Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« "Does Anybody... Know Anything About Buses?" | Main | Fumigating FEMA »

September 13, 2005

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b2aa69e200d8345ad9c769e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Recapping Gretna:

» Bambi Stokes-Hymington's NFL Preview from Mudville Gazette
Well, the big question most of you are wondering this first week of the NFL season is "where's Bambi been?" Let me tell you, I thought I was going on a nice family vacation to the Caribean, but a near... [Read More]

» Bambi Stokes-Hymington's NFL Preview from Mudville Gazette
Well, the big question most of you are wondering this first week of the NFL season is "where's Bambi been?" Let me tell you, I thought I was going on a nice family vacation to the Caribean, but a near... [Read More]

» Bambi Stokes-Hymington's NFL Preview from Mudville Gazette
Well, the big question most of you are wondering this first week of the NFL season is "where's Bambi been?" Let me tell you, I thought I was going on a nice family vacation to the Caribbean, but a near... [Read More]

» Gretna from Daily Pundit
More on the Gretna bridge, looting, and other related subjects. Some thoughts: Was racism involved? Probably, to some extent. On... [Read More]

» More On the Gretna Story from Brainster's Blog
Here's my problem with the story that folks were trying to evacuate in that direction: Where were they going? Here's a look at the map: [Read More]

» Bambi Stokes-Hymington's NFL Preview from Mudville Gazette
Well, the big question most of you are wondering this first week of the NFL season is "where's Bambi been?" Let me tell you, I thought I was going on a nice family vacation to the Caribbean, but a near miss from a hurricane had everybody a bit on edge.... [Read More]

Comments

Jim Rockford

This is all about crime. ANY Louisianan I met outside New Orleans, black or white, had extremely negative things to say about the crime and inability of the authorities to deal with it.

Crime and the fear of confronting criminals runs through every decision.

Jim E.

"So much for my two-cent sleuthing, and the Socialist air-brushing."

Is this your round-about way of saying the NY Times' initial reporting was maybe, just maybe, *gasp* semi-responsible after all?

cathyf

More and more I'm thinking that the absolutely key failure in NO (well, besides the levee breeches!) is the complete failure of the communications system for police and fire.

This was clearly a matter of being unprepared -- more battle-hardened comm gear is widely available, and it's not even all that pricey. And then the second chance got blown when the NOPD were able to contact a repair team and get them to rush to New Orleans, but the state police turned them back at the checkpoints. At that point, the only people moving information in and out of New Orleans were the journalists.

There is a reason why in modern warfare bombing runs against the enemy's command-and-control are such vital military actions. Things deteriorate very quickly without it.

cathy :-)

cathyf
the NY Times' initial reporting was maybe, just maybe, *gasp* semi-responsible after all?

Hey, man, nobody's perfect! ;->

cathy :-)

Po Boy

Hey-you want a scoop. The Pontchatoula exit off I-55 was blocked to all evacuees as well. Now if you dont think that was racist based-you don't know Louisiana.

As far as Gretna, I 'll withhold judgment on all the specifics until I talk to more people-but Harry Lee-the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish (Gretna is a town in the Parish) is well known for a certain racial (in)sensitivity, although he hates Chinese slurs

This is Sheriff Lee in 1988:

"If there are some young blacks driving a car late at night in a predominantly white area, they will be stopped," Lee said. "If you live in a predominantly white area and two blacks are in a car behind you, there's a pretty good chance they're up to no good. We will stop everybody that we think has no business in the neighborhood, it's obvious that two young blacks driving a rinky-dink car in a predominantly white neighborhood -- I'm not talking about on the main thoroughfare, but if they're on one of the side streets and they're cruising around -- they'll be stopped."

As far as politics goes, it certainly got him votes in those white neighborhoods.

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2005-04-12/
cover_story.html


kim

Keeping order is color blind. Was breaking order?
===================================================

kim

In other words, are some interpreting the actions to keep order as racist because it was 'a certain race' which was not keeping order?

Were the actions to keep order motivated by the disorder or the race?

I don't see any evidence that it was race.
========================================

Po boy

It's a long standing association Kim.

