Katrina Educates World On Need For Owning Guns

Submitted by Kim (from my e-mail) on 10/5/05 at 8:25 PM. ( )

Thought this is worthy enough to share with all of you. Sorry if someone already has. The message is a good one!--Kim

Katrina Educates World On Need For Owning Guns
by Erich Pratt

"All our operators are busy right now. Please remain on the line and an operator will be with you shortly. Your call is important to us."

Can you imagine any words more horrifying after dialing 9-1-1? Your life's in danger, but there's no one available to help you.

For several days in September, life was absolutely terrifying for many New Orleans residents who got stranded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. There were no operators... there were no phone calls being handled.

Heck, there was no 9-1-1. Even if the phone lines had been working, there were no police officers waiting to be dispatched.

Hundreds of New Orleans police officers had fled the city. Some took their badges and threw them out the windows of their cars as they sped away. Others participated in the looting of the city.

While there were many officers who acted honorably -- even apprehending dangerous thugs while grieving the loss of their own family members -- most residents were forced to fend for themselves.

Many did so successfully, using their own firearms, until New Orleans Police Commissioner Edwin Compass III issued the order to confiscate their guns.

Anti-gun zealots confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens
On September 8, several news outlets began reporting that officials in New Orleans were confiscating firearms... not from looters, but from law-abiding citizens who legally owned firearms!

"No one will be able to be armed," said Deputy Chief Warren Riley. "We are going to take all the weapons."

It was like a scene out of the former Soviet Union or Communist China.

The Associated Press quoted Compass, the police commissioner, as saying, "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

Well, there you have it. Given the chance, gun control advocates will always implement their real agenda -- confiscation of firearms from everyone... except the police!

ABC News video on September 8 showed National Guard troops going house-to-house, smashing down doors, searching for residents, and confiscating guns. Every victim of disarmament was clearly not a thug or looter, but a decent resident wanting to defend his or her home.

Many of the troops were clearly conflicted by their orders. "It is surreal," said one member of the Oklahoma National Guard who was going door-to-door in New Orleans. "You never expect to do this in your own country."

Many never would have expected it -- confiscating firearms from decent people who were relying on those firearms to protect themselves from the looters.

It was an outrageous order -- one that should not have been obeyed. There was no constitutional authority for the directive, and it ignored the fact that many good people had already used firearms to successfully defend their lives and property.

Guns were saving lives and protecting property prior to the confiscation order
As flood waters started rising in New Orleans, a wave of violence rolled through the city.

"It was pandemonium for a couple of nights," said Charlie Hackett, a New Orleans resident. "We just felt that when [looters] got done with the stores, they'd come to the homes."

Hackett was right... which is why he and his neighbor, John Carolan, stood guard over their homes to ward off looters who, rummaging through the neighborhoods, were smashing windows and ransacking stores.

Armed looters did eventually come to Carolan's house and demanded his generator. But Carolan showed them his gun and they left.

No wonder then that gun stores, which weren't under water, were selling firearms at a record pace to people looking to defend themselves. "I've got people like you wouldn't believe, lots of people, coming in and buying handguns," said Briley Reed, the assistant manager of the E-Z Pawn store in Baton Rouge.

"I've even had soldiers coming in here buying guns," Reed said.

Makeshift militias patrol neighborhoods
In the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, dozens of neighbors banded together to protect their neighborhood.

"There's about 20 or 30 guys in addition to us. We know all of them and where they are," Gregg Harris said. "People armed themselves so quickly, rallying together. I think it's why [our] neighborhood survived."

Harris isn't joking about the armaments. A gun battle erupted one afternoon between armed neighbors and looters. Two of the thugs were shot.

Since then, no more looters have bothered the neighborhood. But the neighbors aren't letting their guard down. They all take their turn keeping watch.

Gareth Stubbs sits in a rocking chair on his front porch, holding his shotgun and a bottle of bug spray.

In another home, a 74-year old mother keeps the following near the bed: her rosary, a shotgun and a 38-caliber pistol.

