Talk:Louisiana officials accused of blocking rescue volunteers

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Some remarks from germany[edit]

I really cannot understand this anymore. Hi, I am from Germany. This morning I heard in WDR ( a German Radio Station) that our Technical Aid Service is standing by since Wednesday with equipment like, machines to make drinking water, huge pumps, etc.) They could have been already there and serve about 50.000 people. But your president told the german aid organizations, that you could manage alone. To be honest, it doesn't look like. Are the americans too proud to take help from others? Do they rather let thousands of people die?

Second remark is about the looting. Even in the Tsunami where hundert thousands died, in 3rd world countries, there was help from the people to each other. I personally volunteered there and I have seen how even criminals from distroyed prisons were helping the people in danger. Instead of moving together and show humanity, the americans kill each other for a new television or other stolen goods.

I really believe now that there is something fundamently wrong in your country. I really hope that american citizens recognize that.

Regards from "good old europe"

frank / Cologne-Germany

  • Frank, thank you for your astute observations. I must,in defense of the American people, take a stab at "why" many of our citizens act as they do. Firstly, because my comments might otherwise seem outrageous, for credibility purposes, I should draw you attention to the fact that my edit at the very top of the page here [[1]] BEFORE THE HURRICANE EVEN HIT LAND was the only prediction anywhere on the internet that the U.S. government's response would be so cavalier and ineffectual. Most non-Americans,(who our government refers to as "foreigners" or "aliens") make 2 faulty assumptions; One is that the USA is under the control of government officials who care about the bottom third (poor) people of America. If you think about this for a moment you will realize that is not the case. That is why 50 million WORKING Americans have no health insurance at all; the people on welfare are slightly better off because at least they receive crappy health care. I have come to the awkward conclusion that our most powerful politicians actually think its a good thing when the poorer people in America die unnecessarily; in fact, the 2 most powerful men in America actually belong to a sadistic cult which embraces predatory classism and believes that the poorer people are "barbarians" to be used,abused, exploited and killed (by commission or omission);[[2]][[3]]which goes a long way to explaining why poor Americans have such easy access to guns,crack and meth.
  • The other faulty assumption is that the US government represents the American people. 97% of respondents to a CNN poll last month said that Congress is NOT representing their interests[[4]](near bottom). In effect, the US government has been hijacked by entrenched,career politicians who are supported by big multinational companies; and no matter how bad a job they do, 95% are re-elected. It is now a "fixed game" in America where the voter only has the choice of tweedle dee or tweedle dum. Both presidential candidates last time supported globalization and foreign military intervention while the American people support neither. There are 8 full time lobbiests assigned to each congressman in Washington. And recently, laws have been passed which make it financially and logistically impossible for anyone who is not a member of the Democrat or Republican party to run for office. Add to that the general educational deficiancies of many Americans[[5]]who have jobs as government officials and you have a country where f___ing up is the norm. If you remember, the emergency responders to the 9/11 attack did not have walkie talkies that worked. And just look at all the screwups leading up to and engaging in the War In Iraq. So, I've never been to Germany, but I have been to 8 other European countries; and the only one that treats its people worse than the USA does, is Albania. Right now, the male refugees at the Houston Astrodome,likely in shock, who accidently wander into the women's showers are immediately being arrested[[6]]. And as I'm sure you know; the worse people are treated, the worse they behave. Paulrevere2005 12:52, 2 September 2005 (UTC),
  • I dunno, Frank. It's certainly weird behavior all around. Something doesn't feel right about the whole thing, and it's bothering me. Fortyseven 2005-09-02 @ 1154 EDT


I'd just like to interject a few comments. I think that some of these observations are absolutely dead on. The government has been effectively high-jacked by people whose work is strictly dictated by the top two or three percent wealthiest demographic in the United States. Also, if you see some of the reports coming from New Orleans you'll find that the so-called "looting" is often the result of biased (shall we even say racist?) reporters and government personnel who define looting as acting for survival (i.e. "stealing" food that would probably wash away). Nobody's "looting" electronics or behaving in anyway that indicates anything fundamentally wrong about American society. However, there is something fundamentally wrong about the institutional responses from both government and press agencies in this country who took a wait and see attitude with what has become perhaps the greatest natural disaster in recent U.S. history. Also, to our old friend from "Good Old Europe," your self-righteousness seems to be a bit misplaced. Of course you were there when a tsunami wrecked your favorite vacation spots. But you seem content to let people living in the so-called "third world" live in their own filth so long as they are healthy enough to bring you sex, drugs, food, and drink to your bungalow on the beach. The bungling of the government, which has truly been a trademark of the Bush administration and his cronies in Congress, does not indicate something "fundamentally wrong" with the ordinary citizens who are desperately trying to make the best out of a worsening situation while the bureaucracy seemingly sits on their hands. The people of the United States are not perfect, but they certainly have little to learn from the history of Germany. Particularly when delivered with such pedantic self-righteousness. If one filled Frank's comments just a little differently, they might sound just like a Southern Republican jackdaw.