Let's say (for whatever reason) you don't like the 600 people that are NFL football players. Now it would also turn out you dont like 600 specific men-but that's not because they're men per se-it's because there are no women NFL players.

If you wanted to keep NFL players out of your town-but didn't have time for background checks-you could just keep all men out. That would solve your problem with those goddamned NFL players.

Now people say- but look Gretna is 35% black. It couldn't be racist. That doesn't matter at all.

I assure you Gretna police were not saying we dont want blacks in this town. They were saying "we dont want crack deprived lawless looting gangsta thugs in this town." A reasonable proposition.Who would?

But they dont have time to screen individuals. So in their mind they just say-let's keep all the black outs period and thereby keep out the small percentage that is crack deprived lawless looting gangsta thugs.

In basic terms, they discriminated against a population, because they didn't have time or resources to discriminate against the individual members of that population they actually had a beef with.

Whether that's racist thinking or good policemanship, I'll leave to you. But I can guarantee you that's what they were thinking.

Just look at the quote from Sheriff Lee I pasted above. What assumptions lie therein?

TM

Is this your round-about way of saying the NY Times' initial reporting was maybe, just maybe, *gasp* semi-responsible after all?

In my round-about way, I addressed my thoughts on the Times reporting in my original post. They had a specific allegation from an eyewitness that the incident was racially motivated. Given the opportunity to (a) report and confirm it; (b) report and debunk it; or (c) ignore it, the Times chose (c).

Clear enough, yet?

As for the concept of stopping folks for DWB, that is not unique to New Orleans.

kim

Ah, Po Boy, another attemt at decoding, and mind reading. My less complex analysis is that they were keeping order. What's inherently racist about that?
================================================

Matt

Tom, there is a very helpful look at this story with additional info (and visual aids!) here:

http://www.snappingturtle.net/flit/archives/2005_09_10.html#005555

ed

Hmmmm.

Doesn't the actions by the Gretna police violate both the US Consitution and the Louisiana Constitution?

Louisiana Constituction

"Sec. 2. No person shall be deprived of life, *liberty*, or property, except by due process of law."

Isn't preventing someone from walking along public roadways, without a legal cause, a violation of that Section? Is there a legal or constitutional equivalent of a "lockdown"? Can you legally prevent people, who are escaping a terrible disaster, from passing through along public ways?

Hmmm. I seem to remember something about laws or amendments passed, during the Civil Rights Movement, to prevent local governments from impeding the travels and/or movements of people.

BruceR

You missed this other account: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/090805/loc_2005090820.shtml

"About 50 hotel guests, including the 12 from Michigan, left together "for safety reasons," McCarthy said.

"As they were walking, a police officer advised them not to go to the convention center. Then another offi cer steered them toward a ferryboat loading dock, across from a police command building.

"Hearing hot meals were being served over a bridge, the group was headed that way when they spotted thugs wielding golf clubs.

""The locals said, 'They're letting the white people out,' " McCarthy recalled. "I felt very, very bad."

"The group wasn't all white, he reports. "We had people from Holland, Brazil, Turkey, Chile and Australia, and several African-Americans."

"As McCarthy's group crossed the bridge, a police offi cer fired a shot over their heads. The group turned back and stayed overnight on the loading dock. McCarthy stuffed his credit cards in his sock. He learned later there had been a riot of some kind near the bridge..."

kim

Good question, ed, but I believe emergency orders suspend those rights.

It is becoming clear that Gretna will be interpreted in myriad ways. Infortunately, there appear to be only two, somewhat polarized, sets of witnesses to the event.
============================================

Po boy

Wrong Kim. There are the people that lived here who can place that event in context. I tried to do that for you but I suppose you missed it.

I'm not saying the Gretna cops were racist. Hell, some were probably black themselves. But if you dont think there's racism in Louisiana, you don't have a clue.

