They face low pay to fight a losing war against crime in a city that will not commit resources to the battle. We have to use our own shotguns," one patrolman was quoted in the New York Times. "This isn't theirs; this is my personal gun."
They are demoralized because they have to bear the reputation of working in what is widely acknowledged as the most corrupt police department in the country. More than fifty NOPD officers were sent to prison in the 1990s, two of them to death row.
They are demoralized because they have to live in New Orleans, due to a strict residency requirement for police. And unless you are wealthy enough to live in the perpetual party of the Vieux Carre, New Orleans is not a nice place to live -- especially for those with children. 84% of officers with children reported sending them to private or parochial schools, at their own expense. Thats quite an endorsement of Mayor Nagins schools.
So they leave, and are not replaced. It is not just white flight either, for those that want to see the world through racial lenses. Most of those leaving are black officers.
All this is not to say that New Orleans has had no plan to reduce its high crime statistics. For a while, one police district tried lying about the statistics. It meant letting some violent thugs go (and with an edge on their joneses, Im told), but it was cheaper than fighting real crime; and it kept the tourists coming.
Asked if such lying meant that perhaps the NOPD should have its stats audited by an outside agency, Police Chief Eddie Compass stated, I don't need an outside agency coming in. I think we have proven that we are capable of taking care of our own house.
This is the same Chief that now screams on camera for outside agencies to just take over. As soon as order is restored, you can bet the New Orleans City Government will rediscover its need for independence -- and privacy.
The overnight crisis we saw in New Orleans this week has been a long time coming. It was just the bursting of a purulent boil that has been festering for years.
Undoubtedly, that is Bushs fault as well. Perhaps his Global Warming has been putting an edge on criminals joneses, unbeknownst to the City Government. Mr. Johnson is a freelance writer and medical researcher living in Cambridge, MA. His published commentaries can be viewed at www.macjohnson.com.
I am E-mailing this right now to some friends.
My family, however, is hopeless. They think Bush is the bogeyman.
Small time bribes went with the flood waters. What's a corrupt cop to do except loot and then split in a stolen cop car to Houston.
My brother-in-law was in graduate school at Tulane, he was mugged leaving a bar in the French Quarter a year and a half ago. On the night he was mugged, there were over a dozen other muggings and several burglaries. About six months before that his SUV had been stolen, the police never made any effort to recover it, it was only found because the theives totalled it and abandoned it a couple weeks later.
If they try that kind of stunt in Houston, they may find that the cops and prosecutors are less sympathetic to them.
Excellent article explaining where the problem really is!!!!!!
Much of my family is liberal, but this article is too persuasive to be easily dismissed, even by a fanatic liberal.
NO ought to have been sued regularly by tourists who have no clue as to the lawless hellhole they have been lured into by all the malarky about the French Quarter. Seeing a bunch of tattered buildings with wrought iron is not worth one's life. They ought to be forced to include their crime stats on every glossy tourist ad, just as pharmas have to list the side-effects of their drugs on TV ads.
LOL! You still consider them "family"?
Ping for later forwarding...
It is a good post. I grew up in new orleans. I do love the city; it does have extremes though.
I was in the french quarter on the martin luther king day a group of african american youths used sticks and bats to randomly hit white people telling them canal street was their street and no white people were allowed.
It does have a heavy presence of some rather nasty characters, whom I agree, felt they could be themselves when they knew the cops werent around.
People from the fischer projects used to snipe at cars crossing over the I10 for kicks, nonblack nurses who went into the fischer projects raped and beaten when going in to give inhome care to elderly in the housing project, and as one of very few whites at most of the schools I went to I was jumped and physically assaulted regularly. I bet the same element had a field day when they knew no cops were around.
N.O. does have its great points though, it is a true yin and yang. For all of its bad, its good is equal.
I also enjoyed this piece incase it hasnt been seen. http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007219
My sister sends me Emails from the moveon.org/Michael Moore lunatic fringe, and I throw them in the trash. If I blocked them with my spam filter, I'd never hear the end of it, so for peace in the family, I simply ignore her.
