This soup's too cold. No, too hot.

by Russ Roberts on September 7, 2005

in Property Rights

First, the government wasn’t doing enough.  Well, they’ll show us  From the New York Times (rr):

After days of pleading with resident to leave this partly destroyed
city, local officials said today that they would begin forced
evacuations of all residents, including people living in dry and
undamaged homes.

Get them all out.  Every one of them.  Then I guess they’ll clean up the city and invite people to come back to some or all of it, depending on how it turns out.  No half-measures, now.  No, we’re in charge, says the mayor, the governor, the President.  Action, that’s what counts.

As many as 10,000 people remain in the city, and some residents
said they would not comply with official orders to leave their homes -
which could produce ugly confrontations with police officers or
soldiers, who have been called in to bolster security.

But city
officials said the risk of fire and disease had left them with no
choice but to use force, if necessary, to evacuate anyone who resisted
leaving. Police officials did not give a timetable for the forced
evacuations, but said Louisiana law gives Mayor C. Ray Nagin the authority to declare martial law and order the evacuation.

Fire and disease?  Perhaps.  But clearly after the fiasco of inaction, the government wants to make sure that no one gets hurt or dies in New Orleans.  The sure way to achieve that is to make it people-free.  Should people have a right to stay in their homes?  Should the word "their" be put in quotes in the previous sentence or in the first sentence of this next paragraph?

"It’s a very tough decision to force an American out of their home,"
the chief of disaster relief for the Louisiana Office of Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness, Arthur G. Jones, said. "We’re
there to help them, not hurt them."

Phew.  Or maybe it’s just a ruse:

"We may have to force people out to save their lives, if we get to that
point," Mr. Compass, the police superintendent, said. "I’m using this
as a tactic to scare people into leaving."

At least he’s honest.  The last word goes to one Victor Mejia:

At Lee Circle, Victor Mejia, 58, a janitor, stood in the shade on
Tuesday and said that he had no intention of leaving. "I live here," he
said. "Where am I going to go?"

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