Saturday, September 08, 2007

When No One and Everyone Is To Blame

I don't know why exactly I was relieved to learn the Manganos were acquitted of negligent homicide charges, but I guess it has something to do with erring on the side of not ruining peoples' lives for no good reason. Until I read more about the case just before trial started, my impression from media reports and Foti was that these heartless people just left senior citizens in their nursing home to die. After finding out that the Manganos stayed at St. Rita's with their children and grandchildren through the storm, my whole view of them changed. Mabel Mangano can't swim. We all knew the storm would be bad. We were all equally shocked to find out just HOW bad. Katrina's surge and the levee failures ushered in horrors beyond what most of us were really capable of understanding before August 29, 2005.

On the other hand, I can't totally let them off the hook. Were they responsible for those people who drowned? Yes. Fourteen hundred+ people died, so alot of us made a lot of mistakes and wrong decisions. As one juror said: "Why were these two people singled out when so many people made so many mistakes?"

My views have nothing to do with whether the state or the parish officially called for mandatory evacuation or not, or whether the Corps is to blame for levee failure. I'm not happy or sad for the Manganos or for those who died and their families or for you and me, because this disaster and our actions during those tense, horrific days, like so much in life, can't be shoved into the black-or-white, right-vs.-wrong, guilty-or-innocent mentality that pervades our answer-seeking, justice-must-be-done culture. Many tragedies do not happen because people are greedy or evil or reckless but because tragedies happen. Shortsightedness, foolheartedness, and poor judgment are human nature; and they may be to blame, but do they a criminal make?

1 comment:

Clifton said...

The reason they walked away is the same reason the doctor at Baptist wasn't indicted or Ray Nagin got re-elected. Once the government didn't do what it took to protect or us or make us whole afterwards, no one is sending a local resident up the river.

Stay up brother...