While we cannot make a clean comparison between the two events, however they are both disasters that stress people and infrastructure.
Mayor Nagin of New Orleans refused (for two days) to yield to White House pressure to evacuate his people immediately. He had over 500 school buses at his disposal and plenty of time to get everyone to safety, yet for some unknown reason he demanded that the feds come do the job of rescuing his people. The buses which could have saved many instead went unused and were destroyed in the flood needlessly. (See photo of buses below)
In San Diego the government leaders did not wait and neither did the citizens. No one waited for the feds to come save them.
Over ten thousand evacuees were moved to the Qualcomm stadium and over half a million to other safe areas and no reports of any murders, rapes, robberies, looting, or related violence. How could this be?
Here's one headline:
Civility Reigns at San Diego Stadium
At San Diego Stadium, Massages and Buffets Lift Spirits of Those Who Fled Wildfires
By SCOTT LINDLAW Associated Press Writer SAN DIEGO Oct 23, 2007 (AP)
There was never an article that read like this on Katrina!
"The people are happy. They have everything here," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared Monday night after his second Qualcomm tour. Although anxieties ran high, the misery index seemed low as the celebrity governor waded through the mob. Scarcely a complaint was registered with him. "Oooh, I got a picture!" shrieked Olivia Beard of Ocean Beach, one of hundreds who pressed toward Schwarzenegger with camera phones snapping.
I could not find any pictures or reports of looting in San Diego - sorry! But, I did find some old news excerpts from Katrina.
NEW ORLEANS “DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY”: “Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.” [AP]
In another story we read: "An NBC correspondent filmed black, uniformed police strolling through the aisles, filling shopping carts. At one store, a police officer broke the glass on the DVD case so civilians would not cut themselves trying to break it, but one man was ungrateful. “The police got all the best stuff,” he said. “They’re crookeder than us.” One woman stocking up on makeup was glad to see the officers. “It must be legal,” she said. “The police are here taking stuff, too.” Imagine that; police officers looting along with the mob!
I know that in desparate times you might go take food, batteries, water or anything that will help you survive. I understand that. The people pictured above were stealing shoes and clothing-hardly survival items. How about these men stealing a trunk full of beer.
Please bear in mind that much of the looting began before the storm reached landfall.
What may have been the most shocking headline of the entire crisis was in the September 2 issue of Army Times: “Troops Begin Combat Operations in New Orleans.” The article was about the Louisiana National Guard massing near the Superdome in preparation for a citywide security mission. “This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones explained. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.” The amphibious assault ship Bataan was in the area, but kept its helicopters on board after pilots took sniper fire.
The rescuers were being fired upon by the citizens of New Orleans!!!
Many soldiers came under gunfire from civilians. “I never thought that as a National Guardsman I would be shot at by other Americans,” said Philip Baccus of the 527th Engineer Battalion. “And I never thought I’d have to carry a rifle when on a hurricane relief mission. This is a disgrace.” Cliff Ferguson of the same battalion added: “You have to think about whether it is worth risking your neck for someone who will turn around and shoot at you. We didn’t come here to fight a war. We came here to help.”
How pathetic and barbaric to fire on people who have come to your aid!!!
There is another disturbing dimension to this puzzling event called Katrina.
"Sgt. 1st Class Ron Dixon of the Oklahoma National Guard, who had recently come home from Afghanistan, said he was struck by the fact Afghanis wanted to help themselves, but that the people of New Orleans only wanted others to help them." There you have it again. Some of the people of New Orleans acted just the same as their worthless mayor Ray Nagin. They waited for someone else to do the work for them.
Then after the "Sewerdome" (as it came to be known) in New Orleans was evacuated we got this report. "By the evening of Sept. 3, the Superdome was finally evacuated, but the state-of-the-art stadium was a reeking cavern of filth, human waste, and an unknown number of corpses. It, too, had been looted of everything not bolted down. Janice Singleton was working at the stadium when the storm hit. She said she was robbed of everything she had, including her shoes. As for the building: “They tore that dome apart,” she said sadly. “They tore it down. They taking (sic) everything out of there they can take.” It will be interesting to see how many corpses are left after the San Diego fire is over. I bet there won't be any. I bet there won't even be any looting or destruction of the stadium! How do I know this? Just a wild hunch I guess!
At one point there were as many as seven or eight corpses in front of the stadium, some of them with blood streaming from bullet wounds. Inside, there was an emergency morgue, but National Guardsmen refused to let a Reuters photographer in to take pictures. “We’re not letting anyone in there anymore,” he said. “If you want to take pictures of dead bodies, go to Iraq.” By Saturday, Sept. 3, the center was mostly cleared of the survivors. Refugees pulled shirts over their noses trying to block out the smell as they walked past rotting bodies. (See the corpse left outside, they didn't even bother to clear it from the general population!)
The world witnessed with astonishment sights it never expected to see in the United States. “Anarchy in the USA,” read the headline in Britain’s best-selling newspaper, The Sun. “Apocalypse Now,” said Handelsblatt in Germany. Mario de Carvalho, a veteran Portuguese cameraman, who has covered the world’s trouble spots, said, “It’s a chaotic situation. It’s terrible. It’s a situation we generally see in other countries, in the Third World.”
Jesse Jackson, Sr. said the outside of the stadium made the place look “like the hull of a slave ship.” Ah, let's blame the white folks.
Some (probably a minority) did unspeakable things: loot hospitals, fire on rescue teams, rape helpless victims, destroy ambulances. No amount of excuse-making and finger-pointing can excuse barbarism like that. The degenerates of the Nagin's Chocolate City did it and only they are to blame! Don't blame me Jessie Jackson...I wasn't there.
Let's see if the people of San Diego take their government relief money and go buy porn, drugs, alcohol, and lap dances. If I'm wrong I'll retract my article and admit that I was wrong. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to take this article down though!
Natural disasters usually bring out the best in people. They help neighbors and strangers alike. For the Chocolate City—at least some of New Orleans' residents—disaster was an excuse to loot, rob, rape and kill.