Thursday, September 29, 2005

Land-based Casinos

I see from the Daily Wipe, that the Louisiana Attorney General, Charles Foti, is recommending that we get more land based casinos in this state.

With riverboat casinos in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport, the casino industry has taken a beating over the last month.

The Jena band of Choctaw Indians has some land in central Louisiana they want to use for land-based gambling and from all indications, they are cocked-and-locked to build. Let'em build, but get some good revenue guarantees from them.

Hell, there is so much gambling in this state now that another casino or two isn't going to make much difference. We should have another election and let the voters decide if they want gambling in a specific area. If a parish decides to allow gaming, let the building begin. Throw it wide open, and let the marketplace decide.
Let anyone who can satisfy the Gaming Board have a casino, whether it is three slot machines or acres of tables.


Over at Michelle Malkin's (yeah, like she needs the link), I read this story, and the howler that follows:
Police spokesman Marlon Defillo said police are looking into the possibility that up to 12 officers were involved in misconduct.

The Police Department has 1,750 officers.

He rejected the use of the term "looting" but said authorities were investigating "the possibility of appropriation of non-essential items during the height of Katrina, from businesses
My achin' ass.

As far as I know, there is no looting statute in Louisiana. It is all covered under the Theft statutes. Perhaps the malfeasance statutes.

Plain and simple, those cops are crooked, and need to be jailed, after one of those fine old ceremonies, where they strip your badge off, strip off all patches and identification, then take you directly to the jail wearing your stripped-out uniform. The inmates love it, and your first couple of days are.... well.... unpleasant.

I don't know how Police spokesman Marlon Defillo managed to keep a straight face when he uttered those words.


Yesterday I got a message from my boss that today we would resume our normal schedules, post Rita. A lot of extra work still remains to be done, but we are off the A-B rotation. Today I went back to my beat, and it was good to be back where I belong.

I spent the last couple of days at a shelter, caring for geriatric, female, mental patients. Whoo! Wadda ride! They are sleeping in a high school gym. I talked today with the R.N. running the place and they are trying to get the patients into more permanent accomodations while the nursing home in Lake Charles is rehabbed. I know the staff will be glad to be in a proper facility, and I know the school will be glad to get their gym back.

I came home today to find Milady off work. It seems she came down with a sore throat yesterday and went to the doctor today. He diagnosed strep-throat, so we are in quarantine. I'll let the kids know, so they don't bring the grandkids over. I don't need them getting strep. And frankly, Milady and I could use the quiet over the weekend.

On the downside, the grass is growing again. We had been in a local drought, without rain for the past 30 days. The grass had gone dormant, but the rain from Rita kick-started it growing again.

I started thinking about shooting, again, which means that life is starting to return to normal. I've loaded some loads for the .243 that I intend to shoot this weekend, and tonite, I hope to load some .30-30 to try out, pre-deer season. In the meantime, I have potato soup on the stove and Milady is taking a nap.

Squirrel season opens Saturday, but I won't be in the woods till after the first frost.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I was again surfing over at the Geek's, and I see that Eddie Compass has resigned.


Resigning sure beats being fired.
"I served this department for 26 years and have taken it through some of the toughest times of its history. Every man in a leadership position must know when it's time to hand over the reins," Compass said at a news conference. "I'll be going on in another direction that God has for me."
Yeah, right.

With 26 years under his belt, he knows a couple of things if he hasn't been sleeping through the annual training that all Louisiana police officers have to go through every year. First, if it ain't against the law, it ain't none of your business. Yeah, you can help people, but you better not be doing any enforcement action unless a law has been violated, and you damn sure better know what that law is, when you take the action. Taking something from a citizen without permission is called robbery. That is a felony. Taking something from a business without permission is called theft. There are levels of theft, but any of them will get you fired.

Have I ever, in my twenty-five years of police work, confiscated a firearm? You betcha I have. More than a few of them. I've taken them from criminals and convicted felons. I charged them under the law and I took the firearm into evidence.

The officers that took firearms are guilty of one of a number of crimes (burglary, robbery, or theft) and could be prosecuted for those crimes. The officers who took other things could be charged under the same statutes.

Eddie Compass is already being sued. He is lucky he isn't being charged.

Mike Brown on Louisiana Govt

Whoa! What a money quote. I just heard this on Fox News, and had to find the quote:
At one point, questioned by committee chairman Rep. Tom Davis (search), R-Va., Brown said: "My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday [Aug. 27] that Louisiana was dysfunctional."
We've been telling each other that for years about state goverrment.

Well, the gummint might be disfunctional, but the people aren't. We've been handicapped by our elected officials. And frankly, we have been complacent too long.

