Following the truth
0 comment Monday, May 5, 2014 |
Lately over at, there has been a lot of back-and-forth, mostly involving 'conservatives' showing off politically correct credentials by denouncing 'racism' on the part of other conservatives.
As part of that ongoing series of skirmishes, during an exchange following this post, Christopher Roach raises, in passing, the issue of the reported violence in the Superdome, following Katrina.
In Caleb Stegall's response, he piously denies that such events occurred, dismissing any violence as just run-of-the-mill 'teenage rape', on the one hand, and then questioning whether such attacks really happened. He says they were unsubstantiated, or exaggerated, and of course race is irrelevant.
Now, I don't want to get involved in the name-calling over at TakiMag, but this whole issue of the Superdome violence, and the larger picture of what happened following Katrina, is something that has bothered me since Katrina happened, in August 2005.
I followed the events very closely, being transfixed by the sheer magnitude of the storm and its effects on the area where it hit. I think most of us followed the news over the several days of the crisis there. My interest in the story was also rather personal, since I spent part of my childhood in Louisiana, and I had, at that time, kin in the area affected by Katrina, though not in New Orleans.
When the reports of widespread looting, crime, and general lawlessness started, I was not really surprised. However, as the reports continued and the picture appeared to worsen, with reports of snipers shooting at rescue workers, people in hospitals under attack, and so on, the overall impression of a descent into barbarism was inescapable.
During that time, I was regularly posting articles from the media and blogs on a Republican forum, and I posted a number of rather shocking pieces describing the horrifying scene in the Superdome. At first, these accounts seemed to be considered credible, and the online discussions seemed to accept the veracity of the stories, considering the detail provided. However, gradually some of the major news media began to put out op-ed pieces, questioning whether the worst events described (deaths, gang rapes) actually occurred. The seed of doubt was planted and soon the stories suddenly disappeared or were played down or denied outright.
Strangely, many of the regulars on the Republican message board shortly began to deny that any such atrocities happened in the Superdome, despite the reports we had all read and discussed, and they asserted, irrationally I thought, that the reports were either wild rumor, or lies made up by the liberal media.
Why would the media outright invent the stories? Well, the Bush loyalists asserted that the media, full of insane hatred for the President, made up the atrocity stories ''to make the President look bad.''
I suppose the full-time Bush apologists by this time were rather unhinged by the accusations from the Katrina 'survivors' and their media enablers that the President had "left them there to die". Or the bizarre accusations that the government had blown up the levees in a diabolical attempt to 'finish off' New Orleans and its people. That kind of looniness begat another kind of loony response from the 'right': they denied that the worst reports out of New Orleans were true.
That kind of thing is one example of the bizarre thought processes of many on the Republican side which caused me to flee from that whole group of people. I think the Bush-bashing, which was undeniably real, caused a kind of reverse "Bush-derangement syndrome", in which every bit of bad news from Katrina was alleged to be part of a conspiracy by the Bush-hating left and the liberal media.
Why, I asked, would the media invent these stories out of whole cloth? What would be the motive, other than 'trying to make our President look bad'? This just made little sense to me, not least because it would violate the first commandment of the liberal media: Thou shalt make minorities look good at all times.
Why would the media, even for the sake of "making the President look bad", go to the lengths of using unfavorable stories about revered minorities to do so? The media, even more than they want to discredit Republicans, want to cover up any unflattering stories about minority behavior. Their whole agenda is about fostering an image of a class of people who are above reproach, and shielded from criticism. If that means downplaying certain stories, or of twisting facts to flatter that group of people, they will do so.
But I don't believe for a moment that the liberal/leftist media (many of whom are minorities now, remember) would make up false rumors about savage behavior in the Superdome.
Another reason I didn't doubt the veracity of the stories: there were too many of them, with too many details, and with names. They were not merely 'hearsay' stories, based on unnamed, shadowy sources. There were reports coming out of UK papers, reports via British citizens who had the misfortune to be in the Superdome during the worst of it. There were reports from Australian citizens in similar situations.
There was one memorable piece out of New Orleans, by reporter Brian Thevenot, which provided considerable detail. I cannot find the online versions of these stories, but I saved parts of them. Here is an excerpt from the above-mentioned story:
'Meanwhile, a National Guardsman showed a reporter the many bodies piled up in the New Orleans Convention Center, including in the freezer.
"Don't step in that blood � it's contaminated," Guardsman Mikel Brooks told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man."
Then he shined the light on a smaller human figure under a white sheet next to the elderly man.
"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."
Continued the soldier: "There's an old woman," pointing to a wheelchair covered by a sheet. "I escorted her in myself. And that old man got bludgeoned to death," he said of the body lying on the floor next to the wheelchair.
The Guardsmen stationed at the center say there are between 30 and 40 bodies in the freezer.
"It's not on, but at least you can shut the door," said fellow Guardsman Phillip Thompson.
According to the New Orleans paper, in just one subdivision, Sherwood Forest, survivors who showed up to the Convention Center yesterday said police told them roughly 90 people in the neighborhood had died.
In St. Bernard, 22 bodies were found lashed together. Officials surmised the drowning victims had tried to stay together to keep themselves from being washed away in the storm.''
Was this, and so many other stories which I read, replete with detail and names, all concocted by the media? I just don't believe that.
I know why many refuse to believe it: simple political correctness. They don't want to acknowledge that these things may have actually occurred. Admitting that would have to lead to too many uncomfortable possibilities. It's so much better to play see-no-evil than to face these politically incorrect thoughts.
There is also this story from the BBC, which is here.
And there's more where that came from, although I won't present it here. It isn't necessary. The willful non-believers won't be convinced; they will just insist it's all urban legend -- even though the much-revered though liberal has not disproven these stories.
The whole episode, and the apparent banishing of these accounts down the PC memory hole, should not be tolerated. It's downright Orwellian.
And it's a shame that conservatives should fall prey to political correctness, and don the blinders required by that delusional system.
The truth has to be followed where it leads.

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