Toad in the Hole

September 10, 2005


Odd as it may seem, some people comenting on the situation in New Orleans, as well as some people actually fostering the situation in New Orleans, seem to have forgotten that one of the things a citizen (and I don't mean "official" or even "legal" -- I mean "taxpayer" and that includes sales tax, and I have no problem extending the concept further) might reasonably expect from a polity is protection from violent criminals who happen to be of the same ethnicity.

Thus, we read sentences about how rescue helicopters were fired on "by the very people they came to save" and hear about scenes like the armed roadblock on the highway leading out of the city. And "It's their own people," and proposals that, if there is to be credit or cash given to evacuees, they should undergo drug testing first because "Did you see what they did in the Superdome?"

Stephen Jay Gould said something about how human classification got more finely diced as the beings classified came more closely to resemble the classifier. Thus, we're humans (name race, ethnic group, religion, sex, and costume, ad lib.), and other primates are apes and monkeys; they and other mammals are "animals" -- or if you're lucky you get someone who knows to classify the "kingdoms" decently; birds are all "birds" ("the language of the birds" -- though some species are demonstrably bilingual at least with regard to other species while we're lucky to be bilingual within ours); arachnids are subsumed under "bugs" with lots of other things, and plants are wallpaper.

And other people are undifferentiated Them.

So if, say, Hell's Angels came to the nearest suburb to have a serious party, would the other white folks there countenance being abandoned to them because "You all look alike to us"? "But they're not like us!!! They're... (insert epithet here)!" Yeah.

Yeah I know the cops were overwhelmed. I sure as hell don't envy them. But, again, which way were the guns pointing?

Posted at September 10, 2005 06:47 AM