Superdome of Shame

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Watching
news coverage of the refugees trying to enter the Louisiana Superdome
in New Orleans for safety from the approaching force-five Hurricane
Katrina, I was incredulous how the people attempting to enter the
stadium were being treated by the National Guard troops and local
police. The people were made to stand for hours outside in the awful
Louisiana climate while they were admitted one or two adults at
a time so they could be searched “for firearms and alcohol.”

The
frail elderly, many grasping walkers and others in wheelchairs seemed
to be near collapse. They, along with hundreds of small children
needing water and rest-room relief, were forced to wait as long
as four hours to get to safety. It was often repeated during the
video reports that the last time the Superdome was used as a hurricane
shelter, a few of the temporary occupants removed some furniture.
But this time, they had a large security force on hand, so that
was NOT going to happen again, no-siree-bob.

During
coverage by Geraldo Rivera Sunday night, FOX NEWS’ video cameras
zoomed inside the foyer deck of the Superdome and viewers could
see a national guard person going through a powder compact from
of a woman’s purse that was way too small to hold a liquor bottle
or a gun. It was obvious that they were looking for drugs in warrantless
searches. They instructed all the refugees far back in the seemingly
endless lines to have their prescription-pill bottles out when approaching
the security checkpoint and also a photo ID to prove that they belonged
with the prescription.

There
were THOUSANDS of poor, mostly black citizens of the lower Louisiana
area, many of them little children and sickly elderly, being forced
to stand for hours while the government violated their civil rights
with forced searches that were patently unconstitutional, unjust
and unreasonable under the dire circumstances. "Don’t want
to be searched? That’s okay…now turn around, go outside and die!"
Big choice.

Can
you imagine New Orleans’ wealthy elite meekly submitting to such
microscopic searches of their persons and property for drugs? Heads
would roll. But poor people who had no money to escape the deadly
storm’s onslaught had no choice. They had nowhere else to go to
save their children’s and parents’ lives. They were humiliated just
for trying to survive. Their grandfathers and grandmothers suffered
as slaves on Southern plantations decades ago, while today, they
suffer as slaves to the state, the state that cancels their human
rights and dignity in the name of "protecting" them.

Did
you see that, America? Nothing has changed in the South. Poor people
of are still being herded and treated as criminals because of the
color of their skin. The Sheriff and Louisiana National Guard knows
the profile of likely drug users:  black people and anyone
associating with them; they were searched just as if they were entering
a state penitentiary visiting a death-row prisoner. Maybe the refugees
would have fared better if they had had season tickets in their
hands.

Think
about it. They can allow in 30,000 screaming fans with fifty-dollar
bills and costly NFL tickets in their hands in a few minutes, but
poor black people fleeing for their lives, four hours. Four HOURS!

None
of the news people I saw on the major cable and broadcast networks
noticed this outrage. Apparently, they are still “embedded” with
the government and couldn’t possibly risk dislodging their heads
long enough to report the truth right before their eyes.

We
let morons take away our rights to person and property at the airports,
all for the false "protection" they promised us and can’t
possibly deliver, so now we see them doing it to helpless citizens
even when the citizens’ lives are in danger. "First, we gotta
check you for weapons and drugs…pull your dress up, lift up your
arms…." – let those old people collapse and those kids
soil themselves – "This is FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY."

God
forbid that anyone have a hip flask to calm their nerves during
a traumatic life-and-death experience. Someone else might actually
toke up or take a non-prescription pill! And a few might take their
right to keep and bear arms seriously, when everyone knows that
only government employees deserve self-protection, not their citizen
"bosses." The constitution doesn’t apply when the government thinks
it can make you safer by judging you, disarming you, and denuding
you of your rights.

Who
gave the order to make all these exhausted, miserable poor people
wait for hours while they were searched so illicitly? Under what
actual law did they search these refugees for anything whatsoever
on their person? Do they search football game fans this thoroughly
and for this long?  Suuuuuure they do….

Could
all this form a mass tort against the State of Louisiana? Maybe.
Some of the Superdome refugees must be hopping mad.

Let’s
face it. If you’re poor in America, you’re a "suspect," maybe. If
you’re poor and black in America, you’re a "criminal," definitely.
Even if your life is in peril, no excuses. Your rights don’t count
as long as any badge or weekend warrior in BDU’s says they don’t.

This
is the real story of the Louisiana Superdome. Hurricane Katrina
can certainly destroy the environs of the Louisiana and her neighboring
states, but that can all be rebuilt. What will never be rebuilt
is the dignity of the poorest citizens of that region, since the
government acted with a greater destructive force than a hurricane.
The lamp of freedom has been blown out by force-five bureaucrats,
their sycophants and their head-embedded media enablers who will
insure that it will never get re-ignited. For our own good, of course.

Heads
should roll in Louisiana, for all those whose civil rights were
violated on Sunday, August 28, 2005, outside the Louisiana Superdome
of Shame.

August
30, 2005

Jack
Duggan [send him mail]
lives in Fort Apache (Hamilton, New Jersey, site of the anthrax
mailings) with his family.

Jack
Duggan: Archives

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