Same thing happened in Katrina, as I recall. The stupidity and callousness is astonishing.

Galveston Island residents were told to flee Hurricane Ike or face "certain death," but the Sheriff has inexplicably decided not to evacuate 1,000 prisoners from the county jail as the first flooding has already begun in the city.

It’s bad enough to risk the inmates’ lives, but downright bizarre to me that the Sheriff is willing to risk his deputies. The National Hurricane Center has predicted waves that will top Galveston’s seawall potentially by several meters, which would easily flood the town.

"We did this during (Hurricane) Rita (in 2005) and no one knew until it was absolutely done," said a Sheriff’s spokesman. Of course, Rita didn’t hit Galveston Island directly and there was never a serious risk that it would breach the seawall. By contrast, with Ike still two hundred miles away, the surge has already raised water levels more than five feet, with 25 foot surges expected.

In 1900, more than 8,000 people died on Galveston Island after a major hurricane (pictured). The Sheriff is definitely tempting fate to take such a risk.

Truly amazing. As I understand it Galveston is demographically a lot like New Orleans was when it was first hit. Lots of poor black people. I’m sure most of the inmates are black, but since the Sheriff has left his deputies there as well, I expect it’s stupidity and a general callousness towards human life, not racism.

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

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