Chaos All Around
September 2, 2005

"But for the grace of God, there go I."

For nearly three days, I have stared at my computer screen. Lots to say with no real way to say it. The reality has set in that no matter how beautifully you frame a situation with your words, the circumstances are so incredibly ugly and grave that you must drudge through the English language in search of adjectives that appropriately capture the grief you feel for loss, destitution and the state of Southern America.

Tragedy doesn't care how smart you are, how much money you have in the bank, or even what color you are. From the affluent to the poor, the flooding doesn't have an affirmative action plan.

To begin with, let me say I am utterly disgusted and dismayed at the current state of humanity in the wake of hurricane Katrina. The devastation and lives lost is tragic and to the human eye unfair and unnecessary. But beyond even the loss, I am disappointed with the living. Everyone. Our president. Civil government. Our citizens. Survivors. Law enforcement. Our media. Columnists. Bloggers. The whole lot. It is embarrassing on so many different levels it's difficult to even pick a starting point. But don't think I won't try. Here's one: sin.

Shooting, looting, survivors dying in wait of care, corpses outside the Superdome, rapes, relatives murdering one another over ice, people starving, people fainting from head exhaustion, babies sick, elderly people left to die in their wheel chairs. Surely this is not how God intended humanity to live.

Chaos is putting it lightly. I firmly believe that what we are seeing right now is only a glimpse into the complete and utter insanity that would be present in a lawless society.

What we are looking at isn't just a national tragedy or a natural disaster. We are looking at fallen man and the downward spiral of human nature. There is a harsh truth at work here. When put under extreme pressure, our internal belief system kicks in full force. Not what we say we believe, but what we have internally accepted as right or wrong. We are observing what happens when you mix fallen humanity with desperation. Interesting how all psycho-babble about how humans are inherently good goes out the window during times like this.

I once wrote that the most important commodity in situations of distress isn't money, but bullets. For those who thought my suggestion was off-base, I submit to you the events currently taking place in New Orleans. In situations of distress the rules of engagement change. As currency, the American dollar is only as valuable as we deem it. In fact, currency in a society can become whatever holds the most value at any given time. All this talk of restoring order is futile when dealing with people who lost everything and have nothing to fear.

In the last 48 hours we have observed blatant displays of exploitation, racism, lawlessness, poverty, thievery, anarchy, inhumanity, manipulation and sensationalism. I find myself wondering at what point we will stop showing pictures of dead bodies on national television. Is there no restraint? Not only is there chaos in the city, there's chaos in the newsroom. To capture images for journalistic purposes is one thing, to exploit people at their lowest point is quite another. At the very least, the dead deserve not to be repeats on the news clip reel.

I am frustrated and grieved. Even the coverage of the hurricane is chaotic. There are people looting out of necessity for basic hygiene and food items and then there are people running away with televisions and DVD players. There are people stealing firearms, smashing ATMs and stealing money, and then there are people grabbing pampers, Advil, and apologetically clothing their entire families off the rack.

I believe guilty parties should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but there are two ends of this spectrum folks. There are people of all colors doing the looting for basic needs, police officers included. Why are we not hearing about this on the news? Depending on where you read, some people are "just getting groceries" and others are "thieves." But guess what? The law enforcers are stealing too. Yet amid these two extremes, neither of which can be judged at face value, we have columnists demanding that looters be shot. We also have bloggers backing this up. I'll buy-in when the first police officer gets shot for stealing. I'm usually the first to suggest capital punishment, but at this point, it is difficult to decipher who is properly using their authority here.

And forgive me for saying it again, but this is not how we were designed to live.

It is a sad state of humanity. Politicians are politicizing and spending more energy saving face in front of the cameras than actually addressing the needs of the people. Someone please tell me why is Jesse Jackson is being interviewed on national television? What in tarnation could he possibly have to add here? I'm with Bill Frist on this one. This country can barely remember a true refugee challenge. It's time to step up. As Frist stated on Larry King last night, "don't politicize it." Get busy.

I challenge us all to pray that order be restored to New Orleans as soon as possible.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

Posted by Ambra at September 2, 2005 3:43 AM in Current Events
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Amen!! I wish you could talk to LaShawn - This morning the mayor of New Orleans got on the radio and CNN carried his basically beggin for help it was just sad and horrible - He made 2 qualifying points - 1. 60% of the police force have not shown up for work. 2. In the last year drug use has increased by 40% and they were trying to get a handle on the drug epidemic but now you have these addicts roaming the streets. I am just praying sis just praying especially since it seems the National Guard is "Locked and Loaded" with the directive to shoot on sight that is a receipe for a straight another US Federal Sponsored Massarce like WACO

Jesse Jackson is like Forrest Gump was in the movie ... miraculously appearing at every event of note ... just exhale.

It must be pretty bad a many reporters on the ground in the affected areas are "going off" on air. Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough and, this morning, Soledad O'Brian refused to back down with questions about why things aren't moving faster. I know people in Houston who are in direct contact with the "refugees" so some people are getting help and, perhaps, a bit more peace of mind. I just cannot imagine being uprooted in that manner and being shipped on a bus to places unknown.

It's pathetic, isn't it? Instead of working together, these people are working AGAINST each other! It seems they cannot get the idea that they can be unified, stick together, and survive this thing!

