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September 06, 2005

Dispatches from a society of entitlement

CNN's Drew Griffin (scroll down to 6:24pm):

I am stunned by an interview I conducted with New Orleans Detective Lawrence Dupree. He told me they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a "ticket." Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn't believe these people were afraid they'd be charged for a rescue.

And remember: these people are poor because they've been given too much for free.

Posted by Chris Selley at September 6, 2005 08:28 PM

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Uh... no. They stayed in their homes and ignored warnings, and placed their children and elderly in danger, because they have been trained that government can always be counted on to provide.

Posted by: Kate at September 7, 2005 12:04 AM

Kate, I agree that Katrina has a lot of lessons to teach about personal preparedness. But the idea that people stayed in New Orleans because they thought the government would save them flies in the face of this story that people thought they'd be charged to be evacuated. That was my one and only point.

(If I was to add more points, though, I'd say that once a government assumes responsibilities, or takes them at the point of a gun — Superdome patrons were prohibited from leaving, for instance, despite how much sense leaving made — it has a responsibility to follow through, and if it doesn't, then the failure is that government's alone.)

Posted by: Chris Selley at September 7, 2005 12:21 AM

Do you (Kate) think that the poor disproportionately would be inclined to stay behind, leaving themselves and their in danger, simply because they are more inclined to make bone stupid decisions? Or could it, perhaps, have something to do with not having the means to leave? Which, surely, is a result of being poor in the first place. And being poor is a lot more complicated than a series of bad decisions.

Posted by: Mike at September 7, 2005 08:11 AM

But Kate would have you believe -- in her winsome vehemence -- that the poor are poor as a result of government handouts; which, among other undesirable qualities, fosters dependency. But at least that diffuses the deterministic argument -- that the poor are simply inferior. She wouldn’t want us to believe that epithet even though her writings are of two minds: Welfare paternalism, Genetics. Please Kate, concentrate the mind. Does phylogeny and meager intelligence account for their penury, or is it the Welfare State? Kate, you’d be considered unoriginal if you weren’t so cute -- and you are… so cute. But this dungeon you continue to exercise -- risible to be sure -- is painfully superficial. I mean, you can’t really be that stupid. I’m coming to believe that Kate is the pseudonym for an emasculated, bedraggled fool. Oh what a shame it would to be lose sweet, ethereal Kate.

Posted by: Oppressed and White at September 7, 2005 12:30 PM

I think it is worth pointing out that it was not unrealistic for people to expect to be evacuated. The city's plan (which they never bothered following) called for using buses to get folks who didn't have their own transportation out of the city - the buses that Mayor Nagin left neatly parked until they were all four feet deep in water.... Just sayin'.

Posted by: Jay Dubya at September 7, 2005 01:40 PM

It does appear that there are a large number of the poor that stayed because by the time the Evac order was given, their ability to leave was almost nil; had they had the ability, they would have left.

There are also, apparently, a decently large number of people that could have left, and did not. Why? Potential reasons abound. Stubbornness. Stupidity. Fear of looting. A desire to loot. Disconnection with society to the point they missed the Evac order. Reliance/trust of government to the point they passed up chances to Evac when they had them because the order hadn't come yet, and they figured that if the order hadn't come, it must be going to be OK.

In Halifax, we had people on the radio after Juan complaining that there were no government officials at the shore telling them to stand away from it during the hurricane. So the notion that some people have abdicated all sense of responsibility for their safety to the government has some validity.

All that said, if anyone thinks there was a single cause for people staying behind, they're wrong, whether it's Kate or Chris doing the over-generalizing, you're both wrong.

Posted by: Craig at September 7, 2005 02:56 PM

Chris there is a cultural difference that you may not be aware of:

In Canada, when you call an ambulance or 911, you don't generally even think about the cost associated with it.

In fact, I can recall back in Duncan, a trailer-park trash woman actually calling an ambulance and faking an illness so she could get a ride to the hospital, which was closer to the bus route. That kind of thing simply doesn't happen down here.

Down here in the United States... if you do not have insurance, calling 911, and getting picked up in an ambulance can cost you upwards of $1000.00

People know this. That is their experience. It is not a stretch of the imagination to expect that getting a helicopter ride would also eventually result in a whopping bill as well.

And as for Kate's comments about people wilfully and stupidly ignorning the warnings to evacuate... many of the people trapped in NO did not have vehicles OR any means of getting out of the city at all.

This was also true of people in the 3 hurricanes that we experienced last summer here in Florida. Yes.. there are always going to be people who just ignore the warnings... but that's not generally what happens when the police cars and government vehicles start roving thru the streets announcing the mandatory evacs... as well as all the warnings on every TV station and radio station.

But Kate's response to this whole thing simple reconfirms my opinion of her socipathology.

I mean.. really and truly, who could forget her suggestions about Angolans in Africa and the Marburg virus... "Isn't it time that we are allowed to stop feeling sorry for these people, shut down the borders and let nature take it's course"

Ah yes. What a sweetheart. I'll give her one thing... She's consistent. Consistently maleveolent and stupid.. but consistent none-the-less.

Posted by: MWW at September 8, 2005 07:13 AM

It's important to bear in mind that her [Kate's] socipathatic tendencies are actually reigned in somewhat by the fact that this disaster happened in the US and so has to defend the Republican admininstration as well as stigmatize the poor. We'd have a full on view into the bleakness of her soul if it'd been pretty anywhere else in the world. And Canadian Conservatives wonder why it's sooooo easy to demonize them...

Posted by: Andy at September 8, 2005 07:02 PM

Meaghan, you're welcome to your ongoing feud with Kate, but I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from using your pet nickname for her here. It's too much, and which concerns me most, it's boring. I'm editing your post and Andy's to turn it into a somewhat civil conversation, and I'll do so in the future as well.

Posted by: Chris Selley at September 8, 2005 11:20 PM

Fair enough Chris as it's your blog. I'm sorry then for letting my irritation at the posturing of some to go a bit far. Thank you for the concise edit.

Posted by: Andy at September 9, 2005 07:12 PM