June 20, 2008

Iowa reminds NYT of New Orleans

A curious headline on a New York Times article bylined "Iowa City:"

For Bush, a New Town, a New Disaster, but Always the Memory of New Orleans

Mass outbreaks in Iowa of looting, rape, cops fleeing, and even cops looting? Who knew?

Poking around on Google News for 15 minutes, though, I have found some stories like this:

WATERLOO, Iowa - Two Waterloo teenagers have been accused of looting at some apartments that were evacuated because of flooding.

Authorities say police, acting on a tip about a suspicious noise, found Darryel Schwarz Jr. and Erin Schmidt, both 17, in the lobby of the apartment building early Monday.

So, it's clearly exactly the same as New Orleans in 2005.

By the way, Dennis Mangan has an email from a reader from Cedar Rapids comparing the two cultures' responses to flooding.

Audacious Epigone wonders whether there will be another flood in New Orleans when all the water gets there down the Mississippi.

Beats me. One thing to keep in mind is that the population of New Orleans has changed substantially since 2005. The population is way down. When I spent a couple of days in New Orleans in 2007, almost all of it in the wealthy old above-sea level parts, most of the people I saw looked like they had trust funds.

Indeed, New Orleans is turning into a college town, with Tulane and a few other colleges now accounting for a sizable fraction of the population. The Tulane campus police are now authorized to patrol for a mile off campus. Tulane students have organized their own ambulance service to take sick members of the Tulane community to the Tulane Medical Center downtown.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iowa vs. New Orleans: birds fly, fish swim. Surprise surprise.

Anonymous said...

I wonder about St. Louis, myself. IT has some similarities with pre-Katrina New Orleans, and a high crime rate. For a bonus, there is a lot of racial tension.

Planetary Archon Mouse

Anonymous said...

Having worked in the MSM in the past, I can almost imagine the anguish in the newsrooms. "Hell with the disaster. Find me White looters, quick!"

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget North Dakota. They had an enormous flood some years ago. And, AFAIK, they acted very North Dakotan.

Anonymous said...

In fairness, there were differences in population density, road grids, terrain and weather - New Orleans is crowded, a kind of peninsula and there were hurricane force winds, whereas the people in Iowa can evacuate in a broad front without bottlenecking, in reasonably good weather, and more of them have their own cars.

Unknown said...

The fact of the matter is that we will NEVER admit the truth in public, where the children might hear. This society will die before it admits the truth. It will die because it can't.

Anonymous said...

College town, are you kidding me Steve? HAHAHAHA! I lived in New Orleans. Nagin will never let Chocolate City change to a college town. Slowly, all the thugs are filtering back to New Orleans.

I knew (slightly) some people in the DA's office. Blacks will not convict (before or after Katrina) other blacks of any crime, even victimizing blacks only. It's a lawless, Wild West place and will remain for a long, long time. Not enough will and power to crush crime for desirable real estate.

Unknown said...

They had an enormous flood some years ago. And, AFAIK, they acted very North Dakotan."

Check out the Salt Lake City flood of 1983. The NYC blackout in 1965....the list goes on. (To be fair, in the NYC blackout of 2005 people acted pretty civilized.)

Anonymous said...

"n fairness, there were differences in population density, road grids, terrain and weather - New Orleans is crowded"

yeah, yeah, we know. But we also know that if you had put the Iowans in New Orleans, they would still have acted like Iowans.
These aren't the only two floods/disasters we've had. There are many examples to check out behavior of the victims.

Anonymous said...

Too bad no one mentioned the crime wave in Houston caused by the "refugees" from New Orleans. Absolute anarchy on the streets. Well, not really; Houston already was a sanctuary city.

So, combine sanctuary city status together with the refugees, and you have anarchy on steroids. http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2006-01-04ng.html

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember, shortly after Katrina, reading in the papers that the initial reports of lawlessness in New Orleans had been overblown, and that in general people had been fairly well behaved. Was this reported wrong? Am I remembering it wrong?

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
"I seem to remember, shortly after Katrina, reading in the papers that the initial reports of lawlessness in New Orleans had been overblown, and that in general people had been fairly well behaved. Was this reported wrong? Am I remembering it wrong?"

