If you don’t want to get mad at me, stop reading right now.

After Katrina hit, I decided to skirt the issue. The things I would have said had been covered well by others. Why repeat what had already been said? Plenty of posts had been made referring people to the Red Cross. Many extended their thoughts and prayers to the victims of the disaster. But now I’m ready to talk about it. Well, there's that, and someone requested my commentary. And so I’m going to poke some fun at people and I’m going to let my frustration out. And some people will be upset with me. And some will leave angry comments. And some might disassociate themselves completely, never stopping by here again. And that’s fine. The following text is my opinion. I’m not trying to make it yours.


Hurricane Katrina struck three states when it hit land. Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were devastated by the effects of the disaster. Why is it that New Orleans is getting all the media attention? Lives were ruined in other places, too. The difference is that the people of New Orleans had chosen to take up residence in a soup bowl below sea level. Scientists have been saying for years that New Orleans could be destroyed in a serious hurricane. The dead aren’t buried in the ground because of the flood risk. There are giant levees keeping water out of the city. These are what many would call signs that the region is inhospitable for human population.

The region had two full days of warning. Slightly more than forty-eight hours. This may not be much time, but it’s enough for you to pack up and get away from the swirling vortex of destruction. Members of one wealthy neighborhood in New Orleans had so much time that they were able to find and hire security agents from Blackwater (the same company that’s sending men into Iraq to assist with security operations). And those agents had time to pack up their arsenal of weaponry and get to New Orleans before the storm hit. They even had time to run out and buy food and hundreds of gallons of water, propane and gasoline. If those living in the neighborhood had time to find security personnel to protect their homes, wait for the security to get their and hand over their keys, then there was time to evacuate.

If you didn’t have the money to drive or get a bus ticket, maybe that’s when you should have pulled out your guns to make something happen instead of waiting until after the storm. I’m not saying you should kill a family of six and take their minivan, just make the seven-year-old ride on the roof while the dad drives out of the state at gunpoint. You get out of the way of the hurricane and nobody gets hurt. It’s win-win.

And then there was the women who kept screaming at the TV crews, “We need help!” What you needed was to round up your neighbors and stop shooting the people who are coming to help you. It’s like the head of the Border Patrol said to his agents when they were talking about not carrying weapons anymore, “Stop shooting them and they will come.” I know that not everyone in the city became a cop killer after the hurricane, all those people waiting for help could have done a little more to help themselves. One swift kick to the back of the head, and that guy with the gun is going down. And then help rolls in. There were plenty of troops waiting to help, but they were a little put off by all the life-threatening shootings.

Many people are blaming the disaster on Bush, saying that he caused global warming and that he took money away from New Orleans and that he refused to protect the wetlands. Please get a grip.

Bush didn’t cause global warming. People did. We use and produce chemicals that are harmful to the environment. And even if Bush spent all day in the atmosphere spraying can after can of aerosol hairspray into the air, Katrina was not caused by global warming. The media got that idea from a scientist who was misunderstood. The only thing getting hotter is the sun. And there’s no way that’s our fault. [Unless you support this reintroduction of 80’s fashion. Then everything is your fault.] And besides, the Antarctic is actually getting colder. [And just for good measure: the NY Times refutes the global warming theory.]

Bush did not take money away from New Orleans for the war. Congress did. And yeah, maybe he dropped the ball on protecting the wetlands, but most experts think that they wouldn’t have made much of a difference in this case. And Bush had other things on his mind. Like making sure you didn’t get radiation poisoning from a terrorist’s dirty bomb or a rogue nuke from international psycho Kim Jong-il.

The bottom line? Bad things happen. I stubbed my toe on the bed this morning, but I'm not going to call up the Lumberjacks Society of America to complain about the aggressive quality of their wood products or construct and then burn a tiny bed effigy in the park with my friends. All this complaining and blame-placing is a waste of time and the energy desperately needed to get lives back to normal.

UPDATE:
Several good points have been made over at Gateway Pundit.

16 Responses to “the big one”

  1. # Blogger Joe Fuel

    excuse me, i believe you mean "international psycho and hot-pants enthusiast Kim Jong Il." let's be honest, that guy's just one creepy sumbitch.  

  2. # Blogger r.fuel

    You're right. That's exactly what I meant.  

  3. # Blogger Fuzzball

    You won't get a nasty comment from me, I agree with you. That first paragraph in italics had me all geared up for a fight, but I ended up nodding throughout the rest of the post and I ended with "why the hell would I be mad at this?"

    Kudos to you for your honesty.  

  4. # Blogger Lee

    i agree with that all the way!  

  5. # Anonymous aimee

    glad to see fuzzball is back with no hard feelings  

  6. # Anonymous me

    hot pants!  

