Has Martial Law Been Declared in Tuscaloosa?

Has Martial Law been declared in Tuscaloosa?

One of the worst tornadoes in recorded history decimated Tuscaloosa last week. Though the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death and prompt burial at sea was a nice diversion from reality, the town (and much of Northern Alabama) is in bad shape.

The images of Tuscaloosa resemble a war-torn area in the Middle East devastated by cruise missiles. Classes at the University of Alabama have been suspended as students are being sent home and graduation will now transpire in August.

Why? The combustible mix of drunken college student meandering around a ruined city that already had a curfew in place to deal with its Black population – 29 percent of Tuscaloosa is Black – is a horrifying equation. Wait, Tuscaloosa already had a curfew?:
‘We have a very sound curfew ordinance based on practical experiences from other cities,’ Mayor Walt Maddox said. ‘Overall, I think we have a very effective tool that will help us reduce juvenile crime.’
The curfew applies to people younger than 18 with some exceptions. They will be forbidden to be in public places between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The curfew also covers Tuscaloosa city school system scheduled hours.
The curfew was recommended as part of the mayor’s Hope Initiative, an effort to improve impoverished and crime-ridden areas. City officials say a disproportionate amount of crime is committed by juveniles after 10 p.m.
The ordinance also prohibits parents from allowing their children to violate the curfew ordinance. And business owners can be fined for having minors on their premises during nighttime curfew hours.
This was in January of 2010. No tornado had hit the city; only a steady trickle of crime committed by “minors” prompted the city to enact curfews. We already know why that transpires in most communities.
After the tornado ravaged Tuscaloosa, Mayor Maddox instituted a curfew in a move to ward of looters and make the clean-up of the city an easier task. That curfew was extended, though for some reason The Tuscaloosa News has removed the May 1 story from its archives. A post on Reddit.com has declared that Tuscaloosa is under martial law, though The Birmingham News and Tuscaloosa News are reporting no such thing.
Thegrio.com reports that the areas hit hardest were predominately minority:

Take, for example, Alabama, which was hit the hardest by the storm. More than 1 in 6 people live in poverty, including 1 in 4 children, according to the Alabama Poverty Project. The state has the second largest income gap in the nation between the richest and the poorest. More than 40 percent of residents are high-school dropouts. And, it’s the second hungriest state in the nation.

Who exactly are we talking about? As the accompanying map shows, a number of the faces behind these statistics are African-American, a community that was already struggling to get by before the storm’s winds turned their lives upside down. The national unemployment rate for African-Americans is at 15.5 percent; in some areas, it’s near depression levels.

Our question is simply this: is the media covering up looting going on in Tuscaloosa? Is this why students were sent home, because their safety – the University is Alabama is overwhelmingly white and upper-middle class – cannot be guaranteed? Has Blackwater (XE) been called in as they were during Katrina (remember, they were not required in Japan after the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown)?
Thankfully a foreign news source is unafraid to report what American newspapers deem unimportant:
Looters are hampering attempts by ordinary residents to get their lives back on track in the tornado-ravaged city state of Alabama.
Police imposed an 8pm curfew in the areas affected and military police began patrolling the streets amid reports of burglaries in homes and stolen cars.
Those residents who chose to stayed behind were forced to mount a 24-hour guard to stop their belongings from being taken from their stricken houses.
The lootings cast a shadow over the otherwise positive response from community in Alabama, which was the worst affected by the tragedy.
Military sources confirmed that looting had been taking place but that it was ‘far less frequent than we expected’.
‘There are some people who are using this as a chance to take something for themselves,’ the source said.
Shirley Long, from Tuscaloosa, where 42 people died, was a victim of the scavengers.
She said: ‘The first night they took my jewellery, my watch, my guns.
‘They were out here again last night doing it again.’
Steve Smith 54, also from Tuscaloosa, said that a thief had tried to steal his car.
‘Somebody had a go at breaking the lock then broke in and took everything,’ he said.
‘A lot of my neighbours have gone but I’ve got nowhere to go. We are having to stay up and keep guard 24 hours a day to stop people coming and helping themselves.
‘A lot of the front doors were kicked off by rescuers so there’s nothing to stop thieves.’
So yes, we should all celebrate the death of Bin Laden and his quick burial at sea. Real American Heroes have been dying for nearly 10 years in a bid to bring this dude in, and, if initial reports are to be believed, Real American Heroes killed him.

We salute the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Whatever comes of the Bin Laden tale, the men and women of the armed forced never waver in their dedication to the mission.

But let’s get back to reality.

What is really going on in Tuscaloosa?


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