Saturday, September 03, 2005

"Shoot to Kill"

Shoot to thrill, play to kill
Too many women with too many pills
Shoot to thrill, play to kill
I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will

Cathie from Canada has a lot of good stuff on the sad sad situation in New Orleans. In particular, this outrage about how the Red Cross still has not been allowed into the city by the apparently Orwellian-named Dept. of Homeland Security.

As Wes Clark noted, there's still a real lack of leadership. I don't understand why I seem to be able to get a better read of the situation just from clicking around the internet than those guys making the decisions, with all the tools they have at their disposal.

Last night on CTV news, Jed Kahane did a live stand-up from NOLA. (He's an excellent reporter, BTW, who only a few weeks ago let it be known that Homolka's scumbag ex-boss had tried to sell him his juicy "scoop" on her, days before the Toronto Sun broke the story.) Anyway, Kahane looked shaken as he signed-off noting that the military that sloshed in yesterday had "shoot to kill" orders.

Well I'm sure that will be of great comfort to the starving, thirsty thousands who are feeling the grave with one foot as surely as they're smelling the fetid rot of the city around them.

You can easily see how frightened they are. They tell the cameras at every opportunity. They've been left to their own devices. Their survival is all up to them whether they have the means or not.

If I was in that Convention Center and my son hadn't had any milk or a bath or anything to eat for three days, I'd be a disgrace as a father if I didn't smash open the local grocery store and take whatever I could for him. The fear of not knowing what the hell is going on drives people to very desperate acts; and when people are dying for want all around you while "property" is nearby, the rules of what is yours to take go out the window pretty fast.

Thank God it never got like that here in the 1998 ice storm. It's (an imperfect analogy, I know, but it does have some bearing, I think.) I remember there was leadership from our officials; they took their responsibilities very seriously, and let us know what was happening. They gave us a sense that they were on top of a bad and unpredictable calamity, and they made sure people were looked-after and aware of where to get shelter and basic provisions.

There was no looting to speak of, although the opportunities abounded. I ventured into the "closed" city at my boss's request - right downtown to Peel and Ste. Catherines, in fact - where I had to sit for hours in a windowless office with a rotary phone in case the other employees called wondering about their jobs & shifts, and what was happening.

Lots of folks were holed-up in hotels or staying with friends; many had to scramble to find a place to stay where there was power and heat. The downtown streets were almost completely abandoned. There was just the occasional police car roaming around, and thankfully for me, I happened across a hot-dog & fries pick-up truck type operation parked near McGill.

One thing no one put in place was any "shoot to kill" directives. That is very, very warped and I can only imagine things getting worse before they get better. These are troops who are primarily trained on killing the enemy. That kind of order just sets the tone for them, and sets the table for a lot of bloodshed. Another awful decision to pile on the mound of Bushco's legacy.

If you treat people like savage animals, they will respond by acting like savage animals. Post-invasion Iraq proves that, and anyone can see it - anyone who does think of them as human beings in the first place that is. But do they? I have to think not; that's the only way I can make sense of "Shoot to Kill" orders in this situation.

The United States has lost even more of its soul than I ever thought possible.

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