You know what the Bible says, though:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these."

There's a reason that looters have to be shot, and that's to maintain order. And that has to be done at the beginning. Now I don't know if it'll do much good. Normally if someone steals an entire warehouse of electronics nobody would demand that they be shot, but during an emergency if order is not forcibly maintained at the beginning chaos results. I think it's a human tendency that even normally decent folks, when they see other people getting away scot free with looting, they will join in (since "everyone else is doing it"), and the end result is that the misery is multiplied and prolonged.

As for those getting diapers and other necessities, I think it's a governmental failure that those things are not distributed in an orderly fashion and that people have to loot to survive. That just creates a really bad situation because there are people who would look at such a situation and think whatever else they do to break laws would also be justified. Depraved human nature indeed.

well said. Take away people's sense of self-sufficiency and responsibility through permitted abuse of public assistance, take away from those who retain self-sufficiency and responsibility the ability to lawfully protect what they've earned via legal gun-ownership, fail to act immediately to provide assistance in crisis and here are the results.

I know this is probably conspiratorial, but I'm reminded of the Twilight Zone episode in which the army was portrayed as standing back to observe the breakdown of a neighborhood within 24 hours of losing all electricity without notice or updates.

"And forgive me for saying it again, but this is not how we were designed to live."

...this is what saddens me the most. this isn't supposed to happen, especially not HERE. i can't watch this anymore without getting nauseous.

Amen to your perspective, as usual.

One question - have the police/national guard actually shot anybody yet? I've heard multiple stories of looters shooting each other, and law enforcement officers and soldiers being shot and shot at, but I haven't heard about the authorities actually shooting anyone yet. Has it happened?

09 02 05

Wow Ambra, what a passionate appeal to the senses! You are correct what is happening in Louisiana is a disgrace. Federal sluggishness and ill prepared citizens make for chaos. But as Americans, we are put to the test to see how much we value our neighbors. The Blogosphere has raised quite a bit of money, as has the Red cross. The only thing I can think of is to pray for those in need and donate money (if possible) and time (if possible). On LaShawn Barbers' post this morning she stated how she was annoyed that former Presidents Clinton and Bush 1 were tapped by GWB for fundraising efforts. I DO NOT THINK THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Both Clinton and Bush 1 are great fundraisers and in this case political ideology be damned!!! Lives are at stake!!! I hope we can get over this political divisiveness and focus on the victims of this tragedy; the American people!
-Thx for your attn in reading this.

Amen Ambra, Amen! Humans are inherently good huh?

This is what a nation without God would look like. I also agree that this is not the way God desires people to live so.....WE NEED TO GET BUSY!

Wrong is just plain matter the color, race, religion or political affilation. No one can argue with the pictures we have been seeing.

Fuzz, you're talkin' rubber bullets, right, man?

I admit it. I'm a worrier. I know, I know. That just ain't biblical. But when things like this and 9/11 happen, I just can't help putting myself in the shoes of the victims and their loved ones. Living in the DC area, I didn't have to use much imagination on 9/11 to feel the utter panic and despair brought on by the thought of being powerless in the face of losing one of my children or my wife. The images of trying to hold on to all eight of my family's hands in the midst of racing flood waters scares me to the core. God, I need to hold them all right now!

I keep having flashes of actually having to put into action the emergency plan that my household came up with post-9/11. We're all supposed to meet up at a hotel about 20 miles north of DC, in Columbia, MD. And verbalizing the plan is so very easy. But the reality of it is that if something happened again that triggered our plan I have very little faith (please pardon me, Jesus) that I could walk all that way—'cause there would be no "traffic"...only abandoned cars clogging every nook—without knowing where my babies are.

And I know there'd be so much chaos and trouble going on around me that I'd want to stop and try to help every child and woman I passed during my trek. But then I'd feel terrible and selfish for not stopping and only visualizing my own family huddled somewhere, scared and alone crying and praying "daddy, come take care of us."

Please pardon me for using this time for my own catharsis, y'all. I just feel so helpless for those poor people down there. My heart is breaking and I don't know what to do. I'm in constant prayer, of course, and I know that this, too, is ordained by God, but my puny perspective just won't let me settle down.

I read your post and I am watching the news as well. I live in Baton Rouge, which is expected to double it's size due to these people from New Orleans coming here for safe haven. The photos and videos pull at your heart strings, but when you travel around town to Wal-Mart, etc. and you have to look into these people's eyes as they are hot and hungry and kids are begging their parents for a soda, it breaks your heart. And I have a friend who has a wheelchair bound grandmother. She was going to stay b/c they didn't want to inconvenience anyone due to her grandmother. I begged her to come. She did and can you imagine what went through their minds when they saw news shots of their very apartment building under water. Had they stayed, there is no way their grandmother would have made it. I'm trying to help her pick up the pieces b/c truth of the matter is, they HAVE to start over. Shelter, food, jobs, etc. And I've watched as a NOPD officer gave an interview detailing why he walked off the job. His reasons were that they were given little to no ammunition and they were up against mobs. What could they do? Continue to patrol until everyone is out of the city and then what would they have to feed their families that survived? His logic was to leave bc whatever was left of the city was not worth losing his life.

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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