Wednesday, September 21, 2005

There's Always Room

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, there were scores of heartbreaking stories, but one has haunted me. It's the story told by two San Francisco paramedics of their failed attempts to lead a group out of New Orleans in the days just after the hurricane. At first, the story had the feel of an urban legend - an unarmed group, turned back while trying to cross a bridge out of New Orleans into the neighboring city of Gretna by armed police, with the police shoot over their heads, other police taking their meager supply of water, and later, a police helicopter being used to disperse them from a highway where they had taken refuge. The story was so over the top it had to be made up - but it turned out to be true.

If you haven't read it before, take a moment and read the first person story by the two paramedics. You will shaken and moved. But the immediate response by the Gretna government has been even more amazing. Last week, the City Council passed a resolution praising the police chief for ordering his men to turn away people in need at gun point. Even more amazingly, that same police chief continues to give interviews!

It was one of those interviews that prompted an amazing post "There's Always Room" by Fred Clark at slacktivist. Fred's blog has been a real find for me, one of the few places on the blogosphere where I come close to sharing the same commitments and sensibilities as the writer. If you're reading me, you should be reading him. Go read it now.

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