I got back into the National Guard (I got an ‘old man’ waiver). I am with the [Deleted for OPSEC]th Military Police (M.P.) Company. I am presently deployed with the hurricane relief. Even though I have been a ‘survivalist’ (whatever that means) for years, I have learned quite a bit this last month, some of which may move me more from ‘armchair’ to active survivalism. Our M.P. Company was activated and we are helping with the hurricane relief not far from New Orleans. We have not seen much nastiness where we are, but our daily ‘police sheet’ sounds like something out of your novel ‘Patriots‘, and frankly, it scared me in an eerie sort of way. Reports of both Crips and Bloods a few miles one direction, Pagans and Hell’s Angels not far another, the state police arrested a group of 25 (that was one group!) looters in the next county. We are working with the local police here, to keep order. the last two days we kept order at the food stamp distribution center (at a church) there were a few thousand [recipients] over this period (and this is in small town dixie). We drove to the outlying areas to hand out water and MREs. What scared me most was the fact that in such a rural area things would be so much like your book (and this was not as widespread a disaster as in your novel ‘Patriots‘. Below is a letter you may find interesting (FFTAGFFR).
It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can’t blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster. If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city’s infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild. Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists–myself included–did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting. But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster. The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.
The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view. The man-made disaster is the welfare state. For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency–indeed; they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country. When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).
So what explains the chaos in New Orleans? To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story: “Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on. ” The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gun fire…”
JWR’s Comments: The liberals seem to want to have it both ways: First they were begging for Federal relief. “Why isn’t the Army here?”, they cried. Now, only a week later, we have Cindy Sheehan et al complaining about the Army’s “occupation” of New Orleans. Sheeesh!