  • See, that is exactly what I mean. By stating things like this: "The people of the United States are not perfect, but they certainly have little to learn from the history of Germany" You really show a kind of ignorance which is unbelieveable. Of course we do not need to argue about history and what the germans did in the past. But what gives you the right to condem everything coming from Germany/Europe right now? So, I really call it ignorant to say: you don't need to learn from us. Did you know that germany had a catastrophic flooding in 2002, that 2 Million people were evacuated within 12 hours, that the the emrgency response teams with freshwater, pumps and first aid equipment where at the sites within hours? Of course, you might say that this is all not compareable, but telling us the the USA does not need to learn from other ist really stupid! From my undertstanding of history, excatly this learning from different cultures and the diverity you created made the USA what it is today. But ignoring that we all have to learn from each other will lead you into dark times. Anyway I will fly out to New Orleans with a huge team tonight, I case anyone has the same opinion than the unknow writer above, please do not argue with us and get out of the way, that we can help the one who are suffering.
  • The problem is though, people are looting (that is, stealing non-essential items) everything from electronics (reports of people with 5 plasma TV's being caught) to guns to drugs for recreational use (which in turn is sickening, as those who really need it probably aren't able to recieve it). And I'm sure the racism remarks you're talking about is that thing on Yahoo News. You cannot call all reporters racist beause two separate organizations chose to caption their pictures differently. And when the hell is bleach really essential to living? --Mrmiscellanious 03:54, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Bleach could be essential by allowing a way to sterilize things, from clothes to eating utensils, to halt the spread of disease. StuRat 04:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Opportunity for some good original reporting[edit]

The fellow who posted this information has supplied a phone number. Someone in the United States could give him a call and try to get some more information. They could even get the email address of the person who wrote the original eyewitness report, and contact them for an interview. - Borofkin 05:11, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes, please do so. If you interview an eyewitness, that is definitely first hand reporting. I don't think copying an email that's been translated really counts as such. StuRat 15:47, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Original reporting notes[edit]

My name is Jason Robideaux, I am an attorney from Lafayette Louisiana and have dealt with all of the various law enforcement agencies in Louisiana during the past 18 years. Although I have had a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel throughout the State for many years, I regretfully have a story to share that will shake your head in disbelief about the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries.

This article contains an unconfirmed story which I received via email. In risk of being untrue, I have reproduced it here for the sake of open information.

Jason Robideaux
Attorney At Law
1005 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, La. 70501
(337) 291-9444 office

Eyewitness report received by Jason via email[edit]

A group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette this morning (Weds.) and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The "flotillia" of trucks pulling boats stretched over five miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.

The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. A young DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the citizens that their boats were "too large" because the water had "dropped during the night" and that they should turn around and go home.

We were pulling a large (24ft) shallow draft aluminum boat that can safely carry 12 passengers and had ramp access which would allow the elderly and infirm to have easier access to the boat. We politely informed the DWF agent that the local and national media had consistently reported that the water level had "risen" during the night which contradicted his statement to us that the water "was dropping" and no boat over 16ft. in length would be allowed to participate in rescue operations.

We then specifically asked the DWF agent that we (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. We offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.

The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered us home. We complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two of my friends were pulling my other boat, a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site.

My two friends were allowed to drive to the launch site where the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. My friends were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing nothing. After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette.

Watching CNN tonight, there was a telephone interview with a Nurse trapped in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She said that there were over 1,000 people trapped inside of the hospital and that the doctors and nurses had zero medical supplies, no diesel to run the generators and that only three people had been rescued from the hospital since the Hurricane hit!

I can't come up with one logical reason why the DWF sent this large group of 500 boats/1000 men home when we surely could have rescued most, if not all, of the people trapped in Charity Hospital. Further, we had the means to immediately transport these people to hospitals in Southwest Louisiana.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 30, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee asked for all citizens with boats to come to the aid of Jefferson Parish. A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart. of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.

Sheriff Lee and Senator Gautreaux - 1000 of Louisiana's citizens responded to your pleas for help. We were prevented from helping by Dwight Landreneau's agency, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. When I learned that Charity Hospital has not been evacuated and that no one has been there to attempt a rescue, I became angry.

