Yep, just three years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is once again abandoning those too poor to leave in the face of danger:
The city will not offer emergency services to those who choose to stay behind, Nagin said, and there will be no “last resort” shelter as there was during Katrina, when thousands were crammed into the Louisiana Superdome in squalid conditions. In a news release residents were warned that those who remained on their property after the mandatory evacuation started would be subject to arrest.
The former is monstrous, the latter simply an attempt to criminalise poverty. And it will do nothing to remove suspicions in the wake of the post-Katrina economic cleansing of the city.
There’s a good reason why the goverment should not offer help to those who stay behind – they ignored the goverments’ help earlier. There has been plenty of warning to get out, with free buses for those too poor.
It’s called personal responsibility. This has nothing to do with criminalizing poverty, it’s about punishing stupidity. We know what happens when you stay in New Orleans in a hurricane, period.
Once upon a time, government had a basic duty to keep people safe and help with natural disasters. Now even that seems to be too much to expect from America. In a functioning democracy, of course, this would be self-correcting – people would vote to ensure a government that did its job.
Funny thing is, I’m quite sure that a majority of the 99% who took the effort (and often expense) to protect themselves would quite happily endorse this action.