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Read this before you look at the picture posted.
I have posted a picture that you may not want to see. The picture is of a dead body in the Ninth Ward (search) in New Orleans. I took it on Wednesday, Sept. 7. The picture respectfully does not show the face of the dead man. I debated whether to show it to you or not — and then decided to give you the option to look at it or not. If you want to see it, click on the tab. If you don't, do not. The news value of the picture is that it really depicts better than words of reporters the enormity of this tragedy. Seeing bodies floating certainly has been an ugly reminder to all of us in the media as we report the news from New Orleans (search). The fact that the body was lying there 10 plus days after the storm is also notable. Rescuers were scrambling to rescue the living and thus did not begin to collect the bodies. I understand and agree with this — first save the living so that we don't have more dead from delay in rescue. I am not posting more pictures of the dead — there is no need of multiple pictures. (I also could not see a point in taking more than one so I have no more.) This one picture of the body is enough.
I am debating whether to go back to New Orleans this week. It is difficult not to go back since we all have an irresistible impulse to want to help the people who are suffering so much. At the same time, I am not sure what my presence now adds to the reporting or helps those who suffer. I don't want to go simply to give a backdrop to our show. Going there early on to New Orleans did give me an eyeful — and I hope etched in my memory permanently the suffering and damage so that I don't forget those who suffer. We should all worry that we get "disaster fatigue" — since that stops the flow of help. Help is still much and desperately needed. I will make a decision today whether to go back this week. I may hold off a week to give it more time to let things "change" there so that when I do go back I can "measure" any change and report it to you.
In Friday's blog I posted pictures of the Military Police rescue from a roof of a puppy. We showed the video on our show Thursday night. I have received many e-mails asking me what happened to the pup. I wanted to "adopt" her but the M.P. who saved her (her hero), did so. Of course he should have the opportunity ahead of me. She is a wonderful dog and I am sure the M.P. will have many great years with her as his family pet.
Some random e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
You know, I've been dealing with the evacuees all week. Some came up before the storm... but after staying in a hotel and eating out for two weeks, they're broke. Others came up after the storm when the floodwaters forced them out. What I'd like to say is this. Why should people leave their homes? Who is going to take care of them? The shelters are full... there are no more cots to sleep on... or mattresses to donate. I haven't seen the feds at all. WE are taking care of them not the government/the churches, the businesses or single moms who live paycheck to paycheck... like me. I have given until I have nothing left. I had to call all the way to North Caroline to find beds for people. And then pay the freight myself. There are no magic Visa cards... there are no food stamps. Even if you had a car and money... there is no gas. Where is the government? I don't know... I haven't seen them. Laura Bush (search) was on my street just yesterday. She didn't give anybody any money. She just wanted to be in the spotlight. BTW... I am or was a Republican. SO why should people leave their homes? Is good old Uncle Sam going to take care of them? No... it's the good old ordinary citizens of this country. The folks in New York and Washington can sit around and point fingers and name names... meanwhile, I'll keep feeding and clothing all I can. I make $5.50 an hour. And get paid again on Friday. Can't wait to give some more. Y'all fight it out and when you decide whose to blame, don't bother telling me —it doesn't matter. There's a 76-year-old lady sleeping on the floor tonight and I promised I'd find her a mattress.
E-mail No. 2
You were wrong when you said that when celebrities show up for tragedies, it shows that they care. (Maybe that's not an actual quote, but you basically said that the night you were talking to Hilary Clinton.) All it shows is that they want publicity. If I had just lost everything, I sincerely doubt if a hug or a handshake from a star would make me feel any better. Julia Roberts, Jaime Foxx (search) and Jada Pinkett-Smith should have stayed home and donated their first class plane fare to the victims. Sean Penn (search) made a difference, I saw Harry Connick Jr. give someone the shirt off his back. Lisa Marie Presley and Faith Hill sent semi trucks full of supplies, and John Grisham and Celine Dion donated millions.
A reverend from Texas was on "Hannity & Colmes" Friday night, he said that if celebs want to show up, they should come and change some diapers, he said he didn't want anyone to show up for a photo op. I say "Amen to that!"
ANSWER: I am hoping celebrities do both — show up and thereby tell the suffering people they matter AND give. Many celebrities give MORE when they see in person the pain and suffering. Many celebrities give quietly. But, I agree... showing up is not the most important right now. Giving is. But if the showing up promotes more help, that is good.
E-mail No. 3
I know Katrina is number one in the news but I feel someone should have stayed on the Natalee Holloway case, after all the public was following and this was one of the most watched news in America for months. Please don't let that family down... we need to boycott Aruba.
E-mail No. 4
We can thank the media for all of the achievements:
1. Causing a political hate movement of blame.
2. Showing the worst of the worst cases only, giving people despair and hopelessness.
3. Carrying various erroneous comments on thousands of dead bodies because it was HOT news.
4. Causing race hatred for no reason.
5. Giving residents a view of complete disaster with NO hope of survival, physiologically damaging them mentally.
However, regardless of the MEDIA, New Orleans will come back fully and better. With no media input, the city would have come back in half the time it will actually take due to the ridiculous influx of media propaganda.
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