Reader Cafi posted a link to this item in a story comment, but I thought it merited a bit more attention, if only to have it, I hope, debunked. Have a look at I just got back from a FEMA Detainment Camp.
[See update below: whether this account was true or false, the camp is now “on standby status” and doesn’t actually have the 3,000 persons who were anticipated.]
I know nothing about the web site hosting this story, although a cursory look at the front page makes it look pretty seriously crazy. And I know nothing about the poster. So I am not going to take this on faith. (There is, though, a Baptist camp in Falls Creek, OK, and it is hosting Katrina victims. Although the Red Cross is helping FEMA so they are not operating alone.)
The troubling thing, though, is that given what we know about FEMA to date, can one confidently dismiss this account as a fraud without counter-evidence? It’s not as easy as I’d like (in other words, if it’s a fraud, it plays well to our fears). It is insufficiently implausible that FEMA is isolating and disempowering the victims of Katrina, subjecting them to a regime of no practical way to have contact with the outside world, no cooking, no gifts, two communal meals a day, and armed guards all around. And no leaving the camp, either. But not even allowing in itinerant preachers? In a camp owned by the Baptist church? That’s very hard to believe.
Could it really be that our government has in effect decided to enforce what amounts to the worst form of communism on the new lumpenproletariat?
I so much want to believe that our country is better than this. And I do. Just not quite as strongly as I’d like to.
Anyone live near Falls Creek, Oklahoma?
UPDATE: I am somewhat reassured by this news item in the Pryor Creek Daily Times:
OKLAHOMA CITY – After anticipating the arrival of 3,000 survivors from Hurricane Katrina for more than two days, volunteers and government agencies were given the word late Tuesday that the status of operations at Falls Creek was put on standby.
Major Mike Grime, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, announced to nearly 400 volunteers and state personnel that the decision had been made by the Governor and other state officials to scale back operations at Falls Creek.
“The good news is that it appears those who needed our help have been taken care of for now,” Grimes explained. “We will scale back to a skeleton crew for now, but none of our facilities will be compromised. There will be troopers present 24 hours a day at Falls Creek as we evaluate the need on a 12, 24, 36 and 48 hour basis. Falls Creek has been and will continue to be ready within a 10 to 12 hour window in the event that the conference facility is still needed.” While disappointment was evident on the faces of many, appreciation for the Falls Creek operation was recognized with a round of applause.