Two paramedics conducting rescue operations in New Orleans report in both a LiveJournal entry and an article in the San Francisco Chronicle how they, with a group of 200 people lacking access to water, attempted to walk out of New Orleans across the Greater New Orleans Bridge, only to be blocked from leaving by armed sherrifs from the town of Gretna (on the other side of the bridge) who fired guns over the heads of the crowd and announced "that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans."
In an interview with United Press International, the chief of the Gretna Police Department confirmed that his police department had closed the bridge and that they had done so under specific orders to do so. He insisted that closing the bridge was "the right decision" because, "If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged."
kamigirl25 points out: "[On September 11th, I seem to] recall--and feel free to point out if I'm wrong on this--that NO ONE blamed the victims of Tower 2 for their own death. No one came forward and said, "What, were they STUPID? Flames and smoke were pouring out of their building and they didn't think they were in danger?" No one said anything remotely like that. We didn't focus on the fallibilities of the victims; instead, we focused on what went wrong with the PROCESS. We trusted the fact that if these people didn't know they were in danger then it wasn't because they were inherently stupid or ungrateful, that there must have been something wrong with the security, communications, or evacuation plans. We blamed everything BUT the victims. Why is that so hard to do in the case of Katrina?"
The Hurricane Katrina Timeline from thinkprogress.org does a really nice job of summing up exactly what all the politicians involved were doing during and after Hurricane Katrina, and when. Even though you probably technically already know what's on it, reading it in the format can definitely help clarify the implications.
If you need visuals to help you process the fact that hundreds and possibly thousands of people are dead, here are the photographs FEMA didn't want you to see.
And . . . the Pentagon is busy drafting a plan to give the president the power to order the U.S military to drop a nuclear bomb "to preempt an attack." Because apparently the mass homicide the president has already committed the last time he launched a "preemptive" attack was just not sufficiently catastrophic yet to make the Pentagon happy.