I read that too, and then I heard from people who were there that, if anything, the situation was worse than reported. As in many, many looters shot, killed, washed away, and ground up by the giant pumps. I don't know, but it's obviously in the interest of the government to minimize the anarchy for economic-recovery reasons, the media for pc reasons, and the police and armed citizens for "shoot, shovel, and shut up" reasons.

Anonymous said...

I also heard, from a friend with relatives in NO, that the stories she'd heard from them were more like the original media stories than like the later ones.

My impression is that the MSM pretty much just credulously reported whatever they were told. So, when the story being mouthed by anyone who'd talk to them was "send help, the thugs have taken control and are looting and terrorizing," that's what they reported. Later, when the official story coalesced to "those were all dirty slanderous rumors, there were no thugs," that's what they reported. (If this sounds just like coverage of Iraq, you're catching on.)

Anyone else who was there want to pipe in? What documentation is there of what happened?

An interesting question is, what kind of quant cranking of numbers could be done, here, to reveal the truth? For example, it ought not to be too hard to get reasonable estimates for how many people were in the superdome, how many were left in NO, how many police stuck around and how many fled, etc.

Has anyone done follow-up interviews with the survivors, to just ask them what they saw and heard?

jack strocchi said...

Anonymous 6/20/2008 said ...

In fairness, there were differences in population density, road grids, terrain and weather - New Orleans is crowded, a kind of peninsula and there were hurricane force winds, whereas the people in Iowa can evacuate in a broad front without bottlenecking, in reasonably good weather, and more of them have their own cars. I agree. If you want to explain why Katrina devastated New Orleans Black community you would be better off focusing on class rather than race.

Most of the time I think Steve Sailer is right to focus on biological identification as a predictor of sociological stratification. But its probably not a good idea to use New Orleans Katrina as a case study in this effect. "Hard cases make bad law", as they say in law school.

And I think he was a little harsh on African-American citizens behavior in the aftermath of New Orleans. It many cases it might be true to say that:

The plain fact is that [African-Americans] tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society. But I dont think that African-American's race was the key risk factor in the case of Katrina. Anyone put into the shoes of African-Americans during the New Orleans disaster would have had trouble.

THis is because the storm hurt people of lower class, independent of race. The risk-factors for victimization by the Katrina disaster (poverty, car-lessness, low-lying residence) were far higher for Blacks than Whites because aveage Blacks were much poorer than average Whites.

The most relevant indice of class in this context was car ownership. The NYT reports that black people were more than twice as likely to be car-less as whites:

But the divides in the city were evident in things as simple as access to a car. The 35 percent of black households that didn't have one, compared with just 15 percent among whites.

"The evacuation plan was really based on people driving out," said Craig E. Colten, a geologist at Louisiana State University and an expert on the city's vulnerable topography. "They didn't have buses. They didn't have trains."

As if to punctuate the divide, the water especially devastated the Ninth Ward, among city's poorest and lowest lying.
This graph breaks down the figures a little more. As of 2000 New Orleans total popn was 468,453. Broken down by binary races:

- Whites = 124,608 (11% in poverty = 13,708 pers or 7,636 hh)

- Blacks = 314,486 (35% in poverty = 109,960 pers or 37,216 hh)

[poverty = hhi less than $18,0000 pa]

In NO there were almost three times as many Blacks as Whites. Blacks were more than three times as likely to be in poverty as Whites. Thus in NO, the total Black population in poverty was nearly nine times the size of the total White population in poverty.

Moreover, Black hh were nearly twice as likely to be car-less as White hh:

- Black poor hh car-less = 21,787/37,216 = 58%.

- White poor hh car-less = 2,606/7,636 = 34%.

Finally, Katrina hit low-lying, largely black, neigbourhoods worse than higher-lying, largely white, neigbourhoods. SO this meant that the typical Black resident of NO was far more likely to be a victim of this disaster.

In short, Katrina discriminated against poor, car-less, literally "low-life" people who mostly happened to be Black. Which would have exacerbated the Black-selection effect that, I think, threw Sailer's analysis off.

Sailer made an analytical error, based on superficially plausible selection effects, in suggesting that race was the most accurate predictor of the social pathologies associated with Katrina's aftermath.

Since Sailer's multitudes of critics tend to rest their case by pointing and spluttering after quoting his New Orleans judgement. So it would probably be in his best interest to "re-visit" the issue, as they say in the manual.