  7. # Anonymous anonymonster

    "make the seven-year-old ride on the roof"??? how irresponsible is that???!!!  

  8. # Blogger anaglyph

    Well, I gotta take exception to your implication that global warming is a fantasy, as I'm sure you knew I would. The G8 countries have now agreed that global warming is a reality, and when the money talks, you know there's a problem. Sure, you can't take one hurricane such as Katrina in isolation as evidence. It is totally possible that a storm of this magnitude would have happened anyway. But the world's weather is weird. Here in Australia we are suffering the worst drought since white colonization. There is incontrovertible evidence that the ice-shelves in the Antarctic are melting faster than they have in many thousands of years. I won't go on here about this stuff. The bottom line is: we're wrecking the planet in most every other way. It's totally likely we're stuffing up the temperatures too.  

  9. # Blogger Eric

    No offense, but saying that we have "irrefutable evidence" that ice is melting faster than it has in THOUSANDS OF YEARS is absolutely bogus... were you there thousands of years ago? Science is not fool proof, and when it comes to investigatin the past, it has a long history of developing methods that end up being biased towards the desired outcome. Not always on purpose, but if you set out expecting to find something, chances are you're gonna find it.

    Besides that, Robert, thanks for having, to quote the brother, the "testicular fortitude" to post exactly what I've been wanting to post.  

  10. # Blogger r.fuel

    Anaglyph- there is no doubt in my mind that the presence of humans on earth has altered its landscape. That's undeniable. But to say that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming just doesn't follow the facts. The media collected that mistaken assumption from a paper written by Kerry Emanuel, who has since cleared up the manner in interviews, saying that that's not what he meant in the media-quoted passage.

    But, like I said, this is my opinion. If you believe that global warming did cause Katrina, that's fine, and I'll still be your friend.  

  11. # Blogger r.fuel

    Also, I didn't mean that you were trying to say that Katrina was caused by global warming. I was just got a little carried away.

    Thanks again for your input. It's always appreciated.  

  12. # Blogger anaglyph

    Eric: It is relatively trivial to show the rate of ice melt over thousands of years. This is easy science. You just take ice cores and make measurements. You're right, science is not foolproof. I didn't say it was. But every day you use things that science thought up for you, and you don't question those things. You have cars and planes and uncontaminated food because of science - why choose to place your trust in those things and not in things like ice-melt calculations? Proper science doesn't 'find what it wants to find'. That's the point of science - you structure experiments that don't predict outcomes.

    You can believe what you want to believe my friend. I'm not going to proselytize. All I can suggest is that you read widely and keep an open mind.  

  13. # Blogger anaglyph

    Robert: No, I didn't say Katrina was caused by global warming. I don't think anyone could make an explicit statement like that, and I would be wary of anyone that did. But I stand by my assertion that it's fairly clear that the weather is becoming very unpredictable. As I say, and no-one picked this up - the G8 countries have agreed to address climate change. If there's no problem, why is the Big Money concerned?

    I'm not at all antagonistic about this. I'm not saying 'you're wrong and I'm right'. But I do believe that as a generalization we could be treating the planet a whole lot better. I don't believe any rational person could argue about that. So it follows - why not try and reduce pollution of all kinds, including the enormous amount of carbon that humans are pouring into the atmosphere. We're pissing in our own pool people.

    As for being friends - the test of good friendship is surely being able to understand and tolerate differences of opinion. What a dull old world it would be with none of that, eh?  

  14. # Blogger r.fuel

    I agree.  

  15. # Anonymous anoonymous

    global warming or no, one interesting aspect of the post-Katrina behavior in New Orleans was pointed out by a sociologist whose name escapes me, but who said, in essence: if you want to see what kind of society and culture we have, take a look at our behavior under stress. Katrina has given us a pretty good look at ourselves and some of it is not very pretty. Even the commentary on "the federal government's response" is not pretty, because it is often clear that the voices complaining about the response have their own agenda -- which is to leverage human loss, misery and suffering to advance their own selfish interests -- all the while hiding behind a cloak of faux concern for the victims. remember the wolf in little red riding hood? the better to eat you with, my dear.  

  16. # Blogger r.fuel

    I agree, Pop. The real tragedy here is that the victims of the disaster are being used to push a given agenda. The complainers care more about their complaining than the subject of their complaints.

    It's very similar to the situation in Iraq. Our mutual friend who just returned from his tour there told me how frustrating it was to him and his fellow soldiers that the media only reported on the soldiers who were upset at the situation when those soldiers where a vast minority. He was adament in his insistence that most of the US contingency in Iraq was proud to be serving the country and proud to bring freedom to the Iraqi people.  

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