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What Happens when that thin veneer of ‘society’ dissolves?
Thursday September 01st 2005, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Love
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To say it’s difficult to watch this unfold would be an understatement. I’ve always been sensitive to the thin veneer of ‘society’ and the primal urges that reside beneath it. Well here we are. 2005 in America. We’re seeing the complete destruction of what we know of as ‘society’ in a large, modern city. The assumption of services, of well-being, of food or the very essence of compassion between humans has dissolved. There are reports of beatings, rapes and murders inside the convention center housing 1000s of abandoned refugees and all across the city. That word – refugees. This is modern America. The richest nation in the history of mankind. Refugees.

I have struggled for the past few years to keep optimistic about the essense of humankind and our ability to do the right thing when it matters most. But watching this horrible story unfold, and seeing the evil behavior of those who are left to their own devices – well – I just don’t know anymore. Perhaps I was right all along. Perhaps my earlier assumptions about the essense of humans was right all along.

4:15 P.M. – (AP): Police say storm victims are being raped and beaten inside the New Orleans Convention Center.

About 15,200 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile.

Police Chief Eddie Compass says he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob.

Compass says, “We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten.”

He says tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.

In hopes of defusing the unrest at the convention center, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city’s unflooded west bank for whatever relief they can find. But the bedlam appeared to make leaving difficult.

Up to date news here New Orleans Blog

Here’s this little gem of mass rapes from CNN

One displaced resident at the Louisiana Superdome, however, issued a warning to authorities who may be headed to the stadium, where up to 30,000 people had sought refuge after Monday’s hurricane and now await evacuation to Texas by bus.

“Please don’t send the National Guard,” he said. “Send someone with a bullhorn outside the place that can talk to these people first.”

He described scenes of lawlessness and desperation, with people simply dragging corpses into corners.

“They have quite a few people running around here with guns,” he said. “You got these young teenage boys running around up here raping these girls.”

Elsewhere, groups of armed men wandered the streets, buildings smoldered and people picked through stores for what they could find.

Charity Hospital, one of several facilities attempting to evacuate patients, was forced to halt the effort


6 Comments so far
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OK – I contest Mr. Hyperlexic, but will respond in a long form by way of a seperate blog. For now – turn off the TV and do some web searches for all the releif efforts that are underway. Consider all of the billions of dollars and tens of thousands of people decending on this part of the planet to help, and then consider where on the bell curve of human morality lies the people who loot and commit violence under the worst of conditions. 🙂 I think in this view of the situation you may see some of the hope for the essence of humankind. I watched the news channels last night for a few hours and can see why this darkness would decend on your view of the situation. The media are vultures with cans of rightguard airesol and lighters in a barn full of hay. One of these days there will be a reconning for their reckless inflation of the darkest sides of humanity as the most noteworthy. When no one let’s their children out of the house, everyone carries a gun, no one talks to eachother and we are all diagnosable paranoid personality disordered. Turn it off people!

Comment by andrei hedstrom 09.02.05 @ 10:13 am

you can contest all you want, but there is no reconning, no judgement and no karma. underneathth the layers of horseshit socialization is a primal animal with evil and predatory instincts simmering and waiting for any opportunity to show its face.

and no, the media is not blowing this out of proportion. i’ve seen the police chief interviewed and doctors interviewed who have confirmed these actions. we need to reboot humanity.

Comment by hyperlexic 09.02.05 @ 3:49 pm

i just realized that my last comment sounded rather rude. that wasn’t my intention. andrei, you have always helped me see a better side to people, and i appreciate that. this tragedy is really effecting me, and I’m sorry if i sounded rather short and antagonistic. 🙁 bummer

Comment by hyperlexic 09.02.05 @ 8:06 pm

Apparently, the Mayor of New Orleans has been quoted as saying something to the affect: that with any tragedy of this scale it brings out the best in some people and the worst in others.

I have no doubt in my mind that there are those in New Orleans where compassion and steadfast refusal to stand by and let anyone get raped ruled their very existence, to the point where some may have given their lives. This is also humanity, despite such tragedy and I hope these stories surface along with the rest of the mayhem.

I hear you though man. It is frightening how fast so-called society can descend into nightmarish situations. It’s so difficult to see this kind a utterly shameful behavior, much less witness the pain and damage every night on T.V.

Comment by tao 09.02.05 @ 9:50 pm

no worries hyperlexic – i know this is the type of thing that beats your spirit down. me too. it is hard to stay focused on the light of a single star in the sky when people keep dropping bombs. we have to keep leaning on eachother and tracking on one another’s gaze to stay focused on the best we can do. much love and respect – thanks for pushing this discussion. i think a number of us did not know where to start. your fire is appropriate and has us all burning as well – thanks for your passion and willingness to feel this so deeply. it is courageous to make yourself available to it at this level. i only want to do my part to make sure it does not consume you and your voice. you have so much intense power and heart, i need that in my life. we have much work ahead of us – i think we all have been learning this. we will need your fire and your unique voice. the tiny emerging community that is Driving Socrates needs it. good things will prevail because we will insure they will. 🙂

Comment by andrei hedstrom 09.02.05 @ 11:59 pm

I agree that it feels like there is an absolute collapse in our society- and it didn’t start with Katrina. When people feel a loss of all control, some of them are going to get that control back, or a brief feeling of it, and that will sometimes manifest itself in rapes, beatings, lootings, etc. I am not at all condoning these actions. I think what is happening right now is beyond words.
But I also agree with Tao and Andrei. I have to believe that there are still people who are good and will help in this effort. I am asking myself now what I can do to help. I honestly don’t understand what would drive anyone to rape or beat or kill another person. I just can’t understand the desperate situation these people are facing. But I have to believe that we can be better than that. I have to believe that there is hope for humanity. And I think we are a small part of that, building humanity one blog and one meaningful relationship at a time with others who think like us; others who hold on to hope. Because the alternative is too damn frightning. Thanks for your raw truth. You are a unique voice here.

Comment by laura 09.05.05 @ 10:50 am



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