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Hurricane Katrina

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The Wrath
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I cannot remember ever feeling so heart-broken about the havoc caused by a natural disaster, even the tsunami. I guess that's because these people are all Americans and I can relate to them more. The situation down there is getting worse. After being torn apart by the worst natural disaster in American history, New Orleans and southern Mississippi are now being torn apart by looters. I agree with Neal Boortz who said that looters should be shot on sight, except for the ones getting food. I can't blame someone for breaking into a supermarket to get food, since their very survival may depend on it. A lot of refugees are being transported to the Astrodome, just about an hour from where I live. Does anyone have any recommendations for any worthy charities to donate money to? I'd actually like to physically go to Houston and volunteer to help the people in the Astrodome, but my busy lifestyle doesn't really permit that for the time being.

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You mean NO and the Superdome, right?

I agree with you about the situation. It's pretty grim. I read that people won't be able to come back for a month, and that the highways out of the city (east and west) have been destroyed. It's kind of like a microcosm of society down there: People working hard to improve situations, people taking advantage of chaos, etc.

I'm not sure about who do donate to, except the Red Cross.

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I'm here in Houston and the city is really opening up to the refugees. Everything from sports teams to strip joints are offering people from the effected states free admission to help pass the time. Local furniture stores, specifically Gallery Furniture (which if you are from Houston you know who Jim McIngvale is) basically is turning his store into a giant shelter at night. Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale has been a militant free marketer over the years and has even brought W Edwards Deming and other speakers to town for people to hear for free.

The local school district is going to allow students into the schools so that they won't miss school. The city is sending just about every single spare bus from either the jails to the schools etc to pick up people. The medical center who suffered a similar fate flooding wise during tropical storm Allison a couple years ago are taking a couple thousand patients from the hospitals. Everyone from banks to the Social Security admin to labor hiring companies are setting up for all the visitors. Houstonians are rightfully proud of our friendly reputation. We are trying of course to find ways to disperse people to other more appropriate shelters than a former football stadium. But that will take a while and given the emergency Houston is really happy to help out.

From what the news is saying, they have a thousands of cots already set up at the Astrodome and are working madly for people to arrive. Thing is, people are already showing up in their private cars and are being turned away by city officials since the only people that they expect to be allowed into the dome are the ones directly coming from the Superdome to start with.

One VERY nagging question is security. Mayor White who has not been the most brilliant leader gave some extremely vague answers about crowd control. I think the national guard, of which there are 12,000 currently on duty in the state, are probably going to end up providing security and crowd control. HPD has their hands full and I think they could use some help. Mind you, they are making sure to emphasize that the people are not being imprisoned. They have a large hall called the AstroArena that they are talking about setting up as a center for reunions, hiring, merchants, etc.

So as far as I have been able to tell, Houston is more than willing to take the brunt of refugees for the short term. TSA has cleared the Astrodome through December as a shelter. So the city is digging in for the long term. But we're cool with it. As for donations, I personally hate the Red Cross given their top heavy governance and political pull peddling. Personally, though I detest the religious message, I would give to the Salvation Army. They really do tend to be the first in and the last out during emergencies.

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If you want to help out, now is a good time to get out there and donate some blood, too. I don't know about Texas, but here in Ohio we have chronic blood shortages all summer that lead to a seriously depleted supply about this time every year; with Labor Day weekend coming up and the hurricane, it's only going to get worse.

It doesn't matter where you live: blood banks help each other out all across the country, getting the blood where it is needed. If things get bad, the supply in your home area may go down as they attempt to juggle extremely limited resources.

I agree with Scott's assessment of the Red Cross, however; try to find a blood center that isn't the RC. If you live in southwestern Ohio or near Richmond, Indiana, I recommend going to a Community Blood Center, but of course I work there so I'm biased. :)

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It's good to hear that Houston is being so accomodating. And, yes, I know Mattress Mack...we even played, and won, in the whogivesashit.com galleryfurniture.com bowl when I was a sophomore in college.

The Salvation Army is definitely what I'm leaning towards, in terms of donations. I would give blood, but I'm one of those people who gets scared to death of needles.

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It's good to hear that Houston is being so accomodating.  And, yes, I know Mattress Mack...we even played, and won, in the whogivesashit.com galleryfurniture.com bowl when I was a sophomore in college.
I know, even Mack called it the Cotton Bowl still. He was kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. But still, he's a whore for a free ad. He's come a long way from wearing a mattress costume at local wrestling matches because it was the cheapest way to advertise.
The Salvation Army is definitely what I'm leaning towards, in terms of donations.  I would give blood, but I'm one of those people who gets scared to death of needles.

