God Help You When the Government Does

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The only thing worse than Katrina’s devastating destruction is Leviathan’s horrific “help.”

The day after the hurricane, Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco ordered New Orleans evacuated — again. Yep, folks facing a flood several fathoms deep without electricity, potable water, or food are too stupid to leave on their own. Good thing the Nanny Kate tells them what to do.

Nanny’s sending buses, boats and helicopters after all the silly little citizens who didn’t know enough to come in out of the rain. These “refugees,” as the Associated Press calls them, will be taken to shelters across the state. Some of these, such as cruise ships and mobile home parks, are private property that the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] is commandeering: apparently, their owners escaped Katrina only to be ravaged by FEMA. The bureaucracy also plans to erect hundreds of tents, ignoring both the wet ground and campers’ comfort. It may even house citizens aboard its “floating dormitories,” the boats on which FEMA quarters its minions while they run around getting in the refugees’ way.

Whatever happened to bunking in with friends and families? I’ve experienced several hurricanes; on hearing that an especially dangerous one was heading my way, my first thought would be: “Time to visit Dad.”

For sure I wouldn’t trust either Nanny or the fiendish FEMA to host me. It’s a shock that anyone does, given the conditions at prisons and public schools.

But folks busy raising families and earning money to pay taxes haven’t the time to analyze Leviathan’s propaganda. Such harried people make ripe pickings for the state. They entrusted themselves to “authorities” at the start of this disaster, perhaps reasoning that a government powerful enough to “protect” Iraq from Saddam could “protect” them from Katrina.

That “protection” immediately turned on them. It began with tactics similar to those used in Iraq. Refugees were searched for drugs, alcohol and weapons before they were admitted to New Orleans’ Superdome. Presumably, those found with contraband during this unconstitutional frisk sheltered at New Orleans’ jail instead.

That might have been a blessing, actually. The Superdome, built in 1980, has not aged gracefully. It also lost power, depriving the 20,000 people trapped inside of lights and air-conditioning at the height of a Southern summer. High winds tore holes in the roof, flooding the place with torrential rain and sending residents scurrying for the upper levels. One man fell from there and died. Toilets overflowed, as did trash containers. Little food or water could be had. In short, Nanny’s miserable hospitality probably violated the Geneva Convention, let alone simple humanity.

General Ralph Lupin of the National Guard whined, “We’re doing everything we can to keep these people comfortable. We’re doing our best. It’s not getting any better, but we’re trying not to let it get any worse.” Alas, running hotels and restaurants isn’t easy, though entrepreneurs make it look that way every day. Their skills provide clean beds and rooms, private baths, delicious meals — all the miracles that Leviathan desperately longs to reproduce. And can’t. Nor ever will.

Meanwhile, the refugees tire of the state’s abuse. Yet they can’t go home because National Guardsmen are preventing anyone from escaping the Superdome.

That’s right. Citizens of the supposedly free United States, folks who have committed no crimes, who are, in fact, pitiful victims of a natural disaster, are being held against their will by the very entity that promised to “help” them. But fear not: General Lupin understands. “I know people want to leave,” he said, “but they can’t leave.” Yo, Ralph, what’s your legal justification for that breathtaking diktat? You ever heard of habeas corpus and due process?

Apparently not. Instead, our man Ralph blames the kidnapping of 20,000 people on Katrina. “There’s three feet of water around the Superdome.”

I’m a tiny woman, not even five feet tall. Three feet of water reaches a bit above my waist. It might not even wet the hips on adults of average height. If the choice is wading away or suffering in the sweltering Superdome, most of us would probably roll up our pants and go. Yet the state has usurped that decision for those caught in its clutches. Then it pretends that it’s mere water, not troops training guns on disarmed citizens, imprisoning folks.

Funny that the city’s so flooded folks can’t depart the Superdome, yet looters roam the streets. Gangs plunder unmolested. “In some cases,” AP reported, “the looting was in full view of police and National Guardsmen.” Leviathan is egregiously, utterly, criminally failing at one of its only Constitutional duties. But that’s not how the media describe it. Rather, they call it “anarchy.” Right. Anarchy doesn’t force people to abandon their homes and businesses. Nor does it compel them to surrender their weapons before imprisoning them in “untenable” emergency shelters, as Nanny Kate herself characterized them.

Naturally, Nanny’s trying to excuse the state’s ineptitude: “We don’t like looters one bit,” — unless, of course, they work for the tax department — “but first and foremost is search and rescue.” Might I ask where the Constitution authorizes “search and rescue”? Ditto for the boondoggle known as FEMA.

Katrina’s tragic toll in lives and property is still being counted. But we can rejoice that there are some things no hurricane, however powerful, can destroy: resourcefulness, independence, liberty.

It takes Leviathan to devour those.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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