If she wants to talk about the weather, fine.
But not politics.
Actually it is the fact that most of those who are primarily responsible for defending property, the owners, had left.
The answer to that "major cities" anomaly is simple: arbitrarily round up the population to 500,000 when calculating the per capita murder rate. That means increasing the population - thus decreasing the per capita murder rate - of NO by 3%. You then change"The per capita murder rate in New Orleansto read,
is 16% higher than in Murder Capital Washington, D.C""The per capita murder rate in New Orleans, as a major city,If New Orleans is the den of iniquity this article describes, what are the chances that the mayor - or the governor of LA - are the second coming of Elliot Ness? This really sounds like a job for Rudi Guiliani. Absent strong oversight we can't possibly afford to rebuild New Orleans.
is 13% higher than in Murder Capital Washington, D.C."
Gee, what are the chances that the traditionally corruption-free political home of Bill Clinton would be right next door to a cesspool of corruption like Louisiana? </sarcasm>
Thank you. Somebody finally put it in black andd white.
---Why are the cops leaving? They are utterly demoralized. They face low pay to fight a losing war against crime in a city that will not commit resources to the battle. We have to use our own shotguns," one patrolman was quoted in the New York Times. "This isn't theirs; this is my personal gun."---
This has been the problem for forever there. Back in the 70ss and 80s it wasn't uncommon for policemen with more than three kids to qualify for foodstamps. The city didn't even pick up all of their salary - the state supplemented it and it was still not very good.
And there was an attitude about paying cops. A friend of mine once said, "It's a very good salary for someone with only a high school degree."
People complained about graft and corruption and brutality in the police force. Back when I paid attention to this, which was probably in the 80s, lot of times blacks were hoping white cops would respond because they felt the black cops were more likely to be brutal.
Yet no one was willing to do what it took to get quality people and retain them.
And they didn't have enough to do the job the city needed, anyway.
Slogan for years has been the city that care forgot, but in many ways, it was the city that forgot to care.
I smell an apologist, and a hint of ozone.
Bunk. It's not worth your life.
I've read *several* excellent essays attempting to assess "the situation" since yesterday's reading of Whittle's magnificent work.
Seems to really have touched a nerve unlike anything I've witnessed in my life, that's for certain.
Be that as it may peeling away all the onion's layers reveals at the core they all essentially arrive at the same place, say the same thing:
"Next up were the racial ambulance chasers, always looking for another grievous injury to add to their political caseload. Looking at the Sea of Black faces abandoned without transportation, food, water or protection, they somehow managed to look past the Citys Black Mayor, Black Police Chief, Black City Council members and all the other Black office holders that run the 67% Black city, and found that the whole thing was: white folks fault. Yet another example of racism at its worst."
Take it or leave it.
Argue "pro" or "con" until the cows come home & you're blue in the face.
Apply all the denial you can stand, if that's your bag.
But nothing alters the glaring, ugly reality of what happened.
Truth speaks louder than anything, or anyone.
...& thank God at least that's still true.
Having been to a convention in NO two years ago and now reading how bad this city is and was, I feel lucky that there were no incidents at the time. However, I am convinced that I will NEVER visit NO again and I'll bet their tourist industry is finished.
Well, then send your sister articles
from Rush or any strong conserative
articles. [She'll get the message.]
I didnt die once. :)
and Im certainly not making excuses for anyone in response to the guy who smells...something. What some of the people do and did there is unforgivable, that the democrats have been making certain parts of the populous there prone to buy into their victim mentalities, getting them dependant on welfare and not making the area appealing to do business in, less your business is connected to the tourism industry, is old news to me, and not a new contempt that washed in with katrina.
