The damage from Katrina shouldn’t extend to our values
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it is time to examine the extent of the damage. If we are not vigilant, the damage may extend even further inland to our way of life.Some damage has come in the form of an attack on what is to be expected in a lawful society. It seems that the broadcast and cable news jockeys have determined that some laws in times of crisis are irrelevant. The news jockeys have all rallied around the idea that while looting of TVs and Nikes is wrong, looting for food is not. Let’s be clear: All looting is wrong. Period. It is up to individuals to plan for emergencies so they don’t have to consider looting. For instance, for fear of avalanche, Interstate 70 was closed for three days. Here, in Summit County, we saw gas stations and grocery stores emptied in no time.If we aren’t careful, the news jockeys have set the precedent that in another recurrence of the shutdown of I-70 a little looting for food is “OK.” Would that mean that looting someone’s home for food would also be justifiable? If there is a lesson to be learned from New Orleans, it is that the law needs to be upheld especially in times of crisis, because the breakdown escalates rapidly.Another important lesson is that in times of crisis, law enforcement’s role is that of historian. They show up after the crimes have been committed to record the event rather than alter or prevent it. If you want to have some say in whether or not you become a victim, or rather, decide for yourself who or what you want to share, it is your responsibility to be able to defend yourself, your family and your property. The police have problems of their own. Just ask Paul Accardo.Another lesson is still being fought. It is a struggle between the state’s rights and centralized power.On the one hand, there is a cry being amplified throughout the media that President Bush and the federal government (FEMA) failed to compensate for the criminal negligence of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin, therefore the sovereignty of the states needs to be surrendered to the central government. Or, in other words, due to the glaring incompetence of the leaders in Louisiana, Colorado needs to hand over control to President Bush, while at the same time blaming President Bush for the suffering of people he allegedly doesn’t care about. Please, let’s not.The failure of the leaders of Louisiana to address the woefully inadequate levee system did not happen in a vacuum. The people of Louisiana allowed it to happen. Now, it is time for the people of Louisiana to hold their politicians’ feet to the fire and clean house. There is no need for Coloradans to pay the price for Louisianans willingness to tolerate decades of corruption traced back through Huey Long-era politics. The final lesson is that in spite of the mammoth burden that government has become to its citizens, Americans still dig deep to give to fellow human beings in times of need. Hurricane Katrina was an act of God, and Americans will help fellow Americans get back on their feet. It is up to the people of New Orleans to decide what lessons the Big Easy will learn from this disaster, but the rest of the country should not have to pay for the failures of corrupt Louisiana politics by surrendering local control to the federal government.The recent disasters in East Asia and the Gulf Coast demonstrate that centralized charity is not only unnecessary, but deprives citizens of the resources and blessings when government does the giving.
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