Everyone else here is writing "Dear New Orleans" posts this month. I feel the need to write a "Dear America" post. I've tried really hard to refrain from Katrina anniversary posts. But some make it impossible to do so. So here we go.
Dear America: Shut up. No, really. Until you are also willing to judge everyone who lives in an area that could be hit by a tornado (which could really be any of us, if bad luck strikes; but Kansas and the rest of tornado alley, I'm giving you the side-eye in particular right now). Unless you're also willing to judge everyone who lives in any area where there are mudslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, massive river floods, forest fires, etc.--did I miss anything? Oh, yeah--TSUNAMIS. Just. Shut. Up.
Facts: there were ZERO rapes and murders at the Superdome after Katrina. There were ZERO rapes and murders at the Convention Center after Katrina. Did people die? Yes. One guy killed himself at the dome. One man was shot in the back by police at the convention center bc he begged them for help. The cops claim he came at them aggressively. His name was Danny Brumfield. Look it up. Did people die? Yes. From heat exhaustion and no food or water for five days. Or, by, you know, DROWNING.
There were no snipers shooting at rescue helicopters. Look it up. I think even Snopes has covered that one.
Lots of people didn't evacuate because they didn't have cars or the financial means to do so. And they were told to go to the dome and they'd be safe. Look it up.
Yes, there was a picture of a bunch of flooded school buses that should have been used to evacuate people. Last time I checked, there isn't any governmental authority to require school bus drivers, who aren't even city employees and are part-time school district workers, to become essential personnel, commandeer buses, and drive around picking people up. Look it up.
We were not REFUGEES. Look up that definition. Find another disaster in our country where the victims were demeaned by the mother of the President of the United Freaking States of America, who said, of the people who went though five days of hell in New Orleans and were finally evacuated to Houston, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." While they slept on cots and didn't know where their spouses, children, and/or pets were. Look it up.
There were looters. But the vast majority of them were taking food and water. Oh, and a LOT of them were white. The news just didn't show you that part. Were there assholes stealing shoes and televisions, too? Of course. There are always assholes. Look it up. And while you're at it, look up "white sports fans" plus "rioting."
Katrina was not a natural disaster in New Orleans. It was a MAN-MADE disaster, brought to you via your tax dollars and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The NATURAL disaster occurred in Mississippi. Where most of my family lives and lost everything. The levees were NOT overtopped, meaning the city didn't flood bc the water was just too high. The levees, which were supposedly built to sustain a Cat 3 storm, failed spectacularly due to poor engineering and design. Look it up.
The U.S.government was in charge of maintaining and overseeing the levees. Not our corrupt local officials. Look it up.
Yes, we live in a bowl. That is mostly below sea level. WHY do we live here? Because we're one of the biggest ports in North America. We bring in lots of the shit you buy. Not to mention one-to-two-thirds of the natural gas and oil used by the entire country. And the seafood. Look it up.
We are losing a football field worth of our wetlands every day. Wetlands that used to protect New Orleans from hurricanes. Why are we losing those wetlands? Because the oil and gas companies dredge canals through the wetlands and then abandon them. And then the wetlands die. So that you can have oil and gas. And shrimp. Look it up.
We are not angry that Katrina happened. We're not sitting around bitching, waiting for a handout. We are people who have jobs and who live and laugh and love and can't imagine living anywhere else. We're mad because you're still telling us, 10 years later, how stupid we are for living here. We're mad because you keep telling us we got what we deserved. Because you keep telling us you don't want YOUR tax dollars supporting us.
You are the prosecutor asking the rape victim what she was wearing. You are making yourselves feel better by blaming us for being stupid. YOU would never live here, so obviously, you can sit smugly in your living rooms and say we got what we deserved. Until a tornado siren goes off. Or a forest fire comes along.
This is our world. These are our lives. And just for the record, we're not the ones peeing, puking, and baring all on Bourbon Street and making it smell like that. We want nothing to do with that hell hole. That's all on y'all, when you come to visit. Look it up.
And for those of you who are normal, loving human beings who took us in and loved us and comforted us? Words cannot express. We love you and will never forget it. Thank you.