New Orleans is lovely though; there are a lot of good people there whom celebrate life and each other in daily generosity, courtesy and good will. Aside from some of the greatest people I have met, as Ive traveled a little, the city its self is inspiring in its history, culture nature and architecture. And any republican, constitutionalist and libertarian should be able to appreciate the social structure the cajuns who still enjoy their independence in the communities deep in the swamp, far away and untouched from the crap currupt government running the state into the ground. If youve had the rare pleasure, you understand its charm.
This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately on my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.
In the late 1980's I was enrolled at the Tulane School of Engineering during the day and cleaned office buildings in Jefferson Parish at night for survival $$$(NOTE:Middle class family, on partial scholarships, NOT rich).
One year I moved closer to campus to save time and $$$. That year there were 8 murders within a 12 block radius of my rented basement apartment and a female classmate was mugged(severely beaten in the face almost to the point of not being able to see). At that time, a 45 S&W was purchased and carried concealed full-time when I went to and from my night job. It probably saved my life one time at night while I waited for a red light on an intersection of Earhart(on the Orleans Parish side) in a not-so-good part of the area. As my car was approached(in an area known to NOPD as a car-jacking light) by three folks who seemed very interested in my 1985 Nissan...the 45 was simply displayed(vertical toward the roof of my car) and a round was loudly racked while I looked in their direction with a "bring it on" face. They quickly scattered to seek the more defenseless.
Glad we moved to Texas. The "bad" memories fade and the good ones stay. I don't want to go back but will remember times like this:
Mac Johnson must be one lonely man up there in Cambridge.
There are a lot of truly decent people in New Orleans. (Or there used to be.) I haven't lived there since the mid-80s, but yes, it was always a place where you had to keep your wits about you. Think about its history: it started out being a pirate's haven, and pirates continued to walk freely in the city under the noses of the several governments which ruled it.
That said, if, Heaven forbid, a disaster as large as this one struck almost any city in the country, you'd have a similar situation. Without authority, any city is vulnerable to the same elements.
When we drive into Oklahoma city in the early morning hours before dawn to drop cattle off at the stockyards, we have to pass through an area that is riddled with gangs. After dark, that part of town is just about "theirs." It's not a safe place to be outside of your vehicle, or if you should run out of gas while driving through it.
Many times, they fan out to other areas, including rural places like the small town just a few miles from us. They recruit more gang members, and they bring their gang wars to the farmland.
New Orleans was bad, I'm not saying it wasn't. I am, however, saying that what happened right up front in New Orleans is going on where it can't be seen as well in most, if not all, cities.
Yes, another truly major reason. Many of these thugs are cowards. One night I was late getting off work, and caught a bus home after dark. Someone thought I'd make a good mugging candidate, and snuck up behind me and tried to grab my purse. I swung around and started beating him with my (closed) umbrella, and literally chased him down the street calling him some very unladlylike names. He ran like a little scared chicken.
Yes, good points. One of the policemen who used to come to our neighborhood watch meetings told us that there wasn't even a health benefits program for the police. This was in the mid-80s. We couldn't fathom the concept of no health care for someone in a dangerous line of work.
An "apologist"? No, Derdy spoke of the city I knew and loved when I lived there. Care to suggest ozone to me, too?
Absolutely. Too many people here on Free Republic think New Orleans is only the French Quarter, and that its only residents are the ones we saw looting and pillaging.
No one saw the many good people who risked everything to help their neighbors, like the two nurses who stayed behind to help at the hospital, rather than bug out with all their friends and families.
They got a brief mention on Fox, then they returned to the regular menu of looting and pillaging. There are many stories like this one, but they're not being reported. Looting and pillaging is the only thing they want to publicize.
After carefully re-reading derdy's post, my reply was wrong and out of order. I apologise.
I incorrectly construed the reporting of sniping, rape, and assault as giving such behavior a pass. That is not the case. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. No need to send me a dunce cap, since the one that I have on is uncomfortable.
Save the hat--I might need it next time I jump to a conclusion, as I most certainly have in the past. If nothing else, you can cover it with tinfoil for the next big conspiracy theory someone posts. :)
Im cajun. My name is Shante'. Pleased to meet you. And I meant the cajun communities you have to take a boat to get to.
