Friday, September 02, 2005


Believing The Worst: How Rumor Becomes "Fact"

Oh, those horrible people! Firing gunshots at helicopters sent to help them! Um, except that this may never have happened. Scroll down a bit, and we find these paragraphs:

Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard said other evacuations were continuing and were not affected by trash fires burning outside the Superdome. Law enforcement officers will ride with the school buses, he said. "At the Superdome, we have a report that one shot was fired at a Chinook helicopter," Schneider said, adding that the Chinook is "an extremely large aircraft."
Translation: We may have been shot at, or it may have been nothing, or it may have been a rock thrown by someone who went nuts from having to sit in their own excrement next to a growing number of dead and dying bodies for five damned days without food or water in a humid place with temperatures that never go below 85 degrees at night. (As Atrios notes, Truman started the Berlin airlift the very next day after the Russians set up the blockade. If we could pull that off sixty years ago, why the hell couldn't we have done that last Monday?) And in any event, this is a Chinook helicopter we're talking about. Chinooks are built to withstand RPGs; nothing less is going to harm them. But wait, there's MORE!
Laura Brown, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Washington, said she had no such report. "We're controlling every single aircraft in that airspace and none of them reported being fired on," she said, adding that the FAA was in contact with the military as well as civilian aircraft.
In other words, it was probably just a rock, if anything. But that won't stop the racists for citing this story as a reason to just let the refugees rot.

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