I won't link to the previous entries here, but I regret being sucked in by the horror stories of rapes in the Superdome and Convention Center that I read in newspapers. I've been hearing over the last few days that it is increasingly clear that all of these stories were rumors and that none of them has been confirmed. A friend sent me a link to this article in the Arizona Daily Star this morning.
The story that I read about rapes and murders came from Reuters. In the original story, Reuters quoted a "National Guard" member about the rape of a woman and then of the beating to death of a man by the crowd. If you go to that link today, here is what it says. It still doesn't clarify whether the reports of rapes and murders were true or not. NOLA.com has a more detailed story that tries to sort out the origins of the stories of rapes and murders here.
There is another story there about the involvement of police in looting. According to the police department, they don't have video evidence of cops doing any looting, only of cops watching and not taking action against looters.
Here's the quote: He also said some officers helped themselves to clothing and food but that was "acceptable," he said.
"When we talk about looting, if someone took jewelry or a television, something like that, then we have a serious problem," he said. Riley took over the department after police chief Eddie Compass abruptly resigned on Tuesday. He confirmed reports that some officers were patrolling the city in Cadillacs but said the cars were recovered stolen property warehoused by the police department. The department lost 270 patrol cars in the storm, he said.
The Arizona Star criticizes journalists especially for failing to fact-check the stories they were told by evacuees and police. I wonder if these rumors will again become a way to blame the Louisianans for the mistakes. It seems to me that some of the worst rumors and exaggerations about "armed gangs" and "baby rapers" came not from the evacuees, but from the mayor, the police, and the National Guard. Here is a very good discussion of the rumor phenomenon from the lovely social psychology blog, Respectful of Otters.