Though I know Megan will ridicule us both I'm the same way when it comes to needles. Actually I'm trying to organize a fund raiser for coworkers effected by the storm. Luckily we only lost 1 office and no people were hurt, just displaced. There are about 5 or 6 offices waiting for power to come back on but who knows when that will be. We are really like a big family so I'm focusing my financial efforts there. Anyway, living here will allow me plenty of chances to help out 1st hand.

I've noticed a marked increase of Louisiana plates and Geaux Tigers bumper stickers. It's actually extremely ominous bordering on creepy. It's much more noticable in Beaumont and around the Dome but I've noticed even here in the burbs.

But as far as the city of Houston goes, we really are pretty willing to accept all comers. I'll refer back over to the thread about the best city for Objectivists. It's a big friendly city that is always welcoming and there are plenty of jobs. Mind you, how well we handle the sudden influx of 30,000+ people should be interesting to say the least. But, if any city can do it and have a big honking BBQ and beer bash after it's all over, it would be us.

Edited by scottkursk
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I'm in Baton Rouge. We got hit hard, but not that hard. My power was out for about 24 hours. Much of the city is still with out power and trees down across roads etc.

It's tough seeing familiar places on national TV underwater like that. Ever since I was a child the adults would always talk about ,"If one ever hits New Orleans directly....", Well it has. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this entire phenomena. An entire city evacuated for crying out loud!

Someone mentioned Neal Boortz in a post above. He had just signed by fair tax book in New Orleans last Friday. The last time I got a glimps of the city before the storm.

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You know, the people I admire amazingly well are the police officers, fire fighters, doctors, etc that stayed behind to maintain order and do their jobs. It's amazing that they will get their families out of harms way and stuck it out. I live across from a fire station now and realize that if we got hit by a hurricane again and were flooded, they'd be just as flooded as I'd be. But I have no doubt if Katrina had headed west they would have hunkered down there as I drove rapidly to San Antonio with my fiance and our valuables.

So alot of the ambulances and cop cars etc are waterlogged just like everything else they have to do their thing on foot which given the microcosm of good/bad that is occurring strikes a good bit of admiration in me. Especially the image of what looked like just one solitary cop with a 12 gauge walking into a very large crowd of looters that started yelling and dispersed them. If they cooperated or 1/2 thought about it, he would have been toast and that reporter could have scored a Pulitzer. But he used his force of will and the threat of that buckshot to do what was right.

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Is it moral for starving peoples to loot food and necessary replies? I've had a hard time answering this one.  :dough:

I think an important question that must be answered first is; how much has the starving person's own actions lead them to their predicament?

Many, many people were smart enough to leave the area, and do the best they could to better their own situations. Others chose to "ride it out" assuming significant risk to their lives in doing so. Now, not only have they risked their lives, but they have become a liability and other people have to risk their lives to help save them.

The thing I saw on the news that caused this to ring true (to me) is a guy standing outside the Astrodome complaining about not being able to get in. Apparently he was not one of the ones who took shelter in the Superdome. He complained that "This is serious", "This is a life-threatening situation", "Where am I going to get food and water". It was a serious life-threatening situation WELL before Katrina actually hit, and people were being warned as such. In fact, ALL of life can be a serious life-threatening situation if one fails to recognize that it IS serious to begin with.

The positive example I saw was of a man who only had a stringed instrument left to his name (didn't catch it but I think it was a guitar). His attitude was that he would restring the instrument and try to rebuild his life from there. I don't know what life or property he had before, but I hope I have that kind of fortitude and attitude should I have to face the aftermath of such devastation.

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I realize that people could have evacuated and chose not to. However, there have been many false alarms before and people probably thought this would be the same. Government glood and doom predictions don't usually turn out to be true. Not to mention, people knew that if they left their property, the government would probably keep them from getting back to it for several months...not that they're any better off now, but it was impossible to predict the future.

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I realize that people could have evacuated and chose not to.  However, there have been many false alarms before and people probably thought this would be the same.

This was considerably different from any previous false alarms they have had. When they CONTINUED to talk about a Category 5 "perfect storm" headed their way, it deserves some attention, even if it may end up being a false alarm. When they are saying UNUSUAL things like "Only 3 other storms of this magnitude have ever struck the US before....", I"m going. I live 8 blocks off the Atlantic Ocean, and I'm aware of getting "false alarm" storm warnings.

