Bombing of levees would be no surprise; remember Tuskegee

What if everything we were told about how Hurricane Katrina’s forceful winds had weakened the New Orleans levees was not true?

What if every piece of information we were given was false and the truth – which can sometimes be stranger than fiction – was that the levees were actually bombed?

It’s not completely impossible, stranger and crueler things have happened.

In Tuskegee, Ala., a group of about 400 black, mostly illiterate, male sharecroppers were led to believe that they were being treated for “bad blood.” And, under the pretense of this misinformation, the men willingly returned to get what they believed was treatment.

What they didn’t know, however, was that they were part of an experiment being conducted to test the theory to see if whites experienced more neurological complications from syphilis while blacks were more susceptible to cardiovascular damage.

Before the experiment was exposed in 1972, only 74 of the 400 men were still alive, 28 of the men died as a direct result of the disease and 100 died of related complications of syphilis; 40 of the men’s wives were infected and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis.

According to one doctor, it “was necessary to carry on this study under the guise of a demonstration and provide treatment.”

Yes, the county of Macon, as well as the government, allowed these “lab rat” practices to take place on human beings and did nothing.

Only after a U.S. Public Health Service worker leaked the information to The Washington Star, was the truth about what was being done to these men exposed and the study finally ended. Only then did the men get real treatment for their disease.

There are things that go on daily that we will never know about or understand. Things that the government (and some would say the secret hand that controls it) would rather us not know about or question.

So, is it really so hard to imagine that the levees, which protected the poor Ninth Ward of New Orleans, were actually destroyed? Stuff like that happens all the time, it’s called gentrification.

People in search of the “come-up” find old property, buy or push the current residents out of their neighborhood and then rebuild the neighborhood, increasing its value.

You’ve seen the signs: “We Buy Old Houses.” But have you ever asked yourself why? Who in the world would want an ugly house?

Still doubtful? Just look at the “revitalization” of Frenchtown for example. You can bet, once it’s been fixed and polished up all nice there won’t be any crack heads, black-owned businesses or lower-class black families in sight.

But you don’t have to believe those residents of the Ninth Ward who remain displaced.Believe what you will, but all you have to do is look at our history for proof. Stranger and crueler things have happened.

Amber Vaughan is a senior public relations major from Pensacola. She can be reached at