Vinnie Pervel and two other volunteers man a balcony-turned-watchtower with five borrowed shotguns, a pistol, a flare gun, and old AK-47 and loads of ammunition.

To be sure, many of the weapons were borrowed from neighbors who fled before the storm hit. Pervel and Harris did not have any working firearms themselves in the aftermath of the storm. But because Pervel had been keeping in contact (via phone) with neighbors who had already evacuated, he got permission to go into the vacant homes and get his neighbors' weapons.

"I never thought I'd be going into my neighbor's house and taking their guns," Pervel said. "We wrote down what gun came from what house so we can return them when they get back."

Firearms were a hot commodity
It would be an understatement to say that firearms were the hottest commodity in the days following the massive destruction. In Gulf Port, Mississippi, Ron Roland, 51, lost everything -- three homes, four cars, a bait-and-tackle shop and a boat. It was all destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Nevertheless, Roland was determined to salvage what he could amidst the rubble -- with or without police protection. And it's a good thing, too, because there would be no such thing as "police protection" in the days following the storm.

Standing guard over one of his homes with a handgun in his waistband, Roland used his firearm to stop looters from rummaging through his storm-damaged property.

Roland and his son even performed a citizen's arrest on one plunderer and then warned future thieves by posting the following message in his yard: "NO TRESPASSERS! ARMED HOMEOWNERS."

Signs like this were common throughout the Gulf Coast region in the days following Katrina.

Unfortunately, some people had to learn the hard way about the utility of keeping firearms for protection.

Water, food... but what about guns?
The managers at the Covenant Home nursing center in New Orleans were more than prepared to ride out the hurricane. They had food and supplies to last the 80 residents for more than ten days.

They had planned for every contingency... or so they thought.

"We had excellent plans. We had enough food for 10 days," said Peggy Hoffman, the home's Executive Director.

But they had no firearms. So when carjackers hijacked the home's bus and drove by the center shouting "Get out!" to the residents, they were completely helpless.

All of the residents, most of them in wheelchairs, were evacuated to other nursing homes in the state.

Hoffman says she has now learned her lesson.

Next time, "We'll have to equip our department heads with guns and teach them how to shoot," she said.

Thank goodness someone is learning from their mistakes.

Does anyone remember Los Angeles?
We should have learned this lesson more than ten years ago when the entire country saw horrifying images coming out of Los Angeles.

If the riots of 1992 taught us anything, it is that the police can't always be there to protect us.

For several days, that city was in complete turmoil as stores were looted and burned. Motorists were dragged from their cars and beaten.

Further aggravating the situation, police were very slow in responding to the crisis. Many Guardsmen, after being mobilized to the affected areas, sat by and watched the violence because their rifles were low on ammunition.

But not everybody in Los Angeles suffered. In some of the hot spots, Korean merchants were able to successfully protect their stores with semi-automatic firearms.

In areas where armed citizens banded together for self-protection, their businesses were spared while others (which were left unprotected) burned to the ground.

The pictures of Korean merchants defending their stores left quite an impression on one group of people living in Los Angeles: those who had previously identified themselves as gun control advocates.

Press reports described how life-long gun control supporters were even running to gun stores to buy an item they never thought they would need -- a gun. Tragically, they were surprised (and outraged!) to learn there was a 15-day waiting period upon firearms.

Confiscating guns puts people at risk
Fast forward more than a decade, it seems that many folks still haven't learned the lessons from previous tragedies. If the Mayor and his cronies really wanted to help the decent citizens of New Orleans, they would have been issuing people firearms instead of taking them away.

These guns were the only thing that prevented many good folks from becoming victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Now that residents are disarmed, will the Mayor provide 24-hour, round-the-clock protection for each of these disarmed families? Will he make himself personally liable for anyone who is injured or killed as a result of being prevented from defending himself or his family?

When your life is in danger, you don't want to rely on a police force that is stretched way too thin. And the last thing you want to hear when you call 9-1-1 is, "All our operators are busy right now...."

That might just be the last thing you ever hear.

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