The Deadly Bigotry of Low Expectations? Did the rumor mill help kill Katrina victims?

“We don’t have any substantiated rapes,” New Orleans Police superintendent Edwin Compass said yesterday, according to the Guardian.
[. . .] Relief efforts ground to a halt last week after reports circulated of looters shooting at helicopters, yet none of the hundreds of articles I read on the subject contained a single first-hand confirmation from a pilot or eyewitness. The suspension-triggering attack—on a military Chinook attempting to evacuate refugees from the Superdome—was contested by Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown, who told ABC News, “We’re controlling every single aircraft in that airspace and none of them reported being fired on.” What’s more, when asked about the attacks, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff replied: “I haven’t actually received a confirmed report of someone firing on a helicopter.”

3 thoughts on “Rumors

  1. Unfortunately, part of the story is now confirmed.

    U.S. Attorney Jim Letten told reporters Tuesday that Wendell A. Bailey was arrested for atempting to destroy or endanger an aircraft early Tuesday morning. Law enforcement received a report via WWL radio that listeners had heard shots being fired in the Algiers area. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officers in Algiers responded witnessed Bailey firing at a passing military helicopter and took him into custody. Bailey, a convicted felon, was found in possession of a firearm.

  2. I’ve been wondering about this because the stereotypes are flying like lint. There may have been one or two incidents; we just don’t know.
    The authorities are going to extremes because of the stereotypes. It’s undoubtedly a mad scene down there. In a lot of ways we’re getting a false impression. It’s undoubtedly not really necessary to evacuate every living soul in New Orleans. It’s turning out that a fairly large portion of the city is habitable; some of it completely habitable. The flood water is undoubtedly not exactly wholesome, but probably not the deadly toxic brew we’re hearing about. Of course there’s e-coli in the water, there’s shit and dead bodies in the water, but only one form of e-coli is deadly, and this is probably not the deadly mutation. We all have e-coli in our bodies. Don’t write the city off yet. If Hiroshima and Nagasaki could recover, so can New Orleans.

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