Observations on the perceived failure of community after Katrina

Hope - by SALOThe more I read about the crisis in New Orleans, the more I am confused and saddened at what’s happening. And the more I see and hear of the US Government’s response, the more concerned I am for the general and ongoing wellbeing and protection of America’s citizenry.
What’s unfolding in New Orleans is being portrayed as utter chaos and what comes down to a failure of the community to take care of and fend for itself. Rather, it seems, individuals are ruining the relief efforts for everyone by apparently looking out only for themselves and their families:

“Hospitals are trying to evacuate,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. “At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, “You better come get my family.”

While I don’t believe that this behavior is true of everyone or even the majority, it is significant enough to be causing the relief efforts to fail or to become to dangerous for those administering them.

And in the midst of all this, our president has the gall to callously call for a crackdown on the looting:

“I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this — whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud,” Bush said. “And I’ve made that clear to our attorney general. The citizens ought to be working together.”

This from the man who sold us on a bogus war in a time when the last thing we as a people coming together needed was to crackdown on a minor madman. What we needed was community leadership that brought us together — and that helped us to see our common humanity. The more I hear and see of this president, the more my concerns are confirmed that he is not one who can lead us towards a greater empathic understanding of ourselves or our neighbors. Instead, his example will further encourage divisive behavior against our better nature.
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Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

3 thoughts on “Observations on the perceived failure of community after Katrina”

  1. I share your saddness for the people affected by this hurricaine and your disdain for this president. Unfortunately, I believe the roots of this failure of community run much deeper than one man or even his brand of economic, social and political injustice. Look at the faces of the people suffering from and abetting this calamity. They are the faces of the poor, those that our society has left behind in a country where looking out for oneself has become the pre-eminent value. Shame on us by putting individual desire ahead of community need. The depression, the Vietnam war, and 9/11 brought us back to our senses about the value of community, albeit for short periods in some cases. Now this disaster will hopefully bring us back together again and help us regain a better balance between me and we.

  2. yea. Just now I heard the Belgian Governement sends over a logistics team and the Duchies send over a team to look at the water infrastructure.
    If It where Thailand, hit by a tsunami, or Bangladesh taht flooded again, I would understand. But really, a society that manages to send robots to Mars needs help from crufty old Europeans?
    That saddens me. To learn that water on mars, or Micheal Jacksons seem to be more important for a society then a basic emergency infrastructure, for all citizens, for all people with families, mothers, fathers..

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