Sadly my stay in that atmosphere was short lived and we went back to pearl river, then new orleans.
The main source of marijuana for the kids around me in middle school who smoked it was one of the girl's parents who was a cop who kept some of what she confiscated regularly. To read, yes I know. My first husband was Italian, and their click is rather special in new orleans. His father worked for tom benson...lots of, err colorful partnerships and such.the end. :)
Then it would be 'just like home'.
yeah, and thats not all poisoning things there. I'm out of my mind with what happened in the superdome. I mean what the fffeh?
And everyone is asking where was the security, where the were the people? the good people?
werent there enough to out number the bad ones? I heard one person shot one guy either raping or trying to rape a 12 year old.
I have intervened before to try and help people who were being victimized, usually the people who were victimizing them were so surprised and the situation defused. People who prey on other people do so cause they think they can get away with it for the most part, why did the people in the super dome let them get away with it?
And doesnt the black community care enough about each other and them selves to start doing something about it even just being honest? Why are so many of them so demanding that a government they look at with suspicion anyway keep them on its teat? Where is personal accountability? Why are smart ,courteous, and constructive black people ostracized often by the black community? Called uncle tom or sell out? Yet those who leach off of society and the government more acceptable? I am surrounded by people every day who had nothing as a start, had every opportunity to fail, pass a buck, but live well because they worked hard to get where they are.
Now some are saying bush should have taken power from the state and city, yeah, that would have played out well...oh and they are also saying bush should have forcibly removed people from the city even before the storm, are you kidding? Most of the city is black, it would have been Rodney King times 10, 000 and cities all around this county would be burning, and jessie jackson and al sharpton would be fueling it.
I dont know why the racial tension in this country is the way it is, I do know a lot of people with microphones make their money off of perpetuating it, I also know a lot of politicians stay in power by feeding it. Why is so much of the black populous in this country self destructive? Letting themselves become so dependant on a government they are sure is out to get them?
You know a picture that often returns to my mind is, one time a beautiful little black boy, maybe 4 years old, came to my apt door, he lived in the apartment next to me, in his little hands he held a glass. He said with his adorable innocent tiny voice, can I have some milk please? He was so cute, I said awe, sweet babe, of course you can! and I filled his glass up and he said thank you and walked back towards his apt. His mother opened the door just in time to see him walking up, saw me watching to make sure he got back, she took the cup of milk from his hand, threw the glass of milk in his face and said you dont take nothing from white people! the milk ran down his face, I stood there in horror and pity for the kid, he had no chance.
The mother also complained about loudly on her porch of the fact she felt her welfare check should be more, and so should her food stamps. I guess those were paid for strictly by black tax payers? But that attitude isnt rare and that is a mild example. I see that little boys face covered in the white milk, dripping down like tears in my mind often.
New Orleans was festering due to poor government, perpetuation of victim mentality among the black community, it being very easy to take entitlements, in fact demand them and more (out side of the fischer project youll see parked a bunch of cars a lot nicer than what I drive), the justice system a joke, the schools, even back when I was in them, just a joke, violence, no respect for anything, racism...shadeism (its a word!) even, since light skinned black people got abused by black er people too, no personal responsibility expected, everything that happened or that anyone did, quickly blamed on someone or something else such as history, conspiracy, poverty whitey what ever. No one wants to be honest, not enough in the black community care enough about the black community to be very honest and expect more from each other and themselves, rather they blame and take and want more from a government they think are out to get them anyway.
I dont understand, Im sick in my head and sick in my belly. Id like to be an optimist and say, maybe something good will come out of this, this dirty bath for new orleans that has left it naked, its most private embarrassing parts exposed might be an opportunity for drastic change, but I know, too many people in power in the Louisiana/NO government thrive off of the festering filth that we now see in stereo.
My friend, you underestimate the liberal mind...
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