The "turf-marking" by some minor state agency should never take priority over the lives of citizens!

Need for other side of the story[edit]

I think this is good info, but we do need to find and include the opposing view to make this a balanced story. For example, sometimes people try to help who aren't properly prepared, and ultimately just put themselves and others in danger. It is up to the authorities in the area to determine which are properly prepared and equipped to render aid and which are not. From the fact that some were turned around and others were let through, that would be my guess at what was happening there. Those turned around frequently feel abused in such cases; I suppose offering help and having it refused will inevitable cause that feeling. The refusal of George Bush to accept water supply equipment can't be explained this way, but perhaps that isn't an area where we have a shortage. As I understand it, shelters in safe areas and law enforcement personnel are what is needed most critically. As for the comments on rioting, I think many are stealing things they need to survive, not TVs, and I can't fault them for that. StuRat 15:41, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Please read wikinews NPOV. Telling the other side is not our purpose. Write another story if you want to present the other side,please. Paulrevere2005 17:30, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Er, what on earth? I strongly suggest you actually read the policy - NPOV stands for neutral point of view. Having a neutral article which presents both sides is our purpose, thank you very much. Ambi 09:07, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Paulrevere2005, here are the opening lines of the wikinews NPOV policy:
The neutral point of view policy states that one should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly.
The neutral point of view policy is easily misunderstood. The policy does not mean that you should write an article from just a single unbiased, "objective" point of view. The policy says that an article should fairly represent all, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct.
Note that it says "an article should fairly represent all", not two separate articles should be written with each representing opposing viewpoints. StuRat 01:50, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
it says is that all povs containedwithin a story must be represented. After a terrorist attack we are not expected to manufacture some pov that is terrorist friendly. In this article, since there is no representations made by anyone about the info other than the email..then the contents of the email are all that's available. Surely everyone knows we can't be expected to wait on publishing until some contrary opinion about the same event presents itself? Please think more logically and practically and do not rely on exagerated,dogmatic
So, according to your logic, if we had a single eyewitness account saying that "Cheney murdered Bush", we should ignore wiki NPOV policy and print that immediately, and not wait for any confirmation or denial ? Perhaps you should apply for a job as a reporter at the National Enquirer, LOL. StuRat 12:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

interpretations of the NPOV rule. 195.113.164.130 10:08, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Not as simple as it seems.[edit]

One cannot judge the entire situation on the ground from thousands of miles away based on mostly anecdotal reports. The American Government has flatly stated that all assistance will be accepted. No exceptions are to be made. The problem is not supplies and equipment. The problem is logistics. Millions of gallons of water are available in addition to enough food to feed the entire remnant of the city's populace. Ask yourself, however, "How can I get all this materiel to those who need it?" Trucks? The overwhelming majority of goods moved in the United States go by truck; this is nearly impossible in New Orleans right now. Boats? The streets are filled with unpredictable obstacles just below the surface of the water. Only the smallest boats are useful. Aircraft? Planes have no place to land. Look up the statistics on helicopter lifting capacity and you will find that thousands of sorties will be needed to provide relief.
When the U.S. Army deploys a division of approximately 10,000 soldiers, it takes them around a month to get their equipment where it needs to be. Weapons and ammunition comprise a tiny percentage of the total bulk of moved goods. Just using this as a baseline guide, if the most deployed army in the world takes this long to position gear even in their highest state of readiness, how long will it take for a disjointed collection of relief efforts? Logistics is neglected as an issue because you can't eat it or wear it, but supplies are no good if they don't get to those who need
I and my people thank you, Frank, and your people for the compassion you have shown. I also agree that the relief effort has been badly mismanaged, but we cannot sit back and act as "armchair politicians."
  • That's great, anonymous guy, and I'm sure there's plenty of this that looks bad on the surface but there exists a reasonable explanation. However, most of us 'armchair' fruitcakes are comparing the response to this with responses to other disasters that had far more speedy and oraganized repsonses. Shit, especially given that we even had a couple days notice that something bad was on it's way. (Also, in the future, please take advantage of the 'show preview' button. Your post was quite mangled. I fixed it.)
I think the tsunami relief effort took far longer, and is still under way, in many respects. I always try to use the preview button myself, so my response will be "oraganized" (made to resemble Oregon ?), LOL. J/K. StuRat 17:33, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Thanks for cleaning up my post.
  No two disasters are the same.  Of course the repsonse here will be compared to others, but there is no objective standard.

You have to remember, this will probably have been the greatest natural disaster in American history (in scale if not in loss of life.) No one could have predicted the impact of the storm. In fact, no one is sure why it happened as it did. I have weathered a hurricane in New Orleans myself and no one ever considered that the levies could give.

