Friday, September 02, 2005

A letter I sent to government officials, for what it's worth.


To whom it may concern - and it certainly concerns ALL of you:
I have been watching the painful and needless decay of a once beautiful city on TV for days now. Let me be quite frank with you: I am absolutely outraged at how things have been allowed to descend into chaos.
I realize the President is a busy man. However, with the fact that there are thousands are people dying in the streets of a toxic city, some reduced to insanity and fury because of DAYS without water, food and medicine in a hot southern climate in a harsh situation, I feel that there has been too much bureacracy in the way of saving lives.
I am fully aware that the media sometimes warps the truth for its own benefit - but how can you look into the faces of these suffering people and think for one moment that this is not a painful reality?
I understand the president is backing zero tolerance for "looting" in the city of New Orleans. If he's talking about guns and plasma TVs, then fine, I would agree. What I don't think the president - or those in charge of making actual decisions realize, is that those who are "looting" food, medicine,and water -BASIC HUMAN NEEDS are doing so because they are TRAPPED and have NO LEGAL WAY to obtain these items.
The mayor of New Orleans understands this. Perhaps some will think him lax as a result, but then tell me what are these suffering AMERICANS supposed to do?
I don't believe it when I hear that no one can get in to bring these people out when buses have already taken away some survivors. I'm sick of hearing about how the people are promised aid and buses over and over again - yet nothing comes.
IF THE MEDIA CAN GET IN, THEN SO CAN AID. IF VIDEO CAN GET OUT, THEN SO CAN SURVIVORS.
Are the upper levels of government blind to all this?
Is there someone in an ivory tower who is waiting for some kind of arcane hand signal to sign a sheet of paper authorizing delivery of what these people need?
I've started hearing stories about how the police have told STRANDED TOURISTS "It's every man for himself." Stories about National Guard officers at the convention center becoming hostile when a local chef and some others weren't even allowed access to the kitchen to try and find available food.
And I'm sorry, but you don't handcuff a man stealing diapers for his kids.
I've also heard that Canada would be willing to fly in supplies and aid at the word go, and are waiting for AUTHORIZATION, but no one has given it to them.
YOUR people feel abandoned. How long, do you think anyone would last in that situation? Imagine yourself with no food, water, or shelter for DAYS. You have NO contact with your family, you're surrounded by death, disease, fear, and pain. You see the people around you been driven MAD by the circumstances, and you have no idea WHEN and even IF help will come to you in time because you are so isolated.
And when authority drives through - you only get lip service.
I would like to know when the people who are in charge of these efforts are going to scrap the damn paperwork and bureaucracy and just SEND HELP.
Why are there buses WAITING OUTSIDE the city and not continually moving people out? Why aren't there more people besides the media going IN to do SOMETHING?
YES - I know that there has been violence and shooting at rescue teams. Horrific circumstances have pushed some good people towards animal instincts in order to survive. That doesn't mean you stop helping those who need it. Even the truly violent need to be removed from these situations so they do not slow down the rescue efforts for everyone.
I certainly hope that any response you give to these questions and issues are not delivered in written form. I want you to THINK, search your hearts and minds, and then take ACTION. I have a house and a family and food, and if I could go down there now and hand out bottles of water, I would.
In fact, I hope you all are too damn busy saving our fellow Americans to even read this.
My confidence in the way things are being run is shaky, at best.
New Orleans is a place worth saving. These people have lives worth saving.
There are people all over this country that are willing to bring stranded survivors into their homes to save them from this horror. How can the American government be so unhospitable to what has been the most hospitable city in the country?
Sincerely,
Pam and Mike

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