Emily Litella lives…but it’s not funny

Here’s new evidence of the complete moral breakdown of the New Orleans underclass. While everyone else was working day and night to construct a really good story of raping, killing, and looting, the undisciplined savages in the superdome and elsewhere apparently ignored the roles assigned to them by Fox News (and their own police chief), and insolently denied us the behavior they were supposed to provide. The 200 bodies are 6, and not a murder among them; the muzzle-flash disarming was made up; the thugs didn’t even attempt the prescribed and amply reported armed assault on the hotel: it was complete mutiny.

“After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA – Beron doesn’t remember his name – came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.

“‘I’ve got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome,’ Beron recalls the doctor saying.

“The real total was six, Beron said.

“Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice…

“As the fog of warlike conditions in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath has cleared, the vast majority of reported atrocities committed by evacuees have turned out to be false, or at least unsupported by any evidence, according to key military, law enforcement, medical and civilian officials in positions to know.”

[there’s lots more. If you believed the Grand Guignol news for even a minute, as I did, you owe it to your conscience to take a complete reality soak here; read it!]

The murder rate in New Orleans in the week after the storm was not even a single case higher than an average week. Obviously they didn’t even try, and with the whole world watching and telling them exactly what was expected. How are we supposed to have a civilized society if the oppressed won’t comply with our expectations of savagery? If they blatantly undermine the credibility of Paid Professional Experts and Pundits, with families to support who need stories to top each other with?

If they won’t misbehave when it really counts, they shiver the entire just-deserts structure of social policy. These people just have no respect for authority and their betters, and no manners, and that’s the plain fact.

The story is by Brian Thevenot and Gordon Russell, and as you might expect, from the same scurrilous rag that had the bad manners to correctly predict the consequences of unmaintained levees three years ago.


Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.