Wednesday, September 7, 2005

New Orleans lawlessness real or imagined?

The UK's Guardian has an article which points out that at least some of the stories of rape, murder, and other lawlessness are unsubstantiated and may be untrue.

Rumor may have been accepted as truth without verification, and the media went with such apocryphal stories as if they were verified, so the theory goes. In some cases, what was true in some places may have been assumed to be true in others.

To New Orleans residents who feel that, at best, their reputation has been sullied, and, at worst, help was slow in coming because an unsympathetic nation saw the chaos as something the Big Easy brought on itself, vindication would be of little comfort, even if the Guardian is right.

Even if the stories of massive violent crime are largely untrue, there is still the question of looting/finding food. When Los Angeles went up in smoke in 1992, many residents turned to looting out of anger and lamely justified excuses of getting even or "everyone else is doing it."

In New Orleans in 2005, many of the "looters" were about getting food, diapers, something to drink, dry clothes, or things that could be bartered for those necessities. How different would any of the rest of us be if we were put in that situation?

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