Other People's Shoes
5:23 p.m. - 2005-09-08
I keep hearing and reading people coming down hard on the NOLA police officers who have handed in their badges. At least two have killed themselves for reasons "unknown."
Now, I've never been a fan of the police in general. Maybe it's because I have problems with authority, or maybe it's because I've known a some bad cops. But I'm sure as hell not going to fault those men for quitting, and to see others make snide remarks about the dead not being able to handle the pressure really gets under my skin.
As far as I'm concerned, ALL branches of government agencies are responsible for the massive clusterfuck that this "rescue" effort has become, and I've pretty much lost hope that anything will be done. Hell, if 9/11 didn't make a difference, I honestly can't see how this will, other than giving Michael Moore lots of new material for his next project. I'm disgusted, and angry, and scared to fucking death of the atrocities I'm hearing about, and the hits just keep coming. I can't for the life of me figure out what FEMA is doing--or trying to do--especially when I read about stunts like this.
But, I digress. I was talking about the police officers. Granted, they're not without (some pretty major) fault of their own, but it would help to keep in mind that a lot of those men were in the exact same shape as the rest of the people in New Orleans. They'd lost everything and were--and still are-- going out and braving the dangers head on.
Now, I'm sure that there were--and again, still are--PLENTY of police officers doing things they shouldn't, but I honestly don't believe that applies to all of them. Logic tells me that it must have been really, really bad for those men and women to turn in their badges. New Orleans is a tough town on a good day, and those officers are no strangers to rough situations. I can't even begin to imagine what would make those men turn their own guns on themselves, but I sure as hell know that I wouldn't have wanted to experience it.
It's easy to feel self-righteous when you're writing your checks and donating non-perishables from the comfort of your well-furnished, air-conditioned home. I should know, because that's all I've done myself. But keep in mind that the images you're seeing on television are real, and that things down there are, according to my sister's friends who stayed behind for their jobs, even worse than the reporters have been showing.
I'm guilty of passing judgement on others myself, but this is one situation that I feel like those of us who don't know what we're talking about should keep our mouths shut.
My sister and her family are doing well. Their house on the West Bank sustained little damage, but they have no idea when they'll be able to go back. At the moment, she and her son are living with my parents. Her daughter is enrolled in a nearby school and staying on the bayou with a great aunt. My BIL is helping to set up a new branch of the chain he works for in Baton Rouge. They're coping as best they can, given the circumstances. It's tough for them to be spread out all over, but I guess it's better than sitting around the house. They're actually pretty lucky, and I think they realize that.
More than anything, I feel sorry for the animals left behind. Those babies don't have anyone to depend on for food, water, or shelter, and their owners aren't being allowed to bring them along in rescue boats. Why the hell can't they understand that animals are as important as family to some of us? It'd take a whole group of men to drag me out of the house without my dogs, so I completely understand the people that aren't complying.