Nonsense and Sensibilities

It seems that everyone from the president to the secretary of Homeland Security is concerned about how we childish citizens will deal with the horrors Katrina left in her wake.

“We need to prepare the country for what’s coming,” Michael Chertoff said last Sunday on “Fox News.” This kindly bureaucrat oversees the screeners at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the ones who grope pregnant women until they cry and strip-search disabled folks in wheelchairs. Mike supervised the crackerjack crew at FEMA, too, as they prevented food and water from reaching victims devastated by Katrina. Yet this big-hearted lug still worries over our sensibilities. “We are going to uncover people who died hiding in the houses, maybe got caught in the floods. It is going to be as ugly a scene as you can imagine.”

President Bush also wants to “steel” the nation for the “grisly scenes of recovering the dead that will unfold in coming days,” as The New York Times transitively phrased it. This kindly president sends Americans to die in Iraq and praises his attorney general for defending torture. Yet George, too, frets about our feelings.

Tell you what, guys: don’t lose any sleep over my reaction to Katrina’s casualties. I’m a big girl. I know that when floodwaters rise, people die, and when souls depart bodies, corpses stay behind. I also realize that lots of things float, including bodies. My heart goes out to those pitiful victims and their families, but I can cope with such tragedy. C’est la vie.

What I can’t handle is the deliberate, unconstitutional, appalling cruelty you and your accomplices are inflicting on the innocent survivors of New Orleans. These folks have endured the unendurable. Now, instead of meeting with compassion and understanding, they are being marched out of their homes at gunpoint. And that’s possible solely because Leviathan’s looters stole their weapons.

“Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons,” P. Edwin Compass III announced to the The New York Times. And who, you might ask, is this cretin? He’s the superintendent of the New Orleans police, though, given his penchant for rewriting the Constitution, we may one day find him nominated to the Supreme Court.

Deputy Chief Warren Riley agreed with ole P. Edwin. “No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons.”

Yo, Mike? George? You’re so worried about my feelings: these guys are upsetting me big-time. They’re making me think something fishy happened to the Constitution when we weren’t looking. Do something about them, OK? Shut them up, either verbally, or, preferably, in jail. Read them the Second Amendment. Better yet, make them copy it out 50 times. Stress that part about “shall not be infringed.” Tell them it doesn’t come with a hurricane exemption.

When they’re done memorizing the Second, move them right along to the Fourth and “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…” Statist thugs pulling American citizens out of their homes infuriate me. They call to mind accounts I’ve read of Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China under Mao.

Renee de Pontchieux voiced similar thoughts from her perch outside Kajun’s Pub in the Bywater area of New Orleans. “We used to think we lived in America — now we’re not so sure. Why should we allow this government to chase us out and allow people from outside to rebuild our homes? We want to rebuild our homes.” But she knows the cops outgun her, so she won’t fight when they come to evict — sorry, evacuate her.

Those evictions are on a strict timetable. Shelia Dalferes told AP she was given just 15 minutes to pack before she and her husband were dispossessed. “They were all insisting that I had to leave my home. The implication was there with their plastic handcuffs on their belt. Who wants to go out like that?”

Intriguingly, each group of goons insists that no one has been compelled to leave and that their group is most definitely not assisting in the forced evacuations that aren’t happening. It’s the other group of goons not doing it.

“I don’t believe that you will see National Guard soldiers actually physically forcing people to leave,” said Major General James Ron Mason with the Kansas National Guard.

Au contraire, Jimmy. Troops from the Oklahoma’s Guard invaded a home in the Lower Garden District, one of New Orleans’ wealthiest neighborhoods, and stole the family’s guns. Then they handcuffed them for good measure.

Meanwhile, state troopers are reducing women to tears. AP published a picture of Toni Miller, 58, standing on her porch while Louisiana’s own Cameron Douglas imperiously gestures for her to leave. Ms. Miller is small and thin; she appears to be handcuffed. Cameron, on the other hand, is not only stocky but armed. Everlasting shame on you, mister. Didn’t your mother ever teach you to pick on guys your own size?

The New Orleans Police also profess scruples about dispossessing folks. They are “not going to do that until we absolutely have to. We really don’t want to do that at all,” said our man Riley. Good to see a goon with principles. Riley will steal a man’s gun, but he won’t take him out of his home. At least not until he “absolutely has to.”

It’s all a mirage, anyway. Riley doesn’t “know of any incidents where people are being belligerent.” Especially now that they’re disarmed. “They realize they’re not going to this awful situation like the Superdome or the Convention Center. As days go by, it seems less and less likely that we’ll have to force anyone.”

Well, we all have our illusions.

The Coast Guard’s in on the fun, too. AP reported that Chief Petty Officer Jason Rule and his crew “pulled 18 people from their homes on Thursday.” I assume “pulled” is literal. “It’s getting to the point where they’re delirious,” the petty Officer Rule opined. No word on whether he boasts the medical training to make such a diagnosis. “A couple of them don’t know who they were. They think the water will go down in a few days.” Psst, Jason: that’s because the water is going down. Haven’t you heard about the 37 pumps that are back in operation, draining 11,000 cubic feet of water per second?

Through it all, our president continues kindly. He may have deprived people who never harmed him of their homes, people who, in fact, pay for his mansion, but it’s only because he cares. He’s sure you and I can provide for these dispossessed folks better than they could have for themselves. “The responsibility of caring for hundreds of thousands of citizens who no longer have homes is going to place many demands on our nation,” George warned. He also promised to make it as “easy and simple as possible” for his victims to collect food stamps and other of Leviathan’s handouts.

Funny, isn’t it? George is so quick to give them our money when all they asked was to be left alone.