If one out of every one hundred people that were displaced by hurricane Katrina are ass hats, that means that there are well over 1,000 ass hats we're trying to help. A ratio of 1 out of every 100 means at least $2 million was wasted. Go here to read more. Remember what I said about Girls Gone Wild being one of the few notable things that New Orleans is good for? Apparently some (okay a very few) of the displaced citizens are so addicted to the welfare state that they believe any money they get is “free money” that is to be thrown away on luxury items, strippers, and other "bare necessities" (no pun intended).
Now, I don't think that the very few bad eggs represent the entire displaced population. Even in my company, we had a few men who either went AWOL or feigned a mental illness or otherwise took the coward's way out and didn't deploy with us. Luckily, I've gotten most of the ones who deserted to avoid deployment thrown in prison (that's right, a Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.) (The others are still awaiting trial). Those few did not represent my company; rather, they were a filthy tumor that was expurgated before we deployed. Likewise, those few who are abusing the generosity and charity of others do not represent the majority of people who are receiving aid.
Of course, the President will be blamed for this abuse, by people saying there weren't enough checks and balances in the system. They're probably the same people that said that all the bureaucracy was too slow in getting relief to the displaced people (are we allowed to call them refugees yet?) Granted, I can't imagine many feelings worse than having hungry children and not having a dime in your pocket to pay for food; and all the matériel support in the world won't give you the feeling that you are able to provide for your own.
I have received (and given to) charity, I've receive help and support from many hundreds of people while I am recovering. My family also received the same kind and generous support from wonderful people and organizations, far too many to name here. I wouldn't dare to group them in the same post as these ass clowns.
Not one dime of the money we received was wasted. Of course, Carren and I were both adamant about “needs” versus “wants” when we asked for things. The laptop I asked for when I was hospitalized was definitely a "want." The software that I am using right now to post this was a “want.” People graciously gave of their hearts to fill our wants and our needs. And they continue to do so and for that I am unfathomably grateful. While still hospitalized, a person I've never met contacted me about setting up a program to do the same thing for other soldiers that charities did for me. Although I was unable to help with setting up the project, I was able to assist in overcoming some hurdles that the project faced. You can read more about that project at project valour-IT.
Believe it or not, when I first arrived at Walter Reed, I was met by a man who asked me if there was anything, anything at all that he could get me. Anything that I needed. After a harrowing 80-some hour journey from a drainage/sewage canal to one of the best medical facilities in the country (with a pit stop in Germany). My reply: "Birch beer. Could you please get me some birch beer? Not the red kind, but the clear kind." I was completely out of my mind on narcotics... narcotics that were barely covering the amount of pain that I was in. I remembered birch beer for my childhood; it's still my favorite soft drink. And through that haze, the fog that completely shrouded my conscious thought, I asked for something I remembered from when I was a kid. The man had never even heard of birch beer, but he kept me in his thoughts and a few weeks later he delivered a case to my hospital room. Again, he filled a "want" versus a "need." Laying back in my hospital that that night, drinking a cold birch beer, I felt better than any drug could've ever made me feel. But it wasn't an $800 purse, it wasn't a stripper, and I didn't have kids to feed. The kids were taken care of already. They were with their aunt and uncle in Montana. The most important things: food, shelter, clothing and caring were taken care of for my children. My wife was at my side; basically all of my needs (including the 12 pints of blood) have been taken care of. I guess maybe I'm just more low maintenance than other people are
I sit on the side of people who have received aid (not from the hurricane, but still) and I know what it's like to receive charity. I also know the feeling that you get when you give, I know the feeling that you get when you give blindly, the warm feeling that you've done something that will help somebody. I too am familiar with the feeling that you get when you see your help in a direct action... the smiles on faces of children who receive shoes and clothes and food. The smiles on the faces of their parents, who could not afford to provide for their children.
I've seen giving and receiving from both sides of the table, being both the provider and the recipient at different times. It angers me to my very core to see how the bad eggs (I can't think of a cuss word that fits, even ass hat doesn't work) abuse the kindness of others. Of all the creative punishments that I've listed in the past, I can't quite decide on a punishment that is befitting of these people. I suppose that the people who hop in line more than once or use a fake identity to draw funds more than once should be summarily executed. Line them up against a wall, firing squad and all that jazz. Maybe not even a firing squad. After all, that can often lead to undue stress for the soldiers that have to keep pulling the trigger on these clowns. Of course, no blindfold her cigarette, as that would be deemed cruel and unusual (not to mention the people who would complain about the secondhand smoke.) March them right outside of the registration office where people go to get the funds, put them in an area where they can be seen by the people going in, beneath a giant sign that explains exactly why they are being executed: these people were stealing money from you by trying to register more than once! That's the short term answer. You can also drive them into the street, tarred and feathered, with signs hanging around their necks in front and back that say the same thing. (And yes, I know that tarring and feathering was usually fatal to its victims.)
As for the people who spent the money on luxury items, if the card can be traced to their names: these people should be listed as ineligible for any further support, Ever. No more Welfare checks. No more Social Security checks. No more food stamps. No more WIC. What about the children? Let the parent figure that went out. Let them face their child and say “I'm sorry we can't have dinner tonight, but I really like this Louis Vuitton bag, don't you?”
Of course, that's just my opinion.