Nothing says, "I don't trust the NOPD" quite like military patrols.
Hizzoner, the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin has requested Louisiana National Guard troops to patrol the Crescent City. His partner, The Right Honourable Governor Kathleen Blanco, was only too eager to supply soldiers.
Can Nagin do anything without begging for State or Federal help? Honestly, why does New Orleans even have a mayor?
Several things about this little blip in the soap opera that is post-Katrina New Orleans concern me -- not the least of which is the fact that the last place the LA Nat'l Guard patrolled was downtown Baghdad -- but I am particularly disturbed by the precedent this sets.
Traditionally, the Governor of a State activates the National Guard for disasters. Multiple city, multiple county, multiple jurisdiction incidents. Tornados starting in the South-west corner of the Panhandle and finishing in the North-east corner. Hurricanes that smash an entire coast. Blizzards covering a couple of States. Biblical-type stuff.
To activate a National Guard unit for one city of maybe 200,000 ... what the hell? Doesn't New Orleans sit in one or more counties? Or is it parishes? New Orleans doesn't have a parish Sheriff's Office they could have gotten help from? Mutual aid agreements with surrounding communities?
No, they had to call out troops.
The death of anyone is not a thing to be taken lightly, but are the deaths of several people who were most probably involved in the local distribution of recreational pharmaceuticals really worth the deployment of 300 soldiers?
Washington DC, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities see multiple homicides -- since we're doing it in New Orleans, should we go ahead and start deploying troops in these other cities?
Now, I freely admit that I'm not in New Orleans. It is entirely possible that, from my limited and admittedly biased viewpoint, I am missing something.
However, it is my firmly-held belief that Citizens of the United Staets, on United States soil, should never be policed by military troops unless and until things have gone completely and totally rodeo.
Five subjects getting canked over a dispute concerning Narcotics, Trade of ... does not seem to me to pass the smell test for things going completely and totally rodeo -- especially with the stated 1,375 civilian peace officers for a city that apparently numbers somewhere around 200,000.
As a comparison, Amarillo, Texas has a population of between 180,000 and 230,000 (depending on whose numbers you're looking at) and a police force of a little over 300.
Arlington, TX pop: 360,000. PD of 730.
Garland, TX pop: 217,000. PD: 390
Lubbock, TX pop: 200,000. PD: 400.
New Orleans, LA. Population, about 200,000. PD: 1,375.
Plus 300 National Guard troops. And 60 Louisiana State Police.
Granted, none of the above cities in Texas have gone through a hurricane (Beaumont, pop: 114,000. PD: 303 Hurricane: Rita) -- but Lord have mercy, 3X - 4X the number of officers for a similarly-sized Texas city and they still can't get a grip on things?
What the hell, over?