September 10, 2005

Katrina: Materially Lower Death Toll?

It appears so. If ultimately confirmed, great, great news.

Posted by Gregory at September 10, 2005 02:28 AM | TrackBack (17)

Gotta disagree with this post for three reasons
1. Itís just too soon to tell. The proportion of LA deaths inside the city of New Orleans may well be less than expected. The images and reports from inside NO obscured the tremendous number of deaths outside the city. I think that the total death number (all areas) will exceed 10,000 and exceed the total killed in the 1900 Galveston hurricane.

2. The absolute number of deaths is not the issue. The dead are already gone. The issue is that tremendous cost of this disaster, far in excess of the cost to implement a forward-looking Coast 2050 type plan and the disgust with all levels of government which will only increase as the details come out. They will come out, even if Bush and The Congressional leadership try to block them.
The cost will include reckless spending and diversion of billions to Bush friends like Halliburton and Blackwater (itís already started; those political cronies who didnít know how to deal with a real disaster will not rein in graft and corruption). This will have increasing negative effects on the value of the dollar and social services - our government spending like drunken sailors in Iraq and the Gulf Coast, borrowing and still talking about tax cuts. They wonít shore up pensions, they will reduce the minimum wage. They might decrease Medicaid co-pays in the Gulf and increase them for the rest of the country.

3. Itís not just FEMA dawdling and slowness Ė itís actively evil things, some done by FEMA people. FEMA should not have cut communication lines of state workers as they seem to have done, but even worse were the actions of the police forces of Gretna and Jefferson Parish who blocked bridges inside NO going west starting early Tuesday. They prevented able-bodied people from walking out over the bridges. They fired into the air and shouted racist slogans like No superdome in our town, no animal behavior. They did nothing to distribute food and water. These police shut the door going out and provided no help. Bush is probably not an explicit racist, heís just uncomfortable with poor people and black leaders who arenít deferential. These lawmen were racists- they knew that blocking the bridges would be lethal. Bet you canít find anyone who will admit to ordering this.

Knowledge of all this and the black response (Iím not talking about grandstanders like Jesse Jackson) will have profound effects on American culture, but the outcome is not sure- it could be a right wing Pinochet type revolution, motivation primarily by a demand for order and security. When asked to choose between freedom and long-term issues versus order and security, most people, even the poor and oppressed, have chosen the latter.

Posted by: anciano at September 10, 2005 05:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah, and the wild animals came and took everybody's shoes! Oh, I'm sorry, only the shoes of the African-Americans.

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at September 11, 2005 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Is there any reason for parties if the death toll would turn out as 'low' as, say, 5000?

And M.P.: You're obviously an ignorant fool. Citizen of NO couldn't escape by foot because the police of the neighboring parishes blocked the bridge. Read the news.

Posted by: Gray at September 11, 2005 09:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well Gray, I might well be a fool, but I am far from ignorant. I am weary of the gross exaggerations that have characterized the discussion, particularly from the left. First it was more than 10,000 deaths in LA by a hysterical mayor whose competence is rightfully in question. Then it was "thousands upon thousands" by my friend Luka in other posts here. Now you postulate 5,000 deaths. While I don't wish to traffic in gore, wouldn't the relevant question be what if there are only a few hundred. That would be a miracle. Of course, it would also be a bitter disappointment to the left, who want nothing less than a huge carnage on which to advance their political agenda. It wasn't but hours after this terrible tragedy struck when the MoveOn gang and their friends were blaming Bush and blaming the feds etc. To me the blame game at this stage is unseemly and useless.

I am also weary of the apocalyptic predictions and conspiracy theories that are exemplified by Anciano's silly post. I am afraid that the world is not going to come to an end and that the traditional American spirit is rolling up its sleeves and proceeding to deal with the problems rather admirably, I might add. Sure there were both confusion and inadequacies in the response initially. Perhaps that will be sorted out someday unless it is insisted that this nearly perfect storm be politicized until it fades from memory.

Once the politicians shut up and the persons who get the work of the world done were on scene, the picture changed rapidly and decidedly for the better. There is a complex and delicate balance between the responsibilities of the local, state and federal governments and that balance didn't work as well as it might. Even when it works perfectly, it is a physical impossibility to mobilize the thousands of persons and the tons and tons of gear and supplies with a snap of the finger.

However, there were many, many ways that more people could have been evacuated if the Mayor hadn't waited nearly a day to issue the evacuation order, if he had mobilized the school and municipal buses, etc. etc.

My post above was intended to purely and simply poke a little fun at what I consider to be a vapid analysis, weak on facts, and long on the extreme left wing hatred of anything but their Stalinistic longings. (The quote was from Walter Brennan, who you might not heard of as he died some time ago.) You might note that, as always, I refrained from name calling as I know little or nothing about anciano, just as you know virtually nothing about me. Adolescent name calling has a place and that is on the playground, not in serious discussion. Frankly, it pollutes what is generally one of the better political blogs around.

So yes, perhaps I am ignorant, but in my many decades on this earth I have learned to leave hysteria aside and to deal with problems, large and small, in a practical and effective way and I have done my share of such dealing.

Best wishes.


Posted by: Michael Pecherer at September 12, 2005 05:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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