Updates for Saturday, September 3rd [2005]

Bedlam by the Bay


Dear Friends,

I continue to follow the Hurricane Katrina crisis, however Natalie tells me not to worry so much.

Natalie: Well, I did give a donation to the Red Cross, but I don't know what else to do, it's not like we can just travel down there and start handing out supplies. Have you been watching the news?

Me: Oh yes, there has been little else I've been doing. I remember a time, Natalie, when people had very little communication and news traveled slow... it seems to me that the media today is able to see everything and report instantly. What I do not find out on the television, I find out from the internet. First hand accounts, eye witness reports, from reporters and citizens trapped in the crisis zone. New Orleans concerns me the most. Relief efforts are coping in Mississippi and Alabama, however hard hit, they are organized and ongoing. New Orleans lacks leadership, it lacks focus, and is succumbing to anarchy.

Natalie: Yeah, I know. I keep hearing the stories too. Hospitals were being raided and fired on, people were being raped and murdered at the Convention Center and the Superdome, and gang violence was ruling the city. It's terrible.

Me: In my time such a desperate situation would call for martial law, the looters would be fired on by soldiers, and run off.

Natalie: Uhh... huh. I didn't know they did that in France...

Me: I'll have to explain... some other time. The coverage of the stories surrounding this event compel me to act, however, I am too far removed to do anything. I discussed the situation with Daniel, and he seems to ramble on about President Bush. I think he's been talking to his friend James again.

Natalie: I don't understand why Bush comes up so much in this situation, in the past the Federal government always acted on the same kind of timetable in response to hurricanes, which is slow in this case but this case has a total failure of the Mayor or Governor to do squat. They sat on their hands in Louisiana and expect the Federal government to do all the work... no wonder things move so slow. The local police in New Orleans threw down their badges and deserted, the Mayor made a hodgepodge of the rescue efforts, the Governor was ill-fitted to have any response to the storm and did no work to prepare for it. Yet all I hear on TV is Bush-this and Bush-that. I actually had a friend of mine tell me that they thought Bush wasn't helping the people in New Orleans because they were "A" - black and didn't vote for him, and "B" - it was a good excuse to hike oil prices so his Halliburton friends would profit. Ridiculous.

Me: The conditions are deplorable, that is to say the least. What they need to do is find a well suited compliment of armed men, take them into the heart of the city, and take it back, block by block. Shoot to kill, if they need to. The men who loot, the pirates who steal from the starving and suffering sick and weary, they are the real villains of this disaster. The President is nowhere near as culpable for the escalation of the disaster as they who shoot at the rescuers and pillage the remains of a dead city - and the men who failed to stop these devils.

Natalie: Well, I think that they just shouldn't rebuild the city. I was looking over the schematics of elevation, and nearly the whole city was built under sea level. Without those levees, the city is essentially a lake. Just let it be what nature wants it to be and build a city somewhere else. Call the new place "New" New Orleans, if you have to. Just put it somewhere else.

I was particularly shocked when Negro leaders spoke out on television - not in apology for the way New Orleans negros had acted during the tragedy - but in offense with claims of abuse & neglect towards "their people". This ignores the mugging, the rapes, the murders and the looting... performed mostly members of "their" community, as they define it. It is no secret I used to own slaves on my Monticello plantation. I once emphasized in documents detailing my research of the negros that I feared they would never forgive the white race for our transgressions. I fear this now is some evidence that today it is true. Some, like the kinds I saw speak up in the face of this tragedy, did not join America in a colorless society - they did not integrate. They instead segregated, further widening the racial divide. They kept their own negro faces to speak for their special interests. They went out into the free world, only to perpetuate the stereotypes they claim oppressed them so.

Leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, and this musician, Kayne West, have spoken out but not in disgust for the anarchy New Orleans citizens, who in this case were mostly black, have brought upon the city. Instead their disgust is at the white man, who they blame for the degenerate and desperate behavior. Firsthand reports from the Convention Center suggest that racial tensions are climaxing with black men taunting and often threatening white people, in one such case, white elders were being threatened with murder by young black men who said they did not deserve their seat on the busses to come rescue them. Blacks, in my knowledge of history from the history books, once fought for seats on buses as a sign of liberation. Now they fight for seats on buses as a sign of their own malcontent racism. Neither Kayne West nor Jesse Jackson were slaves, yet they spread this hatred amongst their "people". I can only hope the average black man can see through the facade, feel the same guilt a white man does for his ancestry, and stop thinking so much in terms of skin color, especially in times of crisis like this when it is not important.

I have been working myself to the bones trying to solve the situation with St. George Tucker and the Phi Beta Kappa organization. I am trying to discern the importance of all of this in history, to what extent does the ripple effect occur? This question is easy for me, knowing my own role in history. I know that I, Thomas Jefferson, was transported from my elderly years in 1826 to today, de-aged to the body of my youth and stuck nearly 200 years in the future. I also know that one of the researchers who invented the time machine, Dr. Julius Rothsbard, is missing, and that his partner - my friend Ludwig - has gotten only vague clues to his disappearance. These clues point us to another historical figure, St. George Tucker, although his role seems unrelated to my own. St. Tucker did attend my alma mater, the College of William & Mary. He was a part of some of the same groups I was. But how does me being transported out in 1826 affect his role in history? Ludwig does not know my role in this yet, but he may have to soon. I have spent months researching this in libraries to no avail.

