N.O. Man’s Land

In a recent year long Batman story arc, Batman’s Gotham City is virtually destroyed by a cataclysmic earthquake. Due to Gotham’s reputation as being a difficult and crime-ridden city the government deems the city not worth saving, and basically seals off Gotham from the rest of the United States declaring it a “No Man’s Land.” In the NML, the citizens lack basic resources and are terrorized by gangs while the power brokers consolidate and manipulate for their own personal or political gain.
Sounding familiar?
As the news comes in from New Orleans I am increasingly reminded of Batman’s frightening scenario. While there aren’t super-villains (in the literal sense at least), there is still the tragedy, despair, lawlessness, and political wrangling. “Chaos” and “anarchy” are the most common descriptions, and the comparisons to third world countries are not even hyperbole anymore.
The Independent writes:

    Robberies, carjackings and even reports of rape and murder have all abounded in a city where the dead have been left lying where they fell or else float eerily down the rivers created by the water-filled streets.

Oh, and martial law is getting underway as well.
People are already questioning if New Orleans is worth rebuilding. Even the the Speaker of the House has already given up stating that part of New Orleans “could be bulldozed.”
Yet despite all the obvious problems, the media seems to focus more on placing the blame be it on the about blaming the President, FEMA, or even the residents themselves.
This entire tragedy has been mishandled from every angle imaginable. There is plenty of blame to go around, all of which can be sorted out later. But the first priority has to be making sure that people get the help they desperately need.
As today’s WSJ lead editorial reminds us, maintaining civil order isn’t easy in a crisis, especially when there is “complacency born of prosperity and the resilience of our legal and civic institutions.”
But unlike Gotham, we don’t have a bat signal to bail us out.

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