Essay on A Present Day Tale of Two Cities

Submitted By tarajeanius
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A Present-Day “Tale of Two Cities”
Tara Blomquist
South University

A Present-Day “Tale of Two Cities” Hate crimes after 9/11, and robberies and lootings after Hurricane Katrina threw the law enforcement officers for a loop. The chaos that ensued in the aftermath of these two tragedies was not foreseen, possibly because the focus was on the event itself at the time, meaning that nothing had been implemented to help ease or prevent the level of panic that caused many of the crimes. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, many officers did not seem to know what to do, resulting in commands to shoot looters on sight and without question (Crime Library, n.d.). After 9/11, anyone who appeared to be Middle Eastern was in danger of active discrimination and rejection (, 2010). Amongst the chaos of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the disorganization and unpreparedness of law enforcement agencies came to light just a little too late. The day before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in full force, the people had been officially warned to evacuate the area. The National Weather Service had even predicted that the area would be completely uninhabitable for at least a few weeks if not longer. Despite these warnings, many people attempted to board up their homes and wait out the storm. Moreover, about one fifth of the population in New Orleans did not have access to a car for evacuation purposes, and only about 15,000 out of more than 100,000 people were able to take refuge in the superdome before the doors were locked (, 2009). Once Katrina destroyed New Orleans, it took the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) several days to establish operations in the area, and they still lacked any sound plan of action (, 2009). As an “Emergency Management Agency,” one would think that they would have action plans ready for such events. Many towns are on the coast, and hurricanes happen frequently enough, that FEMA should have already had an action plan ready and available to people in these areas to ensure that things would be properly handled should a disaster strike. This lack of preparation caused panic in the victims who were not sufficiently prepared on an individual basis, and were lacking food, water, and shelter, causing these victims to resort to looting as a form of survival (Crime Library, n.d.). The number of crimes had risen so high, that the police became desperate to control the situation and were given the command to shoot any looters on sight, no questions asked. Apparently, the people panicked, and in turn, law enforcement panicked too, plunging New Orleans into a “near-anarchic” state (Crime Library, n.d.). In contrast, the 9/11 terrorist attacks were handled with a bit more poise. The situation was certainly not ideal, and hate crimes began to emerge with greater velocity, but the overall event was executed much more efficiently. Within five seconds of the first crash, Fire Department New York (FDNY) began responding, dispatching 235 firefighters, 21 engine companies, 9 ladder companies, 4 elite rescue teams, 2 elite squad companies, a hazmat team, and support staff (U.S Government, n.d.). Within one minute of being hit, a full evacuation had been announced for the North Tower. The New York Police Department (NYPD) immediately dispatched 22 lieutenants, 100 sergeants, 800 police officers, and 3 helicopters (U.S Government, n.d.). The workers in the South Tower were told to go back to work by the 911 dispatchers. No one thought another plane would be on its way, but seventeen minutes later, the unimaginable happened. A second plane crashed into the South Tower. Another 2,000 police officers were dispatched, as well as 23 more engine companies, 13 more ladder companies, and firefighters that were technically “off-duty” had come to join the ranks as well (U.S Government, n.d.). In…