A letter in today’s Bloomington Herald-Times:

Stop funds to New Orleans

To the editor:

The mayor of New Orleans will have to wait until the 22nd or 23rd century to reconstruct his city. If he expects his constituency to clean up the mess and rebuild their city, it may take a century or two to get the job done.

I have watched the continuous media coverage of the disaster and its aftermath. So-called victims show off their free new apartments and trailers, their new furniture and new possessions. They talk about all the help they have received from all around the country. Some are appreciative of the help, most are not. In none of the interviews, do they talk about their new jobs or their newly established self-sufficiency. Work does not seem to be part of their vocabularies. The politicians in that part of the country seem to think that they have a blank check from the U.S. Treasury to do with as they please.

It is time for a reality check. New Orleans was a stinking cesspool before Hurricane Katrina. It will remain so, no matter how much money the federal government or private charities spend on reconstruction. We should withhold all funds until we see if the locals do anything to help themselves.

David E. Carson, Bloomington

This is so wrong on so many levels that I hardly know what to say. But I think it’s important not to dismiss people like Mr. Carson out of hand, no matter how wrong he may be, no matter if he’s in an extreme minority. Instead, I think we should learn from stuff like this. We have an image problem. This is the mindset we’re up against.

  1. Bloomington, a town of diversity, biggotry, and god knows what else?!?

    I read that this morning myself and couldn’t believe they actually printed it. You do make a good point though, it is good to hear the opinions of anyone. No matter how good or bad, it makes a statement.

  2. I think Magic makes a great point. I am not so surprised that this ignorant person wrote the letter, but I am a bit surprised that the paper printed it. That is of great concern. I heard more comments along these lines early on after the storm (up here in Atlanta), but, whether because anyone who was likely to say such things by now knows not to say them to me, or if the perception has changed, I do not know. I do suspect that this attitude is rooted in racial prejudice. JMHO.

  3. What’s interesting about this, to me at least, is that while in Btown a couple weeks ago, aside from what little was on the national news, there wasn’t squat mentioned about Nola on TeeeeVeeee. I read the Btown paper every day online and there ain’t squat about Nola there, either. So, seems to me that this isn’t about what this guy’s seeing in the media, it’s about this guy not liking Nola.

    So, hey, get off yer lazy welfare ass and get to work!

  4. My dad has said stuff like that, because he believe New Orleans gov’t is corrupt and would waste the money, and because NO was built below sea level. But, Buffalo has gotten federal assistance after several large storms. How would he like it if people said, “You chose to live in Buffalo even thought it’s snowy, so why should WE pay to dig you out?”

  5. The H-T editorial pages are nothing if not entertaining. I’m still partial to the debate over the inerrancy of the Bible a few years back. One fellow wrote in to say that the Bible needs no translation, so someone else wrote in to say that he was happy fellow #1 could read ancient Greek and Latin, but he rather liked having the Bible translated into English.

    I’m surprised that this letter appeared at all – Katina truly (and sadly) seems to have fallen out of the national mind-set, as witness the SOTU speech.

  6. There’s been a lot of questionable letters to the editor and Op Ed pieces here in Baltimore as well. I think that papers around the country just want to print things that will encite people to react because papers have nothing else going for them.

    I don’t think I agree that letters like this need to be responded to…I don’t know, I go back and forth. When you respond you lend it legitimacy, like it’s worth responding to, and it really isn’t.

    It’s like responding to spam.

  7. This letter really upset me. I sent the following to the H-T:

    In response to David Carson’s letter to the editor.

    It would be my pleasure to drive Mr. Carson and any others sharing his ‘viewpoint’ on a trip through a few of New Orleans’ once beautiful, now devastated, middle-class neighborhoods. Lakeview, Broadmoor, Metairie and Gentilly come to my mind only because these sections of town reflect a lifestyle I assume Mr. Carson would approve of.

    He would certainly understand more clearly the scope of the catastrophe at hand. The neighborhoods – each one the size of downtown Bloomington, gone. Schools, playgrounds, shopping centers – vacant.

    New Orleanians are not the ‘work does not seem to be part of their vocabulary’ people portrayed in his letter. He may be dismayed to learn that they too have families, pay taxes, go grocery shopping. In fact, in every way they’re almost exactly like Bloomingtonians.

    As much as American’s continually enjoy portraying New Orleans’ as a corrupt, crime-ridden, backwards, ‘cesspool’, the fact is it’s not much different than any other American city. Ask yourself Mr. Carson, if a natural disaster of this scale hit say Cincinnatti, would things really be any different?

    These are ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances. Please spare them some empathy.

  8. I decided to Google the terms “David E. Carson” & Bloomington. Here’s some other stuff he wrote.

    “IU’s Chancellor and the university’s designated homosexual person in charge do not have the authority to control free speech…. We are not required to celebrate diversity. We are not obligated to prostrate ourselves before icons of Martin Luther King or any other designated idol of the so-called civil rights movement.”

    So I think you’re right: he’s got issues.

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