David Rodeback's Blog

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Friday, September 2, 2005
Evil People Doing Evil Things

As a general rule, money does not change people; it reveals them. So does disaster, whether on a personal or much larger scale. I'm sure time will bring to us amazing, true stories of courage, sacrifice, and heroism in the wake of hurricane Katrina. More than a few of these accounts will be so compelling that even the Big Media Acronyms, with their addiction to bad news, will be unable to resist reporting them. But for now, and understanding that the BMA really do like bad news, it must be said that much of what Katrina and her aftermath have revealed of our nation and culture, particularly in New Orleans, is not good at all.

Believing in evil is far from politically correct, but how else do you explain people who shoot at rescuers? And you cannot tell me that the looters who were loading up guns, expensive electronics, etc., were doing it because they were starving and wanted to eat them. The moral gulf between that looting and the folks who are removing food and diapers from abandoned grocery stores is vast indeed. It is roughly comparable to the gulf between Mississippi and . . . well, Mars.

Roving gangs of thieves, rapists, and murderers illustrate just how near we have come, in our modern civilization, to being uncivilized. Politicians and journalists who defend or justify the barbarians illustrate why the problem has become so severe.

Sending in the National Guard is not enough. These barbarians are making war on American civilization itself. Mr. President, send the Marines! The enemy combatants who do not surrender can be shot without compunction or ceremony. Those who do surrender can be declared prisoners of war and sent to the resort prison at Guantanamo Bay, to share cells with their moral equals, the Islamo-Fascist terrorists.

Meanwhile, some of the refugees at the Superdome are behaving only slightly better than the barbarians. Mob tactics, everyone-else-be-damned selfishness, ridiculous whining that the relief the Universe apparently owes them is not enough and not coming quickly enough - these and other irresponsible behaviors have interfered with the delivery of food and other relief to themselves and to the civilized people who are also suffering there. I'm sure that I do not fully appreciate the hardship in which those people have lived this week. Perhaps some of them do not fully appreciate how pathetic their response to hardship and brief deprivation appears.

Where is American courage? Where is American calm in the face of a storm? Where is the stunning American heroism we saw and celebrated almost four years ago, on September 11, 2001? I'm sure it's all around, as I said, and we'll eventually hear more of it. But for now, the evil (both grand and petty) is largely obscuring it.

I've read reports of politicians excusing the Superdome mob by noting that they're good people under tremendous pressure. That's two truths for the price of three: The pressure is certainly tremendous, and they are people - but if they really were good people, would three days of partial deprivation cause them to behave so much like animals?

Finally - and it's sad to say - you can feel the pseudo-charity industry gearing up for a solid bout of white-collar barbarism. I recommend generosity and will attempt to practice it myself. But in our giving, let's be careful to give to known, established, credible charities, who will convey our willing sacrifices largely intact to the needy people for whom they are intended. To that end, here are links to the American Red Cross, to Catholic Charities USA, and to the LDS Church's Humanitarian Services. They are not the only worthy conduits for our offerings, but they are three of the most prominent, best organized, and most dependable.

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