Your Grrrs September 13, 2005

Your Grrrs ...

Troy from Virginia: Great column! My Grrr is for all the folks who believe everything they read or hear in the media. For the sake of sales, the media targets or biases stories to stay in business. You don't hear the good things in Iraq and you don't hear the good things in the Gulf Coast. Before you see something on the news and decide to write Mike and throw a tantrum, how about taking a moment and edjimacatin yourself on the issues before you jump on here and show your tail. Vanessa, you might want to do some research or at least read some of the other responses from last week's column. Get a clue before you absorb everything the press tells you as the authority. My Grrr extends to all the lambs out there who think the government owes them a living. Russia tried that, you know. How about a history lesson on the principles this country was founded on instead of more laws for the sake of political correctness that allows the minorities to rule? Come on, people, think for yourself instead of following some idiot celebrity who has no clue either.

Melissa in New Jersey: Who cares what Ward Churchill would say?!

Lindsay in Superior, Colo.: As a former University at Colorado/Boulder student, I was subjected to many pointless, boring and inaccurate Churchill articles/books/lectures. After wanting to vomit on or near him on more than one occasion, I have come to the only logical conclusion... he is a buffoon. Here's hoping that CU revises its tenure program and finds a faster, more streamlined way to terminate inflammatory, ill-meaning, fiction-peddling professors. Why do the students at the University of Colorado or any other school need to be subjected to "instructors'' who spew leftist, anti-American ideals, couching them in language like "the real truth," or "what the conservative textbook authors don't want you to know." I was truly the only student who spoke out in class against these ridiculous claims, and I honestly think my liberal department was glad to see me go.

Dave K. in Cyberspace: Dear Mike, Interesting piece. Now, I'm no fan of his, but it seems to me you didn't read what Ward Churchill had to say in his essay on 9/11.

Andrea in Cyberspace: You can imagine if it took a week to get survivors out who were willing to come out, it's going to be a big job to get law enforcement officers in flooded areas to get people who don't want to come out.

Jay on the "Highway To Hell": I have to say that most of the LLVs (Left-Lane Vigilantes) out there are ImporTants. It's always about them. I just drove from Louisville, Ky., to Columbus, Ohio, and I truly think that Ohio is the home and school of Left Lane Vigilantes. Where is this school? And to boot, how about those idiots that pull out from a side street in front of you because there was a gap. Doesn't matter that I have to jam on my brakes, does it?

Rose in Indiana: Grrr! to Oprah Winfrey and her self-absorbed TV show "Oprah." She and some "big stars" traveled down to the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast and New Orleans to let us know it is really bad. News to Oprah ... we have all been watching the news coverage of this terrible tragedy and the people who have been directly involved in it. We don't need Oprah, her gal pal Gayle and the "big stars" to tell us it is miserable and horrific.

Grateful in Mississippi: I have friends who lost everything but their lives and their spirit. Where are they on the news? Why do the media only interview the angry people in lines for gas or lines for food or lines for aid? I've been in a few of those lines. I understand the frustration of those who are waiting. It's frustrating to wait in the best situations. Many people who have no power do not realize the extent of the devastation. They know only what they're dealing with at that point in time. I promise if they interview a few people down that line they'll find those who are just glad to be alive and thankful that there's someone to help ... like The Red Cross, local churches, whomever — doesn't matter. I know that the military on my coast have been a Godsend, and there's many a Mississippian who will tell you that.

Michelle in Maryland: I work with some of the most generous people imaginable. My office, which is part of a major corporation, has 75 people working here. People who make a lot of money and people who don't. Our corporation had offices in New Orleans and Mississippi and 70 percent of those employees are now homeless. They will be taken care of because they work for a great company. They are the lucky ones. Our small branch office had a drive to collect clothing and essentials for our fellow employees. We collected over 1,000 pounds of clothing, and Fed Ex is coming today to pick up a conference room full of boxes. My branch manager is picking up the shipping costs. Yes, there are OBLIVIOTS here, but when push comes to shove even they come through. I am proud to be part of a company which in addition to contributing $3 million to the relief effort is concerned enough to help their own.

D.J. from Atlanta: A HUGE Grrr to all those fraudulent Internet charity sites trying to take money away from the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, as great of an outpouring of support as we've seen for these people who have lost everything, we are also seeing the worst of humankind with the looters, gangs, etc. on the streets of Biloxi, New Orleans and other cities. This is just one more step.

