Saturday, September 03, 2005

Desperate Times call for desperate measures

And these people are desperate. More than 50,000 people were stranded in New Orleans and since the Calvary arrived (and Georgie Come Lately gave the city an air kiss) on Friday, about 25,000 have been evacuated. That leaves more than 25,000 still stranded and left to their own devices.
Thousands from the Superdome were taken to Texas on air-conditioned buses, but early Saturday the operation was halted - with 2,000 in the stadium alone still to be evacuated five days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

At the New Orleans Convention Center, where as many as 20,000 people have gathered since the storm, Jennifer Washington was among the frustrated evacuees who spent another morning waiting for buses to come. `

`At first they said 6:30 this morning, then they said 9, but there are no buses. They promised us buses,'' said Washington, 25, who has four children but lost them in the storm. [Guardian Unlimited]
Bush addressed the issue of how the devastation of Hurricane Katrina should be handled during a post-hootenanny appearance on GMA, Caesar Nero Bushus Minimus asked private citizens and companies to cough up some cash to help the victims oil companies out and, later, spoke poignantly about what the Gulf-Coast Refugees need (ice, generators and blankets) and reassured us that everything would work out in the end. The Bushevicks then focused on more urgent matters.

In the interim, one 18-year old took matters in his own hands.
On Thursday while still waiting for assistance, Jabbor Gibson found an abandoned school bus, packed about 100 stranded victims on board and drove them to safety at the Houston Astrodome which was expecting refugees from the disaster. From Steve Gillard via Amanda
HOUSTON -- Thousands of refugees of Hurricane Katrina were transported to the Astrodome in Houston this week. In an extreme act of looting, one group actually stole a bus to escape ravaged areas in Louisiana.

About 100 people packed into the stolen bus. They were the first to enter the Houston Astrodome, but they weren't exactly welcomed.

The big yellow school bus wasn't expected or approved to pass through the stadium's gates. Randy Nathan, who was on the bus, said they were desperate to get out of town.

"If it werent for him right there," he said, "we'd still be in New Orleans underwater. He got the bus for us."

Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control.

"I just took the bus and drove all the way hours straight,' Gibson admitted. "I hadn't ever drove a bus."...

Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome.

But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus.

"I dont care if I get blamed for it ," Gibson said, "as long as I saved my people."

Sixty legally chartered buses were expected to arrive in Houston throughout the night. Thousands of people will be calling the Astrodome "home," at least for now.

This is not grand-theft auto. The kid didn't take the bus for a joy-ride, he took an abandoned bus (that won't be needed to take kids to school anytime soon) to transport stranded hurricane victims to safety at a designated shelter. He didn't commit a crime, he did FEMA a favor (even the Freepi know it). This is one person I would be glad to see profit from a made-for-TV movie about his hurricane survival story.

Just remember, if you consider what this kid did as looting that should be punished (instead of the act of heroism it is), you best pray you are never stranded in an area endangered by a significant disaster (natural or man-made) without your own functional vehicle and a full tank of gas - that is, unless you're capable of walking and carrying your family to safety.

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