Thursday, September 01, 2005



The carnage wrought by Hurricane Katrina is horrible; my heart and my prayers are with the many thousands, in and out of New Orleans, who will be struggling to survive in weeks and months to come.

(There's a special place in my heart, naturally, for my relatives there -- Jonathan Vanac and his family, of Gulfport, Mississippi. Jonathan just got back from Iraq a few months ago; he seems to have a talent for being where the action is! But he's a tough guy; I'm confident that he, Natasha, and their kids will get through this just fine.)

By contrast, I have nothing but contempt for the carnage wrought by individual human beings, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Yes, one can understand looting, if not condone it or forgive it; but armed looting? Looters who shoot policemen in the head, and even fire upon MedEvac helicopters? As Peggy Noonan says, "it is not unbelievable, but it is unforgivable". Indeed. These are not common criminals, out to make a few bucks from someone else's flat-screen TV, although no doubt they'll claim to be when they defend themselves in court. They are contributors to lawlessness and lack of public confidence; that, not Katrina, is what has the power to truly tear New Orleans apart.

I can sympathize with those who say that looters shouldn't be shot, but I don't agree with them. Anyone who opens fire on paramedics deserves to have fire returned. To quote Ms. Noonan again: "I wonder if the cruel and stupid young people who are doing the looting know the power they have to damage their country. I wonder, if they knew, if they'd stop it."

I haven't made my financial contributions to the relief efforts yet, but I will. (Later: for the record, I sent donations to Feed The Children and to The American Red Cross.) Glenn Reynolds has a wonderful round-up of charities, and the people who endorse them. James Lileks makes an interesting point about those charities:
FEMA’s list of charities is here. Note anything about what sort of organizations are doing the hard work? I keep looking for the Objectivist Mutual Aid Society, but it never pops up.
Michele of A Small Victory is collecting "good news" stories from the Gulf; she has more here and here. By all means, check 'em out; the news is never all bad, is it?

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