Katrina: As Opposed to the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 – plus Expectations

What a difference a century makes. We deal with looters, vagabonds, and the lazy significantly differently these days.

… authorized my me to KILL any and all persons engaged in Looting or in the Commission of Any Other

– see link for full scan of the proclamation. I do NOT see this as an ACLU issue, I see this as a shift in the thinking of what makes a civilization CONTINUE to work.

(h/t The Corner)

The Good Old Days, they were, um, you decide.

Meanwhile, CNN’s Anderson Cooper demands answers from the Louisiana Senator Landrieu, stating (Note: I could not get any of the referenced CNN video links to work),

“Does the federal government bear responsibility for what is happening now? Should they apologize for what is happening now?â€

Apologies won’t help the people in peril. Action is what is needed. That was a very cheap shot by Anderson Cooper. But he next interrupted her usual thanking of all the folks who have promised aid to the afflicted areas, and bluntly stated,

Senator, I’m sorry… for the last four days, I have been seeing dead bodies here in the streets of Mississippi and to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other — I have to tell you, there are people here who are very upset and angry, and when they hear politicians thanking one another, it just, you know, it cuts them the wrong way right now, because there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman has been laying in the street for 48 hours, and there is not enough facilities to get her up. Do you understand that anger?

This exchange may be a defining moment of this disaster for several reasons:

– A major anchorman lost his cool and spoke his thoughts, using images such as rats eating a body

– America sees that things are deteriorating in the Mississippi Delta and Gulf Coast

– Some of America sees that many expect a magic genie in the form of the Federal Government to appear and take care of problems immediately, even before the extent of the problem is known. (In several of the reports I’ve seen or read today, my immediate thought was why didn’t you do something rather than just complain about it).

I readily agree that this disaster is beyond the ability of Louisiana and Mississippi to cope with. But I believe the local state (and county and parish) authorities are better able to assess what is needed than folks in an office building in DC 1000 miles away. Each brings something to the table, local expertise, and experience with other significant events (for example, the FEMA funded Fairfax County VA rescue squad knows much more than any local group about getting people out of collapsed buildings). They work together while the crisis is still happening, rather than sitting back and finding fault. We have years to find fault, but we only have a limited time to respond to this disaster.

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Breath-of-Fresh-Air says:

    Anderson Cooper was EXCELLENT when he tore a new asshole out of Senator Landrieu. She was an embarrassment, sounding like an Academy Award recipient wanting to thank and gush over other politicians rather than talking to the situation at hand. The true nature and character of individuals comes through loud and clear when in moments of crisis and spin spin spin was the order of the day for Landrieu. Lovely.

  2. bryan says:

    Everyone points to the 1906 earthquake, but few seem to be pointing out that the situation was the same in the Galveston hurricane of 1900. Looters were shot. Bodies were burned in funeral pyres after no other means of disposing of them became available. No food. No water. Etc.

  3. daniel says:

    only joking i neeed help with my homework can any1 help me find a good website for pictures on earthquakes plz ty get bak to me .dan.