Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Left Behind II

Returning to the subject of the people left behind in New Orleans after the Mandatory Evacuation orders...

I understand that there's always going to be a number of people who just won't budge. "I've lived here man and boy for eighty-five years and never ran from no hurricane and don't plan to start now" kinds of machismo. Okay.

And of course there's going to be the partiers who just decide to ride it out on Bourbon Street with quantities of booze. I'm not talking about these people - they picked their fate.

I'm talking about the people who would have loved to have had the wherewithal (transportation, or money for a place to stay or whatever) to evacuate, but didn't have it and therefore were stuck in New Orleans while the wealthy, the middle-class and those with wheels of any kind were able to get out.

If those people came away with the message "if you're poor, you're probably black so it's not terribly important what happens to you", I can't say I blame them.

Because here's this... a quick tour of websites and I discovered that Montgomery County, Maryland, population 875,000 in 2000, had a fleet of almost 1000 school buses. From this, I extrapolate that you could perhaps round up, say, 2000 school buses from New Orleans and surrounding suburbs, population circa 1.5 million.

Why didn't someone round up those vehicles, drop 2000 national guardsmen in to drive them, and get 100,000 or more people who otherwise couldn't leave the hell out of Dodge?

How many municipal buses does New Orleans possess (or did they, now, I guess)? Where are they? Did they leave the city laden with residents? or are they now under water? Greyhound shut down their terminal on, what, Saturday or Sunday? Where were the buses? Every little pissant podunk town in my suburb of DC has some form of public transportation. There's a hell of a lot of buses in most cities, and if there are now empty buses underwater in New Orleans, someone should pay.

That's all I'm saying.


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