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On the September 13 broadcast of The Radio Factor, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "many of the poor in New Orleans" did not evacuate the city before Hurricane Katrina because "[t]hey were drug-addicted" and "weren't going to get turned off from their source." O'Reilly added, "They were thugs."
From the September 13 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Now, what's the real story? The real story is this: Ten percent of Americans, and 10 percent of any society, simply are so chaotic for whatever reason that they're never, ever going to be able to fend for themselves and make a living. They are either substance abusers, they're mentally ill, they're screwed up emotionally beyond -- they can't carry on a conversation, they're catatonic, schizophrenic, whatever it may be. No matter how much money you pour in, they're always going to be in that condition. It's not massive neglect, it's not; it's human nature.
Now, our government has a duty to provide a safety net so these people aren't living under bridges. But some of them are anyway, because all the entitlement money they get they spend on heroin or crack or alcohol. So they can't pay their rent because the money that they're given they spend on drugs and alcohol. So what do you do? Give them more money? They're not going to pay their rent, they're going to spend it on drugs and alcohol. And therefore, they're going to be out on the street with their hand out.
Many, many, many of the poor in New Orleans are in that condition. They weren't going to leave no matter what you did. They were drug-addicted. They weren't going to get turned off from their source. They were thugs, whatever.
Now the tragedy is that a lot of times these people have children, and society has to take care of their children. Now, to me, I'm much more punitive than -- I would take the children away from these people. If you tested positive for heroin or crack, I'd take your child away, out of the house. All right, I'd rather have the kid in the system than under your control. It's a tough call, but that's what I would do. But it isn't society's neglect, it's the absence of personal responsibility, which the government can not force you to be responsible, not in a free society.