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This was considerably different from any previous false alarms they have had.  When they CONTINUED to talk about a Category 5 "perfect storm" headed their way, it deserves some attention, even if it may end up being a false alarm.  When they are saying UNUSUAL things like "Only 3  other storms of this magnitude have ever struck the US before....", I"m going.  I live 8 blocks off the Atlantic Ocean, and I'm aware of getting "false alarm" storm warnings.

I have to agree with you. As I mentioned before, I lost everything during TS Allison. We all knew the storm was coming but nobody expected it to literally stop dead over the city and dump a record amount of rain in a short period of time. And it did it at 3 am. So we were surprised it didn't just blow over us like many many other storms have in the past.

When I was still a young man, my dad decided the family would ride out Hurricane Alicia and we took a direct hit from the eye. The creepiest most spooky feeling I've ever experienced in my life is walking outside of my house to check on neighbors during the relative calm of the eye as it passed over Pasadena. Everything was an orange haze like something out of a bad sci-fi Mars movie but with blown trees and water everywhere.

If I were the adult and had the choice, I'd have left town. But, we didn't suffer much damage. After the cane passed we broke out the chainsaws and started clearing brush while my mom and sisters checked on neighbors. We didn't have power for a week plus and in August in Houston that is not fun. However, Alicia was not a force 5 and there was not NEARLY the level of warning nor is Houston the suicidally stupid punch bowl that New Orleans is.

Hence, I've got to agree that those people that decided to stay and ride it out are their on their own volition and for them I'm not feeling a whole lot of sympathy. Now for the people who left and had losses I feel sorry for their losses. I feel for them because I've been there. But the morons that stayed around for no good reason, I just have a great deal of trouble getting sympathy built up for them.

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There also seems to be a fairly sizeable contingent of people who simply couldn't get out. Some are elderly w/o private transportation and some were in the local hospitals, incapable of moving themselves.

On a seperate but related issue, I was rather disturbed to hear one spokesman from the NAACP and another from the Urban League claiming last night on cable TV that the government's slow response can be attributed to racism. I believe it was the man from the Urban League who made an incredibly bizarre statement to the effect that during the 1969 hurricane, "you people" (meaning white people or those in power ??) used the bodies of blacks in New Orleans as sandbags to stop the water from flooding homes and businesses. My wife and I nearly fell out of our chairs when we heard that.

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On a seperate but related issue, I was rather disturbed to hear one spokesman from the NAACP and another from the Urban League claiming last night on cable TV that the government's slow response can be attributed to racism.

Or it could be attributed to rescue helicopters being shot at and National Guards fearing for their lives when they walk down the street.

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As tragic as the situation is down in New Orleans, this is a direct result of people not taking responsibility and accepting the consequences of their own actions. Thought no one can accurately predict how bad things will get, science and past events haven given us the ability to make a plan that will reduce the problems that have befallen New Orleans.

1.) As a frequent visitor to New Orleans and having several friends that live in the area you would be hard pressed to find some one that didn’t know that the city was below sea level. Being so, it is constantly flooding. Everyone that lives there or plans on moving there would know the risk that home ownership would bring.

2.) An evacuation order was given. The severity of the storm and the devastation it was projected to bring was made clear to everyone. I heard on a news report that some 80% left the city while the remaining 20% percent decided to wait it out. The biggest complaints that I head from the people to the roaming reports in the area were “I can’t afford to get out of the city.” Which leads to my third point.

3.) Poor planning on the part of the residence of New Orleans. I say the residence because it’s not the city, states, or governments respociblity to protect you from your own ignorance. You might plan for other things, in case of a fire; you get out of the house and meet some place. If a tornado comes through; you go to a basement or bathroom. If you live in a city that is below sea level and is predict to sink into the Gulf in the next hundred years, you find higher ground.

In the end I don’t feel sorry at all for the residence left behind in the wake of this disaster. The 80% that left may have lost most if not all their belongings but they had a plan to save the most valuable thing they have, their lives.

Edited by Gnomer9
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Or it could be attributed to rescue helicopters being shot at and National Guards fearing for their lives when they walk down the street.

It seems clear that much of the suffering due to delayed response is the result of the actions taken by the hooligans and criminals who see this natural disaster as an opportunity to loot and terrrorize people. I hope the National Guardsmen follow their orders to shoot looters on the spot.

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I thought I would post this in response to those of you that were interested in charities that weren't the Red Cross (the FABC is the Foundation for America's Blood Centers):

FABC Fund for The Blood Center (New Orleans)

Several members have asked if/how they could make financial contributions to The Blood Center in New Orleans to help in their rebuilding, meet staff and relocation expenses, and with other expenses. As was noted in an earlier MCN, The Blood Center has no flood insurance and its main building is currently partially submerged. While it recovers, The Blood Center will pay employees and help with shelter costs within the limits of their ability until they can get operational again. It will likely be many weeks before the center in New Orleans becomes operational. While it rebuilds, The Blood Center plans to make Baton Rouge its operational headquarters.