Po boy

I'll repeat this quote because it should clear up this whole thing. It repesents the exact mindset carried by the Gretna cops. This is their superior officer (Harry Lee) speaking in 1988:

"If there are some young blacks driving a car late at night in a predominantly white area, they will be stopped," Lee said. "If you live in a predominantly white area and two blacks are in a car behind you, there's a pretty good chance they're up to no good. We will stop everybody that we think has no business in the neighborhood, it's obvious that two young blacks driving a rinky-dink car in a predominantly white neighborhood -- I'm not talking about on the main thoroughfare, but if they're on one of the side streets and they're cruising around -- they'll be stopped."

kim

So if race is a problem where is it addressed in the disaster planning by local, state, and federal authorities?
==================================================

JimO

"walked 10 kilometres in a torrential downpour carrying all the belongings they could manage."

I saw that rain in several video reports on that day -- the crowds were screaming for water bottles, while drinkable water was running off their shoulders into the mud. Where was a single person with enough sense to unfold a few ponchoes and refill the empty water bottles they had kept for that possibility? -- oops, I'm sorry, they had dropped those bottles in the mud as soon as they finished them... oh, never mind.

LAN3

The account given by Lorrie Beth Slonsky, to "This American Life" producer and contributor Alex Blumberg, was that their group, initially 200 people from the convention (a convention of first-responders, if I'm not mistaken) eventually doubled, and then doubled again, so that as they approached the Gretna police on the bridge, they were 800-1000 (she gives both numbers, IIRC) in number, and the people who had accumulated were people from the parts of the city they traversed who had seen them moving somewhere and decided to stick with them. I don't recall if she specifically indicated that the people with them were black, but it certainly stands to reason with the city's demographics.

Audio archived at:
http://www.thislife.org/pages/descriptions/05/296.html (Act Two, specifically)

Lance

Po-boy and Kim,

I think you are both right. As for Harry Lee and the people of Jefferson Parish, I wouldn't say they are blinded by racism, they were tolerant enough to elect Bobby Jindal. However, it is also the parish which gave us David Duke. Obviously they are certainly able to exercise it with the barest of fig leafs. Those of us who live down here know who Harry Lee is, and we have differing views of what should be made of that. Nobody however has any illusions about what the man represents and the quotes above say plenty. My stomach nearly turned hearing that little....

I'll restrain myself. My stomach nearly turned listening to Aaron Broussard being lionized in the national media along with his heroic Sheriff Harry Lee. I don't know whether the Gretna police departments actions would have occurred sans racism or not. Whether racism motivates a lot of these people is beyond question. The Democratic party of Louisiana is a sick beast, I suggest liberals demand it be reformed and turned from power for a few years until it has been cleaned up. A true liberal wouldn't associate with that bunch. Here is one place where a progressive should feel at home somewhere else, even as a Republican.

richard mcenroe

"If there are some young blacks driving a car late at night in a predominantly white area, they will be stopped," Lee said. "If you live in a predominantly white area and two blacks are in a car behind you, there's a pretty good chance they're up to no good. We will stop everybody that we think has no business in the neighborhood, it's obvious that two young blacks driving a rinky-dink car in a predominantly white neighborhood -- I'm not talking about on the main thoroughfare, but if they're on one of the side streets and they're cruising around -- they'll be stopped."


In Los Angeles, we call that Bel Air.

leaddog2

Why are people afraid to state the obvious? Fear of criminals was the issue. Most of the druggies were black. They kept the druggies out of Gretna. The real question is why are black criminals so common. I submit that the Demoncrats welfare state is the direct culprit.

Before the "Great Society" destroyed the black family, less that 20% of black children were born "out of wedlock". Today 68% are. That says it all!

DaraLundy

(The looting spun out of control and (responsibility for) that falls squarely on the slow response of the feds. Federal troops should have been here no later than 24 hours after the storm to maintain order. It took more than six days and they are still not here in full force. No National Guard are in my area yet, even today. No Red Cross yet.)

Wouldn't it have been illegal for federal troups to help out? Posse comitatus or something. And the National Guard is under the control of the Governor, I thought.

kim

Look, if a liberal can't cry 'racism' they lose their identity.
===================================================

Mr. Snitch!

