Thursday, September 01, 2005

A bad situation gets worse in New Orleans

The city of New Orleans is quickly approaching a state of anarchy, as looters, opportunistic delinquents and overall pieces of human debris attempt to reign terror over the city. Now what was once a rescue mission has turned into a warzone:

NEW ORLEANS -- The evacuation of the New Orleans Superdome was suspended Thursday after gunshots were fired at a military helicopter as thousands of National Guard troops poured into the Big Easy to boost security in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The first of nearly 25,000 refugees being sheltered at the New Orleans Superdome began to arrive in Houston, Texas, Thursday. But that process ground to a halt after shots were fired at the helicopter over the Superdome before daybreak, according to an ambulance official overseeing the operation.

"We have suspended operations until they gain control of the Superdome," said Richard Zeuschlag, head of Acadian Ambulance, which was handling the evacuation of sick and injured people from the Superdome.

He said that military would not fly out of the Superdome either because of the gunfire and that the National Guard told him that it was sending 100 military police officers to gain control.

"That's not enough," Zeuschlag said. "We need a thousand."

He also said that during the night, when a medical evacuation helicopter tried to land at a hospital in the outlying town of Kenner, the pilot reported that 100 people were on the landing pad, and some of them had guns.

"He was frightened and would not land," Zeuschlag said.

He said medics were calling him and crying for help because they were so scared of people with guns at the Superdome.

The 10,000 new National Guard troops deployed to the regions brought the number of troops dedicated to the effort to more than 28,000, in what may be the largest military response to a natural disaster.

Meanwhile, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile.

"They are starting to get closer to heavily populated areas -- hotels, hospitals, and we're going to stop it right now," Nagin said Wednesday.

Many strong emotions come up as I hear about these developments and I am reluctant to record them all here. I will tell you that I feel an intense resentment over this culture of entitlement and lawlessness that has been allowed and even encouraged by politicians and certain factions of this country over the past few decades. Taking cans of food from a grocery store for survival is one thing. Rolling out a cart full of brand new Nike shoes is quite another.

But now it has gone beyond the mere breaking of department store windows. Looters are crawling over corpses to steal whatever valuables they have on them. Armed half-wits are shooting at medical helicopters and waving guns at rescue workers, preventing them from saving those who legitimately need saving.

In short, a lowlife group of rogues has determined that this city is their city now. I have no sympathy for whatever happens to these punks at the hands of the National Guard.

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