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30.8.05

Hurricane Katrina

Like most of you, I'm sure, I have been horrified by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Although I feel somewhat uncomfortable with the sort of prurient coverage offered by the 24-hour news cycle, I have been glued to the TV for the past two days. You know, if you look hard enough, even during a horrible tragedy, some people can find political bias in news coverage to suit their own personal political agendas. To prove my point, conservative James Panero at Armavirumque today chastised the New York Times for leaving out a reference to looting in the caption to a photo, in which a black man is shown wading through water in New Orleans. On the same day, left-leaning Xeni Jardin's post Black People Loot, White People Find? at Boing Boing points out how AP photo captions refer to white people "finding food" and black people "looting stores." All this does is reinforce for me how desperate the gap is between rich and poor in the United States. In close proximity to a wealthy tourist-heavy part of New Orleans are people living in near-destitution, and that was before a massive hurricane destroyed their homes. No one should be surprised if people in that position loot stores, and although it is a scandalous commentary on human selfishness (stealing is wrong, of course), most of the products being stolen could probably not ever be sold anyway because of water damage. Can we focus on getting these people help now?

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