Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jumping to Conclusions

The blog Brilliant at Breakfast is one of my favorites, but Jill and Melina have a couple of posts today that were way off target and jumped to just stunningly silly conclusions.

First, Jill accuses the Bush Administration of having treated the refugees of Katrina badly and then lavishing luxury on the evacuees of the wildfires at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The comparison is wrong on several levels.

As I said in an earlier post, Katrina was an evacuation and devastation of an entire city, while this fire actually affected only a portion of San Diego. Those who were not affected pitched in to help those who were. The federal government had little or nothing to do with it. This was local government and, much more to the point, local people and businesses pitching in as volunteers.

The feds provided a few cots and blankets. The rest of it was San Diego taking care if its own, and New Orleans would have done the same in similar circumstances. But the circumstances were vastly different.

My grandmother grew up in the New Orleans area, my father obtained his medical degree at Tulane University. I know New Orleans and its people. In New Orleans there were no people to help those who were affected; everyone was either gone or they were in the gun sight. There were no local supplies to be volunteered and no people to volunteer them. In circumstances akin to what San Diego experienced these past few days, the Superdome would have looked pretty much exactly like Qualcomm Stadium did.

Qualcomm Stadium was not a festive site of people partying and feasting. It was thousands of people choking in bad air and worried sick about whether or not they would have a home to go back to. It was people who work for a living, often working two jobs, and who expend two-thirds of their income to own just a basic home and are in fear that they may have lost it all in a single night.

And local people and business flock to help, and offer their goods and services to relieve the burden and lift the fear. And people back east make snide remarks about how much better the “wealthy Californians” are treated.

In a related post, Melina says that, ”tragically, many of the neediest people wont go to the stadium and shelters, because they are illegal and living in the hills.” I don’t know what her authority is for that, but I know of no reports that any of the shelters were asking for green cards. It sounds like rhetorical nonsense to me, and I have heard nothing like it from any source that is local to the area.

Nor do I know what her source is for the concept that ”thousands are living in the hills around San Diego”, because illegal immigrants actually have no problems renting apartments here. Some do live in the hills, but I would seriously question the “thousands” bit.

Jill suggests that many of these thousands will be ”casualties of the fires” and will remain unknown. Well, no. Even in the barbaric wilds of rural San Diego, we do notice charred corpses. But it takes someone who knows absolutely nothing about us to suggest that we will let anyone die in the wildfires.

I’m all in favor of attacks on the Bush Administration, even irrational attacks on the Bush Administration. But I’m not crazy about my city being used as a basis for those irrational attacks.


  1. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Well written!

  2. Bill, I'm a fan of B@B as well (been internet-acquainted with Jill for 5 or 6 years). I think you make some excellent points - it's always valuable to have input from a keen observer who is local to the "big story" at hand.