September 12, 2005

I already counted 157 from my living room and I'm not even there...

And that's only the two nursing homes half-full of non-evacuees, the jumper, the freezer children, and the suicides.

I mean, I'm up to 157 already and that doesn't count a single dead guy, like the kind you find when you're sweeping up. The million man march got whittled down to 25K. Let's make sure the dead guy count, if we have to autopsy every damn alligator in the bayou, is right.

"Although body-recovery operations were still under way, the death toll represents the number of bodies that have been counted where the deaths were a result of Katrina's winds, rains or floodwaters, or those who died as a result of medical equipment that became inoperable during the hurricane."

I was in the media for 8 years and I know the sound of weasel words when I hear them. I want to make sure that these Dead Guys are counted, in their wheelchairs and their mother's arms, and on the buses and on the rooftops and in the back bedroom where their asthma got them if the water didn't. I want to make sure that each and every last one of them is counted.

I want their names written down on a big list, and read off on anniversaries and remembered as people who were loved and who loved and who struggled and lost that fight to Katrina and to time and to bureaucratic bungling.

And I want us all to remember that if we don't see those names, if we know about a Dead Guy whose story has not been told, we have to do just like the guy paid to bulldoze New Orleans trash. We have to tell the story. And if the authorities don't listen, we have to tell the media. And we have to give them a date and a place and a time and a story. And when they show up, we have to make sure that when the convoy of cars trying to clean up the mess they made arrives that we don't let it go unremarked. Not even one Dead Guy. Not in New Orleans. Not in Mississippi, not in Houston, not in Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. Not one.

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