these people are being treated like vermin

A body floats outside the Superdome in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. [Los Angeles Times caption dated Friday]

How rich and white do you have to be to get the attention of your government?

These people are being treated like animals, and I'm not thinking of dog and cat animals. I mean rat animals! Where is the outrage? Where is the accountability? When do we start indicting?

This is an excerpt from a Reuters story posted earlier today, on the sixth day of the disaster in New Orleans:

As dusk fell on Friday evening, a woman's bloated and brutally distorted figure lay prostrate on the corner of Jackson Avenue and Magazine Street in a poor neighborhood.

The black woman lay, arms flaccid, feet splayed, one shoe gone, her face distended from swelling and her chest swollen as gas filled her decaying corpse. Someone had covered her body in a plaid blanket in an anonymous gift offering some dignity.

A woman across the street shouted at photographers taking pictures of her, "She's been there for five days, since Monday." Then she approached to beg for bottled water, or anything at all that might help.

A convoy of five sport utility vehicles passed by, each packed with police training rifles with laser sights on the scant few residents out walking. They sped past the corpse without taking any notice.

If the police have been able to get there to protect property and search the victims who still survive, and if the media can get there to write about what's going on and to take pictures, why are these people still suffering and dying, and why are there bodies rotting in the midst of all this, on both dry land and flooded streets?

[image by James Nielsen from AFP/Getty Images via the Los Angeles Times]