It was as I pondered this much today that Daniel came forth with interesting news,

Daniel: Hey, Tommy-boy, so guess what?

Me: Uhm, what?

Daniel: I totally knew you'd say that. Anyways, so you remember those trips we made to find out that crazy stuff about that guy who is missing... Jules or whatever?

Me: Julius, but, yeah?

Daniel: Well, when we last left off, we were talking about the Phi Beta Kappa group. Right?

Me: Yes. Daniel, get to the point.

Daniel: Well, I was bored and doing random searches on Google. Then I remembered all that stuff we talked about! So, I got bored, entered a few search phrases, and found some stuff. You know, I know you like to read books at the library, but you should really try the internet next time you want to find out something.

Me: Daniel, that is great! What did you discover? I must tell Ludwig of this immediately!

Daniel: Well do you remember how you once told me the Illuminati are all nice and stuff? Well, I found out that this group, Phi Beta Kappa, and splinter groups, like the Skull and Bones, were once fronts for the Illuminati! Maybe they have something to do with Julius' disappearance? Maybe they abducted him or something! Crazy conspiracy stuff!

Me: Well... you know, Daniel, as much as I absolutely hate to admit you may be on to something, this does bear more investigation. Perhaps when you and I changed history, something affected St. George Tucker, which in turn changed the history affected his affiliations and ultimately, the ways of the modern-day Illuminati. Julius did say he was being followed, yet if this was the authorities, you think they would've kept a tighter lid on us than they have. It certainly doesn't sound absolutely crazy...

Daniel: I've been living with a real-live Founding Father for 2 years now, you're telling ME this doesn't sound crazy! I'm just letting you know. Go look on Google, Phi Beta Kappa, Skull and Bones, Illuminati, "conspiracy"... you'll have all the research you need.

As skeptical as I am, I think it is important we dig deeper. I will notify Ludwig soon of this situation, and I have decided: it is time he be informed that I am not who I represented myself to be, and show my hand in this. It's just a matter of how...

Yours, affectionately.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

First I would like to thank readers who have stuck it out with TeeJ since the beginning, today marks the end of year two of this blog. Things have been rough, updates sometimes sparse, but I keep trudging along and now the story is over 70% complete.

More rants about New Orleans cover race topics and who is to blame. For a crisis of epic proportions, it certainly fell apart quickly. I hate to say that I am not surprised. The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, didn't prepare for the hurricane. Evacuations went on in the city totally unsupervised, evidenced by the Convention Center crisis, where misdirected rescue efforts told people to gather at the Convention Center, then the Mayor forgot to tell anyone that anyone was actually there. It wasn't until Wednesday that they realized tens of thousands of people were gathered there, right in the middle of the beginning of the Astrodome evacuation. This left the Convention Center people stuck as buses rolled by, buses not intended for them. The mayor even showed favoritism in evacuating people near his own headquarters, in the stupidest way imaginable, by sending them to the Astrodome and putting them "first in line" to escape. Most of these people, rich tourists, were white. Most of the people in line were black. It exaggerated the racial tensions, yet the Mayor wasn't smart enough to deal with that. And unlike the President, you can't say the Mayor of New Orleans is racist - the Mayor of New Orleans is black.

The real racists of this situation are those who are exploiting the race card and condoning the bad behavior of the New Orleans gangs, muggers, rapists and looters to snipe for race-related special interests, but I already ranted about that in the article. Another thing that irritates me is the FEMA reaction to this crisis. They joined into the rescue efforts but they weren't organized with the local levels, they weren't organized with the state. Instead of blaming their own management or the lack of any form of chain of command, they use it as an excuse to beg for more Federal funds. The mobilization of the National Guard has helped stabilize the situation, and the military has mobilized to aid in the supply chain, and things are getting better. However, there is still a problem of gangs and violence, many of those tensions now also breaking down along race lines (with many stories of black crowds chastising white citizens), the guns after all are still not in control of the police. By the end of the week most people should be out of there.

The rescue effort was a mess, much of it a preventable mess, a human mess. It shows a failure of the government as well as a failure of society itself. Mississippi and Alabama is dealing with the crisis pro-actively, but the state of Louisiana and especially the leadership of New Orleans have let it collapse. Of course, the partisan complaints come, either mindlessly thanking the Bush administration for the relief they are bringing in, or criticizing him for not bringing it in sooner. Sometimes I wonder if people understand how our government is designed, or if they forget that states and localities are supposed to have the chain of command in place to deal with crisis situations themselves in the zero hour and the immediate aftermath? The answer of course is "no", because we don't have too many people, like our good ol' Thomas Jefferson, left to illustrate such points for us.

New Orleans, for nearly a week, has been Bedlam by the Bay (yes, a reference to the Batman story arc "No Man's Land", where Gotham city is ravaged by a natural disaster and descends into gang-ruled anarchy). Let us hope people smarten up and actually take the initiative on these rescue efforts to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible, so we can help put this national tragedy - a human tragedy - behind us as a lesson harshly learned.

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