Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Many thanks to Caleb http://www.nrahab.com/ and Breda http://thebredafallacy.blogspot.com/
for hosting me on Gunnuts Radio last night. We talked about New Orleans and the gun confiscations that occurred after Hurricane Katrina as I and Todd Masson documented in "The Great New Orleans Gun Grab."
This is such a hot topic with gun folks, we frequently get carried away with outrage at what happened, and I neglect to point out the good that came from this travesty--how obvious it became to the world that the only way to survive in the aftermath of great disaster is to have a gun. In case after case, we heard of frightened people flocking to the protective cover offered by armed citizens.
One story that did not make the book, because I could never find the guy again, was a resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast who came over to New Orleans to speak at the NRA Town Hall Meeting on April 18, 2006. It was this meeting which led to the idea of the book to publicize what happened in the hell after the hurricane.
Since we only repeated stories we could document, I couldn't use it. But the guy told it on himself at the meeting, and I will repeat it here for you.
He stated a friend who suffered through the bad hurricane that struck South Carolina a few years ago (Hugo?) warned him that within a couple of days after the hurricane, the great underclass one never sees would be in ascendancy--the homeless, the addicted, the criminals who plied their trade selling drugs--they would be roaming the streets, unable to make their connections, looking for any relief they could find, and stealing as they saw fit.
As an armed citizen, he stayed in his home and rode the storm out. He must have lived some blocks from the coast, because Katrina wiped out the first several blocks off the beach, and pushed storm surge in a mile or more.
Gulf Shores, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, all the beautiful old beachfront towns along Highway 90 saw their homes and businesses wiped away as cleanly as a man strokes off his beard with a straight razor. To this day, driving down the coast highway, most of what you see are slabs and empty lots, as the beach towns try to rebuild nearly four years later.
This armed citizen stated his friend was right, the looters and thugs came out after the storm, and there was much misery as emergency services did not exist--no power, no water, no...nothing. But he had emergency supplies, and he had something else--he had guns.
And as the word made its way among the devastated survivors, he had a small tent city grow around his home--single mothers with children who came to him for protection from the dregs that roamed the streets. They slept in his yard in makeshift shelters under his umbrella of protection. He fed them and watched over them all until one family at a time, they were taken in by the burgeoning emergency services.
His story drew great applause, even considering the receptive audience he had. I made an effort to try to catch him before he disappeared in the crowd, but to chase him would have meant missing other stories equally riveting about surviving the storm, looters, and thuggish cops.
I wish I could have talked to him privately--it would have been a hell of an addition to the book. Even if it didn't occur in New Orleans, it would have reinforced the premise of the entire book--that to survive, you not only need basics like shelter, food, and water--you also absolutely need a way to protect those precious things from the vicious predators who take advantage of such tragedies, and prey on the weak.
Obviously as the book showed, when you are armed, you are not weak.