Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Orleans and "Martial Law"

Now I admit I haven't been watching TV, but I'm a little hesitant to fully believe the reports that New Orleans has been placed under "martial law" (or, as this local TV station says, "marshal law"). I've checked on both the Lousiana Governor's office website and the New Orleans city website and neither of them mention such an announcement. The New Orleans website has a blurb that says a "state of emergency" has been declared, but that's a long way from martial law, under which people are tried by military tribunals.

A lot of people are passing this information on, including Michelle Malkin. From what I'm reading, I'd say the state of emergency is empowering police and National Guard units to enforce a curfew, but I really don't expect we'll see looters being tried by courts martial. Until I see an official announcement, I'll say that these reports are coming from people who don't understand what "martial law" really means.

Staying at PD...

Update 1014 30 Aug: Immediately after I posted this, I found that Donald Sensing has much more, in much greater detail.

Update 1330 30 Aug: A commenter at One Hand Clapping dug up the applicable Louisiana statute dealing with a "state of emergency". In the meantime, the most recent UPI story still says "martial law" was declared. Many of this type of story claim to get their information from "state officials", but it's clear these unnamed officials don't know what they're talking about. Some of the websites that originally announced the "news" are now retracting the claims.

Update 2115 30 Aug: Via Michelle Malkin, we get what appears to be the definitive word on the question of whether or not martial law was declared in Louisiana (short answer -- No):

"The state Attorney General's office on Tuesday sought to clarify reports in some media that "martial law' has been declared in parts of storm-ravaged southeast Louisiana, saying no such term exists in Louisiana law.
"But even though no martial law exists, Gov. Kathleen Blanco's declaration of a state of emergency gives authorities widespread latitude to suspend civil liberties as they try to restore order and bring victims to safety. Under the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, the governor and, in some cases, chief parish officials, have the right to commandeer or utilize any private property if necessary to cope with the emergency..."

Update 2301 31 Aug: It looks like the Mayor of New Orleans announced this evening that the city is under "martial law". I suppose he can call it whatever he wants, and I'll support him, but unless he's planning on having the military conduct the trials, it isn't the martial law I learned about in the various Military Justice courses I took. (Basically, the demarcation line is whether or not civilian courts remain open in the affected area.)

Update 2238 08 Sep: This article in Slate also explains why "martial law" isn't a good description of the current state of emergency in New Orleans.


Blogger Barb said...

But then, what can we expect from reporters who think it is called "marshal law"?

What is interesting to me (in an academic fashion) is how quickly people take advantage of this kind of situation.

8/30/2005 5:38 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

It seems that whenever there's a breakdown in civil authority, the looters aren't too far behind; it's almost as it we've been conditioned that this is the expected behavior.

8/30/2005 6:23 PM

Anonymous Byron Audler said...

Down in the Cajun parishes, they handle looters with Remington and Winchester law...them that are stupid enough to try it. The Big Sleazy, on the other hand, is a whole nother thing, and given the general crime there before the disaster, I'm not surprised in the least that this is happening. The Pres needs to declare REAL martial law in region, and send the Guard in to protect the honest citizens from the rats

8/30/2005 11:42 PM

Blogger WillyShake said...

Good point, shipmate. Thanks for making me stop and think about a phrase that the media (in its never-ending quest to gild the lily) loves to throw around.

8/31/2005 6:03 AM

Anonymous Bubblehead's Mom said...

Maybe the TV station people think that "marshal law" is named after George Marshall (except he has two l's)??

9/06/2005 2:48 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Or any one of Napoleon's marshals. Hi, Mom!

9/06/2005 10:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heres a joke for you. What do call a person in New Orleans that works hard, pay taxes, abide by the law of the land and just lost there mother and child in a flood after waiting in a disgusting dome for 4 days with no food or water?
- A refugee
step outside of your reality - show so compassion people

9/08/2005 3:29 PM

Blogger ayura said...

I did not like the naming of submarines after cities and states but got used to layout and the construction.
Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

8/17/2009 12:40 AM


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