I saw an engineer who worked on the levees on TV say that they were only suitable for cat 3 hurricanes, and this was deemed to be adequate since they only predicted a cat 4 or 5 there every 200 or 300 years. They had been scheduled for an upgrade, but the funding was diverted post-9/11 for anti-terrorism measures. My own opinion is that global warming is why the storms have been so much worse this season, the Gulf of Mexico is at 86 degrees F, hot enough to spawn many hurricanes, and much hotter than it used to be. StuRat 12:34, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
In fairness I actually figured the whole dang city would sink. 'Course, I live a couple states over and several hundred miles to the north, so I don't know who much my opinion is worth. --69.244.1.143 05:52, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
I have a story from Today's news that has people still living in relief camps. Another shows that collected aid (in at least one corner of the US is already as great for Katrina as in months of Tsunami collections. Was there looting after the Tsunami? Apparently. This whole "we got aid faster to them asians and they was better people" meme is not in accordance with reality. Plus, these are very different situations. The levies broke after the storm and of course the news is focusing on rioting and looting. But I'm not seeing a lot of footage of rioting, just looting. Well, bfd. The fact that they can even think about getting a television indicates that they aren't all that hungry or desperate!
Still ? I would expect them to be living in relief camps for years, until their homes can be rebuilt. As for people donating more to help their neighbors than someone on the other side of the world, does that really surprise you ? When there is a collection at the office to buy a birthday present for a coworker, do you say "Sorry, but I already spent all my money for birthday presents for people I don't know in Mongolia" ? LOL StuRat 12:19, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Be Bold[edit]

Please remember that is the hallmark of wikinews.If we are too timid to support and publish a letter received and sent to us by an Attorney; then that's not being bold at all. Paulrevere2005 17:50, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes, but we should never print anything sent to us by a garbage man, since, according to your logic, we trust people solely based on the prestige of their jobs. StuRat 12:23, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

WIKINEWS, WHERE ARE YOU?[edit]

Where the hell are you? Every other media org is covering how incredibly late the Federal govt.'s response was to this disaster. But not a peep out of WIKINEWS. By now, EVEN Bush has admitted the response was inadequate. WIKINEWS seems to be very late in the game on things like this. I'm very dismayed in it's approach here with a headline that looked like it came striaght out of the onion or the classic '1984' novel.

I have to wonder if there is a lot of conservatives here who rabidly delete/edit factual news and headlines and hide behind a bullsh|t NPOV to promote their agenda here?

I need to add my $0.02 here on this topic. First of all, the volunteer editors/reporters on Wikinews are just that, volunteers. You can't expect us to be totally up to par with other news organizations for reporting everything. Besides, a huge amount of information has been written about Katrina and the Hurrican response, including the federal response to the disaster. Quite a bit of it rather negative. As far as NPOV here.... you need to keep it neutral, which means you don't advocate a certain viewpoint, which is precisely what you are proposing. There is definitely an agenda right now among some reporters and media outlets to use this as an opportunity to try and burn Bush once and for all. That is not the role of Wikinews.
As far as the dance broken up in Utah, that was big news locally in Utah, and it involved a great many law enforcement agencies. I guess you didn't read the article in detail, did you. Or read the sources.
Also, from my very POV opinion as to why the Feds didn't react any sooner: This is a huge disaster that took out most of the infrastructure, and required a level of response that normally would have been reserved for wartime emergencies like an actual invasion of the USA by a foriegn enemy. Yes, with 20/20 hindsight the active duty military should have been sent into New Orleans immediately after the hurricane, and there are things that also should have been done by both the governor of Louisiana as well as the Mayor of New Orleans (like "giving" all of the busses to the bus drivers of New Orleans and asking them to take their neighbors out of town with the busses). This is not like the rescue operation of trying to go after a stupid motor boat that is being operated by somebody who doesn't know his/her own limits, or some random hiker that gets lost in the mountains for a few days. A major U.S. city has been almost completely destroyed, with no communication, transportation, or even civil services available. Generally when a disaster of this scale hits a smaller community, some other nearby city can help absorb the victims and work crews can help coordinate the cleanup right away. In this case it took one of the largest countries in the world (by population) to completely absorb the population of New Orleans, which is one reason for the diaspora of the New Orleans residents throughout America. No single city could possibly absorb that many people (although Baton Rouge is certainly trying real hard). It also illustrates what happens when you rely on public transportation and that form of transit has been taken away from you: the only alternative is to swim or walk... which many New Orleans residents did exactly that. --Robert Horning 10:21, 11 September 2005 (UTC)