Well, leaddog2, the reason people won't come out and SAY that is because they can then be labeled a racist, a Nazi, or worse. (But that doesn't mean they don't hold that opinion.) As someone who has worked on a number of political campaigns (strategist) I can assure you that you've hit upon the key to Democratic politics, which depend on urban hiring machines and welfare. Called 'compassion' of course, the real reason for their 'big government, big umbrella' ethos is nothing more than to remain in office. Come election time, if for instance a fire-breathing Republican comes along to say the fat must be trimmed, that candidate becomes the sworn enemy of everyone on the dole.

That's why, if you look at a map, red areas tend to be exurban and blue areas (it takes density to support this game) tend to be urban. Any liberal worth his salt will of course tell you that this is merely because city-dwellers are 'smarter' (and therefore Democratic) than those hicks who live outside urban boundaries. [As a resident of one of the our nation's more famously-corrupt areas (the Democratic Republic of Hudson County, NJ) I say that if urban dwellers were half as smart as they assure themselves to be, they'd elect Republicans more regularly just to trim the brush.]

The many who hold to the 'we're-smarter' belief, are particularly galled to be perpetually beaten by those exurban hicks in national elections. This in turn gives rise to the comforting theory that the hicks must be cheating.

Back to your point: It would be an exteremly interesting sociological study to learn how some of New Orleans' welfare-state expatriates fare in the anti-union, anti-welfare state of Texas.

Jim E.

"They had a specific allegation from an eyewitness that the incident was racially motivated. Given the opportunity to (a) report and confirm it; (b) report and debunk it; or (c) ignore it, the Times chose (c).

Clear enough, yet?"

Ah, so you think it is in the best interests of Times' readers for the Times to pursue the subjective opinions of sources of unknown credibility. You, a conservative, want the Times to take marching orders from contributers to a socialist publication. Strange, considering that you yourself are no longer as enthusiasctic about the part (the racial part) of the source that the NY Times chose not to highlight.

The most newsworthy -- and verifiable -- part of the story is that there was a confrontation on the bridge. The racial aspect -- if there was even a racial aspect -- is a secondary story at best. If the Times does zero follow-up on the story, then they will have clearly dropped the ball and would deserve to be criticized loudly. (Have they done any follow-up?) But for the initial story -- which remains murky -- they were responsible for avoiding the interjection of race. Unless they had further info by deadline, it was good of them to punt on the racial aspect.

I find it fascinating that you think the NY Times doesn't write about racial tensions enough. They published an entire book of articles about race in America a handful of years ago. (They're usually accused of obsessing about race, not avoidng it.) What other newspaper has done that? What other newspaper could do that?

But for you, the NY Times is always wrong, even when they aren't.

Pierre Legrand

Can someone interpret these statistics for me? Given these statistics and the fact that looting had already broken out on the Westbank, Oakwood shopping center had been set afire by looters, why anyone thinks its strange that the Gretna Police stopped a large crowd from coming over? Were they supposed to vet every single person coming over or just stop them all?

Btw my buddy was there and he reports that the police were simply ovewhelmed by the possiblity of facing that many angry citizens that for all they knew might be armed.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

Course I suspect that I will merely be labeled racist and the discussion will end there. So instead of using the word the Department of Justice used to denote a certain demographic represented by those statistics just replace that word with "tribe" there. Do we all feel better now?

Lance Paddock

Well I am not a liberal, and all the politicians involved were Democrat and as I said, who knows what their motivation was? I would however suggest that racism was somewhere on the list if you know anything about these characters. Might it have been a good idea anyway? Maybe. But Harry Lee, Broussard and the rest of the atavistic crew of David Duke's favorite parish are hardly the people we should be defending, since they are hardly the people we should want making such life and death decisions.

Or is it that being from the right side of the spectrum implies one can never admit race might play a factor? That seems as silly as many a liberals need to inject it into everything. Just because we get a little gun shy at constantly being called racist doesn't mean we should never look and see if maybe racism might have a wee bit to do with this stuff.

If it makes you feel better, it doesn't do it for me, remember that it is the Democratic party being tarred here and it was that lying little toad Broussard who launched a thousand rumors that Bush was purposely depriving the citizens of Jefferson Parish. Of course all kinds of racist visions sprang forth, because of course said mythical events were because Bush didn't care for the poor and black. Never mind that the press corp couldn't bother to learn the parish is 70% white and its local authorities would prefer the population were even paler. Maybe that will allow us to look a little closer at who we are defending.

