Guilty as charged (and the media too)

Okay, the pacifist left wing pinko who writes this blog has a confession and an accompanying plea of guilty.

I knew better at heart but it took a well-deserved rant by Stephen Eley of Escape Pod to finally bring me to the court of common sense. Escape Pod is a weekly audio program of excellent contemporary SF, fantasy and horror short fiction. Stephen Eley usually does the introduction to each show. Here is an excerpt from Eley’s aside in the intro to the latest show about what has transpired in and been reported about New Orleans:

If you’re going around spouting that “the people who stayed behind deserved it” nonsense or “Darwinism in action” or “the looters ought to be shot,” kick yourself in the head — right now.New Orleans is — or was — a mostly poor southern city with a street car system. Twenty-six percent of the work force didn’t have cars, even people who could afford to. And their entire evacuation plan was “get in your car and drive away.” The Greyhound bus stations closed on Saturday. How exactly was everyone supposed to get out?

And looters? Granted, you’ve got your asshole factor. But the news is calling people looters who are going into stores for food. Food. And this shooting people nonsense. On the one hand you’ve got property that’s a total loss under insurance any way. On the other hand, you’ve got human life. Where are your priorities?

Last note. And this is why I’d rather get my news from one of you than the media. I’m looking at two very similar press photos on Yahoo News. One of them is captioned, “Two residents wade through chest deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store.” The other says, “A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans.” Want to guess what the only difference was between those pictures? Yeah. The couple who “found” was white; the guy who “looted” was black.

You want to change something in the world? Change that.

While not guilty of the last offense, I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit I was one who said, “What part of ‘leave now’ did these people not understand?” I am equally chagrined that my first reaction to word of shooting looters on sight was, “Damn right!”

My emotional ignorance temporarily paralyzed what I knew deep down inside or should have learned. Stephen deserves credit for his concise and direct indictment and the psychological slap across my face. My penance shall be the Red Cross donation he so strongly urged in the opening to that introduction.

There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book

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