Tonight on 360°, gunfire and chaos in Haiti over five bags of rice. Plus, a look at the what's happening to Haiti's orphans. And, a Supreme Court ruling that could have a major impact on November's mid-term elections.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/01/18/haiti.looting.earthquake/story.looting.haiti.gi.jpg caption="Looters brawl as a man tries to intervene in downtown Port-au-Prince on Monday." width=300 height=169]
Special to CNN
To define someone as a looter is not simply to describe him, or her, through an act, it is to make a moral judgment. It is to characterize the person as lawless and criminal. It connotes someone who is without self-restraint; an animal; wanton and depraved.
It is a description that is void of empathy for someone who is consciously or subconsciously viewed as "the other." Tragically, it fits into the stereotype that many have about people of African descent, be they African-Americans or Haitian-Americans.
The news media have to stop describing starving Haitians who are simply trying to survive the earthquake and aftershocks that took their homes, their loved ones, and all their possessions by this highly derogatory term.
It's a lesson they should have learned covering the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. I remember the news accounts then that described black residents of New Orleans as "looters," but used benign words to describe white residents engaged in the same action: taking things.
Academics have found repeated instances of this in media content analyses after disasters. One example, widely disseminated on the web post-Katrina, juxtaposed an Associated Press photo that showed a young black man wading through chest-high water "after looting a grocery store" (said the caption), with an AFP/Getty photo of a white woman in the same position, although the caption this time described her "finding" food "from a local grocery store."
Shots rang out near the Port-au-Prince airport today. Two men were shot in the back by police, one was killed. The gunfire was linked to five bags of rice, which fell out of a truck.
The survivor said he didn't steal the rice. "The cops jumped on us. It was a gift. It was a gift," he told CNN's Karl Penhaul.
"A truck stopped and we jumped on and the driver gave us the rice as a gift, but the cops shot us," the man added.
The two men weren't the only ones hit by gunfire. A third man, who said he was a Christian minister waiting for the bus, was apparently wounded by a stray police bullet.
Karl Penhaul will join Anderson tonight, reporting live from Haiti, with more on the deadly chaos.
We're also demanding answers on why it is taking so long to get supplies to the survivors. It's frustrating and maddening to watch. So much aid is at the airport, while people are dying.
Last night, Dr. Sanjay Gupta had the story of two doctors, twins, who are outraged at what their patients must go through. Dr. Gupta decided to see why there's a delay in getting the hospitals and clinics much needed supplies. He went to the airport, where he's keeping them honest.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET.
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We landed in Haiti about 5 hours ago. It has been approximately a week after the major earthquake struck this country. I had the privilege of traveling here today with President Bill Clinton and other dignitaries to deliver some much-needed supplies.
There was a deafening silence on the plane as we approached the landing. Everyone was peering out the windows in an attempt to see and gauge the level of devastation. Obviously, it was not very visible to us. At first glance, you would assume you are coming to a country that did not have a care in the world. It was very beautiful from up high. Mountains, water –it is a beautiful country.
Unfortunately, we all knew why we were there. To deliver much needed supplies to the earthquake victims. It became apparent very quickly that food, water, and medical supplies were desperately needed. Moreover, I realized that in a in a strange way, this relief was not only helping those who were the victims of the earthquake, but all Haitians. In this impoverished country, the majority of the people lacked so much before this natural disaster, and they too might finally be receiving some basics like food and water. It was certainly hard to distinguish the poor from the earthquake victims.
As we approached the terminal, we could see the military helicopters and aircrafts for the staging areas and supply distribution. There is a large military presence at the airport along with UN soldiers. The US military has been present and coordinating the US operations at the airport. They are hard at work. Most have been here since the evening of the quake. Hundreds of evacuee’s are lined up at the airport hoping to get out. Even that is sad — they are probably evacuating with what little they have left. The fortunate few, while thousands remain trapped.
"Look," the President said. "Even if we hadn't tackled health care, this was going to be a tough year." We were in the Oval Office, talking about how health care reform had become such a mess. It was the Friday before his first anniversary in office, the Friday before a Republican named Scott Brown demolished the assumptions of Barack Obama's presidency by winning Ted Kennedy's Senate seat and ending the Democrats' filibuster-proof dominance. It was a Friday when the President's decision to go all in on health care was beginning to seem like a disastrous gamble.
I asked Obama how he thought his Administration was perceived by someone in the Boston suburbs who had supported him a year ago, looking for "change" — and now saw the President making deals with everyone from Joe Lieberman to the labor unions to Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska (whose special Medicaid deal was a public embarrassment) to the pro-life forces, not to mention the drug and insurance companies. "When I promised change, I didn't promise that somehow members of Congress weren't going to be looking to try to get a project in their district or help a hospital in their neighborhood," the President said halfheartedly. But later he acknowledged, "There's a culture in this town, which is an insider culture. That's what I think people outside of Washington legitimately can't stand — a sense that they're not being heard. I think we've done actually a pretty good job of working in this town without being completely consumed by it. But from the outside, if you're just watching TV, and all you're hearing about is the reports, people may get the false impression that somehow [the insiders] are the folks we're spending more time listening to."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/01/21/obama.economy/t1larg.obamabank.gi.jpg caption="President Obama delivers remarks on financial reform Thursday." width=300 height=169]
CNN Senior White House Correspondent
President Obama already was planning to put a heavy focus on jobs and the economy in next week's State of the Union address, but his top aides are signaling that pivot is going to be even sharper in the wake of the Democrats' stunning election defeat in Massachusetts.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs noted the president has been dealing with the financial crisis long before Tuesday's Senate race, but he acknowledged the administration could have done a better job of conveying that message to the public and will now redouble its efforts.
"The president works each and every day on making our economy stronger and putting us in a position to where we're creating jobs, businesses are hiring again," Gibbs said. "I can certainly assure the American people that that is the chief focus of the president of the United States."
That message, however, was at least partially obscured by Obama's heavy focus on overhauling health care for much of his first year.
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CNN Senior Executive Producer
I’ve never heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta despair. Which is why it was so upsetting to hear him last night on AC360. Here’s what he told Anderson.
“I feel a little hopeless,” said Sanjay. “And I hate saying that. I just hate feeling that way.” What to do when you start to lose hope is a critical question almost everyone confronts at one time or another.
Sanjay, and through him, many of us, are feeling hopeless after witnessing so many preventable deaths.
He had just finished a story on two Haitian doctors, twin brothers, who’ve been trying to save life after life at their hospital. But they don’t even have enough supplies to dress a child’s wound without causing severe pain. And there’s no place to send the injured even when they can be saved.
Sanjay had also just finished a story on what’s become a hallmark injury in Haiti – crush injuries. He explains how a crushed muscle can break down and release particles into the bloodstream which can cause kidney failure. A lack of supplies means amputation after amputation that would be unnecessary with the right medicine and equipment.