Mike on the Road: Grrr…..I own a RAM 2500 powered by a Cummins Turbo Diesel. That’s a ¾ ton pickup truck that I use to haul my 27-foot fifth-wheel trailer. The diesel engine is a beautiful thing. Running bobtail, I get 20 – 21 mpg on the interstate, no lie. Around town I average 17 mpg and towing I get 13.8 mpg. When I’m out on the interstate, I usually drive in the right-hand lane, with the speed control locked down on 2,000 rpm. That 62 mph and where I get the best mileage for the drive train. Why am I grrrrrring? It's because of the meatheads in their four-wheelers who zip along at 70, 80 or more mph going by my left window. They’re bitching about the price of gasoline, but they’re using a lot more than I am in my great, big, ugly pickup truck. Go figure.

Miss Gordy in Wichita, Kan., via Memphis via Katrina from Metairie, La.: Hi Mike, as a "displaced" "survivor" "refugee" from Louisiana, I would like to respond to some of your readers who have tried to make points about the race issue and the government response issue among others.

First, there is no race issue here. I was born and raised in the New Orleans area. Until last week I have never lived outside of Louisiana. Nor have I ever evacuated. We in south Louisiana were given plenty of advance warning and time to evacuate. They told us for three days to leave or be prepared to leave. There were numbers to call to ask for assistance and all the local and state government officials begged people to leave long before the Monday arrival of the hurricane. Many, many people did not leave. We have been evacuated so many times and come home the next day, many of them didn't see the real danger of this particular storm.

Many, many people died. Black people. White people. Hispanic people. Death doesn't care what race you are. The reason there is so much attention going to the race issue is because the media has covered primarily the situation in downtown New Orleans. I lived in Metairie, where there are more white people and there was almost NO coverage on my area or others like it. We have hundreds dead where I live too. St Bernard Parish, where so many lost everything, where they cannot even begin to count the dead yet, had a primarily white population. We all lost. I am a white, single mom with two kids. I lost everything. My dad lost everything. My fiancé lost 20 co-workers to the floodwaters.

Everyone out there needs to shut up and stop trying to sound superior and like they know it all when all they know is what they have seen on the news. The local governments did the best they could. Period. The federal government is going to come through for us, but yes, they were unprepared and slow in their response. There is no blame. This was a terrible natural disaster. The scope of the damage and death is like nothing ever seen before in this country. This is a bad B-Movie come to life. Consider it on the same level as the warnings that one day an earthquake is going to split California in half and drop it into the sea. Yes, it is a statistical improbability, but technically it could happen one day. Well, this was the way Gulf Coast residents felt about what just happened to us. It could happen one day. But, hey, aliens could land tomorrow too.

You can't possibly be prepared for the worst because it has never happened before, so there is no way to know what the worst will be. Why do we live in a city below sea level to begin with? We were born there. Our parents were born there. That is our home and our culture, just as yours is for you. I'd rather risk a hurricane every century than live in the snow. Or so I used to say. I am probably not going back as my fiancé is from here, and will settle here in the Midwest, but I will miss New Orleans every day for the rest of my life. I know this is too long to print, but had to say my piece.

Also, if you could, please send my thanks and the thanks of my family to all the cities around the country who are doing so much to help us. We spent a week in Memphis, and the people there were amazing. I have family and coworkers in Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, California, Tennessee and Alabama right now, and we have had nothing but welcome and help and warmth from the people and governments everywhere we are. The Days Inn at Gracelend was a true haven for may displaced Louisianians and took great care of us. I went to the Red Cross here in Wichita today and they gave us help for food and clothing and gas. Wonderful people, and we are so very appreciative. I would also like to pass a very special Thank You to the girls at the Build-A-Bear the East Mall here in Wichita for giving my kids each an animal from the collection they were taking for kids like mine. I had been holding it together pretty well until then, but their kindness brought forth the tears I have been trying so hard to hold back for the sake of the kids.

On behalf of everyone affected by this storm, to the rest of our wonderful country, please stop laying blame and making issues where there are none just to have something to talk about. If you want to help, pray for us. Donate something. Smile at someone who is causing you more traffic than you are used to on your way to work tomorrow, because they don't know their way around your city. Thanks Mike for letting me vent.

— Miss Gordy, you're very welcome. —Mike

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the biweekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on