TM

CNN's Anderson Cooper has a me-too story, so now MSNBC and CNN can race to establish just how racist the Gretna cops were.

FWIW, the chief says they had no communications and weren't in touch with anyone, so I doubt this came from the Governor's office. Or, if it did, he is not saying so.

jt007

Mr. Morgan isn't just a loyal Democrat, he is also clueless. The federal troops he believes should have been there within 24 hours could not have been used for law enforcement (Posse Comitatus) and no, the Insurrection Act doesn't apply (regardless of the NY Times report about anonymous White House advisors saying that it does). Furthermore, he is the only one who thinks that the evacuation was first class and the Red Cross (an agency of FEMA once the President declared a state of emergency on Aug. 26th) was prevented from coming in to New Orleans by the State DHS, not FEMA. Finally, the State eventually deployed 7,000 National Guard troops. Why didn't Blanco do so sooner? These points have all been made ad nauseum obviously, but that doesn't stop Democrats like Moore from propagandizing.

Moore is clearly a loyal Democrat, he doesn't see the need to deal with reality. He thinks that if he says the local authorities did a good job, then it will magically make it so.

kate beevers

I am unclear on this cause and effect thing. Did I read that the looting was directly the responsibility of the National Guard? Pardon me, the responsibility for looting rests solidly on THE LOOTERS. If they weren't doing their thing (looting) there would be little need for the National Guard other than to hand out food and water and transport marooned people to safer ground.

Katherine

There was an NPR program Sunday that had firsthand accounts of the same incident that tracked the paramedics. It aired 6ish in NY. I was told the host was based in Chicago but I don't remember the program's name. "This American Life" maybe but I could be totally making that up.

Cecil Turner

"I was told the host was based in Chicago but I don't remember the program's name. "This American Life" maybe . . ."

That's right, and it's from WBEZ in Chicago. The program in question is available here (59 min RealAudio file). Ira Glass starts off with a great (but wrong) explanation of why the federal government was respsonsible for executing the evacuation, then interviews various survivors.

Frank IBC

The many who hold to the 'we're-smarter' belief, are particularly galled to be perpetually beaten by those exurban hicks in national elections. This in turn gives rise to the comforting theory that the hicks must be cheating.

Excellent point.

"Bush is an idiot."

"So how come you people can't come up with a candidate who can beat this 'idiot'?"

"Because...because...it's Karl Rove!!! He's a diabolically clever evil genius!!!"

{sigh}

kim

They assumed that 'Anybody but Bush' could beat him. They got really sloppy, thank God.
==================================================

Frank IBC

They thought if they all gathered in a circle and hated Bush as much as they could, he would lose.

kim

That pretty well somes up the strategy, Frank, and look how close it was, thanks to MSM hatred magnified via media amplification.
=================================================

Johan Amedeus Metesky

Let's look at the evidence. Black people were turned back by Gretna police officials. White people were turned back by Gretna police officials. It appears that the Gretna police officials were not discriminating on the basis of race. Could there have been an underlying racist fear of blacks from New Orleans that was the basis of the decision? Perhaps, but that's all speculation.

It's interesting that article in the Oakland Press about the Michigan tourists does mention a racial angle. Apparently, the mixed race group of tourists trying to leave via the Gretna bridge felt threatened by local blacks brandishing golf clubs as weapons who made racial remarks:

About 50 hotel guests, including the 12 from Michigan, left together "for safety reasons," McCarthy said.

As they were walking, a police officer advised them not to go to the convention center. Then another offi cer steered them toward a ferryboat loading dock, across from a police command building.

Hearing hot meals were being served over a bridge, the group was headed that way when they spotted thugs wielding golf clubs.

"The locals said, 'They're letting the white people out,' " McCarthy recalled. "I felt very, very bad."

The group wasn't all white, he reports. "We had people from Holland, Brazil, Turkey, Chile and Australia, and several African-Americans."

kim

I'd say the overview is that the Gretna cops kept order.
==================================================

kim

What are the reports of damage from the actions of the Gretna police?

Is this all much ado about nothing? Homer and his Gods, indeed.
================================================

ed

Hmmmm.

