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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Friday, September 02, 2005

death toll

It's September 2nd. Five days later. No one is talking about the lack of numbers. Why?

If these numbers were known, if the magnitude of the estimates were known, and certainly in the United States we should have estimates by now, would the major networks be doing regular programming right now? Would the President be doing photo ops with helicopters that could be used to save lives in the background? Would the focus on saving lives be all the more acute? Would the dimensions of this tragedy receive their due respect?

Would the fact that people are still dying be brought into proper focus?

This is, after all, the United State of America. These are, after all, our citizens, our brothers and sisters. Am I the only one who finds this lack of attention to the numbers disturbing?

From the Shreveport Times:

After repeatedly sidestepping questions about the death toll from Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco acknowledged Thursday that the storm probably killed thousands of people.

"I know there are dead bodies. Lots of people lost their lives. Our situation is so difficult, we actually believe it will be in the thousands."

That was a marked departure from the responses she and other officials gave over the prior four days when they were asked about storm-related deaths. Such questions typically received the answer: "We're focusing on the living."


Not releasing or officially estimating this number directly affects how people talk about this crisis. If affects the gravity of how people talk about Katrina. Mayor Nagin has said thousands, now Governor Blanco has said thousands...Governor Barbour has warned of numbers higher than initial estimates.

This crisis is ongoing, it's not over. People have been dying this whole week, every minute and every hour.

This is like the World Trade Center were still burning...with people inside...and our government is failing them.

This is no time for regular programming.

{Permalink.}

{update: the NewsHour, which to my knowledge, you have to watch on TV, was essential viewing. The roundtable with Brooks, Oliphant and Page probably represents the consensus Beltway/opinion-maker stand point, and they were extremely critical of Bush. Basically, all of them see this as a major turning point, with deep philosophical and political consequences...including the offhand: Katrina = Giuliani vs. Edwards in 2008.}

2 Comments:

  • Hey kid...

    I posted a little bit about this the other night on Booman Tribune.

    The local Cdn news program was actually talking numbers, showing coroners working, etc...

    "Jed Kahane reported from Gulfport. He talked about the dead. Finally, someone is talking about the dead.

    There are 15 coroner's working now, and they can't keep up with the bodies.

    The coroners are finding the bodies of their friends.

    There are 6 refrigerated tractor trailers filling up with bodies. They showed them sitting side by side by side ... you get the visual.

    Rotten fish and food (pallets of chicken) is throwing off search dogs in their search for bodies."

    They interviewed one coroner who said he had been working for 2 1/2 hours and had already found 18 bodies.

    But you're right. All we hear is that there are bodies floating in the street, bodies being pushed away with sticks, bodies laying near superdome, bodies floating in houses...

    Americans. Not bodies. Americans.

    By Blogger olivia, at 1:26 PM  

  • Exactly.

    This is a bigger moment than most people think.

    This is a moment that will engulf 9/11 and Iraq into it...and it will engulf the 90's and Reaganism as well. Who are WE and what do WE stand for?

    That's the question right now.

    Talking about the dead, about those we lost..all of them, from all backgrounds...is what will bring the seriousness to the fore.

    And by NOT addressing it...by dancing around it. We delay that day of reckoning.

    We can't delay it forever.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 1:34 PM  

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