ABC spoke with Brian Gannon, who was touched by member offers to help with financial gifts. He agreed to allow the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers to be a “parking lot” for such gifts until The Blood Center can logistically deal with them. FABC would, of course, pass through the entire gift to The Blood Center.

If you wish to make such a contribution, please send your check:

Payable:          Foundation for America’s Blood Centers

Mail:                725 15th St, NW, Ste 700, Washington, DC 20005

Note as:          Gift for The Blood Center (New Orleans)

FABC will track all donations and provide a consolidated gift noting individual member contributions and amounts as soon as The Blood Center is ready to receive it. Please call either of us with any questions. Thank you so much for your offers.

Sharon Pavlovsky

Manager, Government & Public Relations

America's Blood Centers

725 15th Street, NW, Suite 700

Washington. DC 20005

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Today WMMX "Mix" 107.7 held a telethon to raise money for hurricane victims. You could donate $20 and request any song you wanted. Most people donated far more.

Listening to the radio today has really been interesting. Earlier in the day, most of the requests were for sort of sad, dignified music, but around noon the nature of the game changed. People began requesting bright, intransigent, undefeated songs. The general focus and primary emotion evidenced by the donors has been, not guilt or duty, but pride. “Isn’t it great that, even though everyone has their own problems, we can get so much money together? That we have so much?”

The level of genuine benevolence involved reminds me that I’m still living in a human sort of society, especially since I know where benevolence comes from. Generosity, real generosity, not the duty-driven, guilt-driven variety, is caused by the fact that people have more than they absolutely need. It is a sign that people are not only capable of living and solving their problems, but that they’re more than capable of doing it . . . they are so capable of it that they can carry other people’s troubles sometimes and not even notice the burden.

Now, that’s something to be proud of.

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The level of genuine benevolence involved reminds me that I’m still living in a human sort of society, especially since I know where benevolence comes from.  Generosity, real generosity, not the duty-driven, guilt-driven variety, is caused by the fact that people have more than they absolutely need.  It is a sign that people are not only capable of living and solving their problems, but that they’re more than capable of doing it . . . they are so capable of it that they can carry other people’s troubles sometimes and not even notice the burden. 

 

Now, that’s something to be proud of. 

 

I drove to Beaumont last night basically eastward towards Louisiana. We excitedly noted the 1st school bus heading into town. Then it was followed by another, and another, and another, and it just didn't seem to stop. After about the 10th bus it got very quiet. It was a very real, physical manifestation of just how many people were coming to Houston for help. As we headed back into town, it was equally quiet as we noticed an equal string of empty buses heading back towards Louisiana.

We've filled the dome I grew up to love going to oh so many baseball and football games. They now filled the Astrohall and Reliant Center that we use to hold the livestock show and rodeo and car shows at and we are still welcoming all comers. I'm glad to be from Houston. And the funny part is anyone who knows Texans and Cajuns, especially Houstonians, traditionally we have a less than cordial relationship. But when it came down to brass tacks we put that aside and met the challenge.

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Is it moral for starving peoples to loot food and necessary replies? I've had a hard time answering this one.  :confused:

The normal principles of ethics say: no. The emergency principles of ethics are different and say: yes. But, soon as the emergency is over, you owe compensation. The second essay in The Virtue of Selfishness covers "The Ethics of Emergencies".

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Before reading any further, look at THESE links:

http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1026

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...=20050903210145

Between the reports of looting, rape, murder, attacks on those who are trying to help, the demanding, yelling, insistant GIMME GIMME attitude of those present, and the simple fact that it was their CHOICE to NOT evacuate, I have no more pity or sympathy left for those in New Orleans. Has anyone seen the on-the-street videos? You will see mobs of angry people yelling and screaming and DEMANDING aid. As if it were their RIGHT and your DUTY. There was a woman who, in a nasty tone, stated that "there's BABIES here. BABIES. YOU HEAR ME?!? BABIES!!!"

I don't know about the rest of you, but there's a special place in the hatred-center of my brain for people who attempt to use their babies/children as cudgels with which to bash me over the head and loot my property and abrogate my rights.

The looting of our nation has already begun and everyone should take a good, long look at who their money is being looted on behalf of. I really hope that nobody here is considering actually voluntarily DONATING their money to these scum. To me, that seems like you are saying to the government thugs: "no, that's not enough of my property that you're taking... here, have some more."

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