But the stories are turning out to be lies. The New Orleans Times- Picayune said in an article Monday:
Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence. The piles of bodies never materialized, and soldiers, police officers and rescue personnel on the front lines say that although anarchy reigned at times and people suffered unimaginable indignities, most of the worst crimes reported at the time never happened.
Based on reports from Mayor Nagin and others, FEMA expected to have to deal with hundreds of bodies, the victims of unchecked gangs of armed thugs. What they found was very different.
After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA - Beron doesn't remember his name - came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.
"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying.
The real total was six, Beron said.
Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice.
So what happened?
Some claim it wasn't intentional. When you get 20,000 people crammed together under deplorable conditions, someone may say something. That something will get repeated and exaggerated until the end result is unrecognizable from the starting story. That may be true but that in no way explains why the MSM ran with the stories without verifying them.
This wasn't your typical rumor mongering. These reports of anarchy and death fueled liberal imaginations and supplied ammunition in their never-ending campaign to malign George W. Bush. The President's approval rating has suffered because of the federal response to Katrina and I think the media saw an opportunity to rub salt in the wounds. They took every opportunity to pile it on higher and deeper, so long as the President and the administration was taking the blame. Now, after the damage is done, Nagin is backpedaling on his comments about people having to sit and watch dead bodies. (Remember also Mayor Nagin's initial estimate of the death toll was 10000. To date I think the official NOLA count is less than 1000) Others are saying that they were merely repeating stories they heard. The MSM is claiming that lack of technology prevented them from checking facts. Funny how lack of technology didn't prevent them from getting the story out.
People who were on the front lines during Katrina dealing with the evacuees and maintaining the order are understandably upset. The media made Louisiana look like some God-forsaken third world lawless hellhole with rape gangs and armed thugs. The truth is that the situation wasn't nearly that bad. The people behaved themselves for the most part in situations that would test most of us. Situations we hope never to have to face.
As the Dome cleared out Sept. 3, Beron, the National Guard commander, fashioned a plan to deal with the dead. He knew of the six bodies in the freezer, but expected far more. He and an Ohio National Guard commander sent 450 Ohio troops to search every nook of the Dome, top to bottom. They told them to mark locations of bodies on a map of the Dome, to rope off suspected crime scenes, and leave a chemical light sticks next to each one so they could be retrieved later.My faith in humanity has been partially restored. My disgust at liberals and the media in particular has grown geometrically.
"I fully expected to find more bodies, both homicides and natural causes," he said.
They found nothing
Hat Tip: Baldilocks