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Hullabaloo


Friday, December 29, 2006

 
Sordid Truth

by digby


During those horrible early days after hurricane Katrina hit, I'm sure you remember the endless stories of looters and thugs and criminal gangs roaming the streets terrorizing the population. The right wing blogs had a lot to say on the subject.

There was one incident in particular that seemed to grab the imagination of the rightwingers. It was reported on all the cable news networks and inspired many blog posts like this one:

Did New Orleans police shoot and kill contractors who were walking across a bridge to inspect and seek to fix the broken levee, or did they kill those who had fired on the contractors? A few hours ago, news services and networks reported that five or six contractors had been shot and killed by the NOPD. Shortly thereafter, news services reported that the NOPD had actually shot “thugs” as a (Fox News host described them) who had fired on the contractors.

I do not know what happened, and am not assuming that the revised story is the true one. This is the first time I have heard of police or National Guard soldiers shooting anyone. For days, I have heard stories of black criminals firing on rescue crews in helicopters and boats, on police, and shooting and bludgeoning National Guard troops. One National Guardette ran away from the armed criminal who had hit her over the head with a pipe, and had shot her comrade. Did the Guardette even have a loaded weapon?

My expectation was that the police or soldiers would shoot a non-violent white or Asian, before they would shoot an ultraviolent black, but I was beaten to the punch by blogger Zach at Our Way of Life, who predicted Friday,

“If anybody gets shot for looting, they will be white or asian. Just remember you heard it here first.”

The current report on the bridge shooting at Fox News is only 14 words long.

“Hurricane relief efforts turn toward the gathering of bodies; police report shooting eight armed men on New Orleans bridge, killing at least five.”

In what sort of hellholes do people try to murder rescue crews, and people trying to fix broken levees? In America’s third world cities, that’s where. In the South Bronx in New York City, twenty years ago, Hispanic thugs used to attack fire engines speeding to put out fires with Molotov cocktails. Of course, it was white men putting their lives on the line to save Hispanics and blacks. Just like in New Orleans these days, apparently.

Considering how the mainstream media are doing their best to suppress the stories from coming out of New Orleans, I wonder if we’ll ever find out anything approaching the whole sordid truth.


It was my opinion at the time that this kind of hysterical, racist talk contributed greatly to the delayed response. (The beasts were taking over!)

I don't know if the "sordid truth" of this incident will ever fully be known either. But a New Orleans grand jury believed there was enough evidence to indict several policemen for murder yesterday:

Four New Orleans police officers have been charged with murder in connection with two fatal shootings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year.

Three more officers were charged with attempted murder for the shootings, which also left four people wounded.

The incident on the Danziger Bridge, linking two mainly black, flooded neighbourhoods, came six days after the hurricane left New Orleans in chaos.

Defence lawyers say their clients are innocent of the charges



It was a mess in New Orleans those first few days. I'm sure there was plenty of violence and mayhem. But the media and particularly the fevered right wing media were all too willing to believe even the most ridiculous tales and they spread them with a glee usually reserved for presidential sexual indiscretions. They bear some responsibility for what happened.


And I'm still waiting to hear the whole sordid explanation behind the other infamous Katrina "bridge" story.


Update: NPR did a story recently on the Danziger bridge incident. Perhaps the trial will shed more light on the subject.





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