@ kim

"Good question, ed, but I believe emergency orders suspend those rights."

Ummm. On whose authority? Did Govenor Blanco suspend the US Constitution and the LA Constitution? If she did, then when and did she have the authority to suspend the US Constitution?

On whose authority did the Gretna cops interfere with and prevent the intra-state and inter-state commerce of citizens and legal aliens in violation of the US Constitution and the LA Constitution?

If it was their own authority, then what authority is that?

Frankly I think some enterprising lawyers should look at this as a serious cash cow.

kim

ed, haven't you been taught to obey police officers?
===================================================

ed

Hmmmm.

@ kim

"ed, haven't you been taught to obey police officers?"

Actually no I wasn't. However I was taught the US Constitution, along with my South Korean immigrant mother, by my father.

Along with that I was taught not to take any crap from anyone, police officer or no, and to never date a woman who could beat me up.

Frankly that last bit always made me a bit curious about my father's dating experiences.

:)

kim

And when a police officer stops you for a traffic crime you don't believe you committed you don't take any crap from the officer unless she can beat you up, right?
================================================

ed

Hmmmm.

@ kim

"And when a police officer stops you for a traffic crime you don't believe you committed you don't take any crap from the officer unless she can beat you up, right?"

The last time that happened I got handcuffed and taken to the police station. Heh.

Jerkweed

Same thing happened to me ed-when this lady cop said "anything you say can and will be held against you" I said "tits"

kim

I thought close only counted in horseshoes and hand grenades.
===============================================

kim

and government work, apparently.
===============================

Mike Brewer

All of the arguments for and against the "roadblock" are nauseating. Many may be correct. I'm sure the majority are more speculation than fact.

We are missing a much more important point here, which, in my opinion, greatly outweighs all of those presented above: a group of human beings abandoned another group of human beings, and without determining beforehand whether or not they were truly a clear and present danger to the residents of Gretna, LA.

As a former Commander of an Air Force Weapon Systems Security Squadron, I can assure you that there are many ways to prevent unlawful entry. A bridge like the one going into Gretna is ideal. A roadblock of marked vehicles, armed policemen, and hand held metal detectors (or quick frisk) at each entry point is generally all that is required. If someone attempts to avoid the checkpoints, then they can be stopped by whatever means necessary, including deadly force.

At least, at this point, each refugee can decide for himself or herself whether they will submit to a search or chance being shot.

Anything less demonstrates of a complete disregard for humanity.

Cecil Turner

"We are missing a much more important point here, which, in my opinion, greatly outweighs all of those presented above: a group of human beings abandoned another group of human beings, and without determining beforehand whether or not they were truly a clear and present danger to the residents of Gretna, LA."

They "abandoned" them? That might make sense if Gretna were the promised land, or even on the road to it . . . but a quick look at a map suggests otherwise. Seems to me the police in Gretna did a good job stopping the looting from spreading--and the officials in NO telling people to go over the Crescent City Connection were out to lunch. As far as "clear and present danger" goes, is that really the standard for crowd control in a disaster area? I think not. (They shoot looters, don't they?)

Den Valdron


Speaking as a Canadian, I think the most shocking thing about the outcomes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was that it laid bare just how viciously racist American society is. I thought that racism in Canada was about the same as racism in the United States, but your nation embraces a pathology of outstanding virulence. You people really know how to hate, and I'm impressed at the way your hatred trumps compassion, humanity, logic and even your own self interest. This really does cast America in a new and rather horrific light.

Andy Michaels' Blog on Internet Marketing and Online Success

This is year 3 that my friend Alex Brown will be teaching an innovative undergrad class at the University of Delaware. Infotech Applications in Marketing and is probably one of the few of its kind that is required for marketing majors. In addition to presenting the lastest interactive strategies, including social media/ blogs and search, students are required to blog their assignments.

lastchaos gold

My friend told me that she would buy lastchaos gold for me, and I was so happy.

mabinogi gold

When you have mabinogi gold, you can get more!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Amazon

  • Lee Child, Kindle short story
  • Lee Child
  • Gary Taubes

Traffic

Wilson/Plame