Louisiana voters need to demand competent government. From the dog catcher to the governor, we have a right to demand that corruption not be tolerated. That elected officials not only avoid impropriety, but avoid the very appearance of impropriety.

Recovery money is already starting to flow, and if we don't get our act together, we will cement the nation's perception that we are a third-world backwater, only useful for parties and scandal. It's time to get serious about government. It is time to seriously look at cronyism, corruption, and special interest groups. It is time to demand good roads, good schools, and good infrastructure. It is time to demand that our elected officials perform for the good of the state.

It is time to demand an end to the poverty generating welfare state. It is time to demand that people get to work. It is time to demand that the stewards of our money account for results from that money.

We have the opportunity. The question is; will we use it?

Lessons being learned

As I sit here in Air Conditioned splendor, with a working washing machine and operating cable TV, I am grateful. The house is full of refugees, one from Katrina, two from Rita. I am grateful they are safe. I am grateful I could provide shelter. I am grateful for the bounty of this country that allows me to own a home to provide refuge to those whose home is unliveable. I'm grateful that my home is intact.

I'm also pondering some of the lessons of the past three weeks:

1. Society crumbles quickly in the face of a natural disaster. The strongest civilization this world has ever known can be reduced, locally, to the Stone Age in a matter of hours. You are on your own for three days. Be ready. Food, water, shelter become absolute imperatives when there aren't any. The Second Amendment is the greatest guarantee to your survival. Be intimately familiar with it, and the implement it recommends.

2. Evacuating is a good idea. Make it happen. Only, don't follow the madding crowd. If you roll one wheel on an interstate highway, you are screwed. Get good maps and use them. The greatest GPS device ain't worth a shot of snot if it can't tell you where the secondary roads are located. We still need paper maps, and the more detail you can get, the better. Get good maps for the areas you might have to navigate and put them in your bugout box along with food, water, ammunition. During both the Katrina and Rita exercise, folks who got on the interstate spend a lot of time in gridlock. Good maps are the US Survey maps that the Army uses. They show every road, down to the pigtrails the animals use. Go here for more information

3. Evacuate west if you are running from a hurricane on this continent. Everybody else is moving north, so going west is better. I have heard reports and seen evidence that moving 10 miles west is as good as moving 50 miles north. Moving 50 miles west is better. The benefit is that you get out of the crowds, you get out of the projected path of the storm and you get out of the northeast quadrant. Storms generally turn toward the east in the last hour before landfall, then take a north by northeast track. Go west, young man. Good advice for the 19th century, good advice for the 21st.

More as I consider them.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A-B Rotation

Yesterday afternoon I talked to my boss and he told me I was off today. I protested, but he ordered me to stand down. When I got home, I found Milady had also been sent home, so we went out for dinner. A place with a table and silverware and a tablecloth. Then we came home and crashed.

I'm off tomorrow too, and another 8-5 guy is watching over the evacuees that I have been watching over. I stopped by late this afternoon and checked on everyone. They improved the position today, making strides in creature comforts.

I talked to my boss late this afternoon and I am off tomorrow too. What they have done is put all us daytime guys on an A-B rotation. It is a standard law enforcement shift rotation and it lets you cover the maximum amount of man hours with the minimum people and keeps everyone rested, fed, and not burned out.

The way it works is this. They designate shifts as A shift, B shift, with day and night rotations. Sometimes they designate all four shifts from A-D. Anyway, lets say a guy on A shift works Monday Tuesday. Off Wednesday Thursday. Works Friday Saturday Sunday. B Shift is off Monday Tuesday, works Wednesday Thursday, is off again on Friday Saturday Sunday. The next week the days are reversed. Everyone works half of the available days in the month, and you have a three day weekend every other weekend.

Now, you have to cover day shift and night shift, and there are two ways to do that. You can either change from day to night every time you come back to work (Work days Monday Tuesday, off Wednesday Thursday, work nights Friday Saturday Sunday), or you can be stabilized on days and nights. There are pros and cons to both methods and I have worked both methods. Being stabilized on days and nights works best for me, but having rotating shifts spreads the wealth around. Actually, if I had my druthers on 12 hour shifts, I would rather be stabilized on nights, because nights are generally quieter than days. There is less going on, and the headquarters guys aren't around.

So anyway, I am off again tomorrow. Back to work Wednesday morning. I thought I was finally off the old A-B rotation, but things have a way of changing.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


What's today? Sunday? I haven't posted since Wednesday, because, frankly, I have been busy. Busy taking care of unfortunates who tried to evade Hurricane Rita, without success.

Why someone would evacuate northeast is beyond my powers of comprehension. Every hurricane that has ever hit Louisiana has turned to the northeast after landfall. Evacuating from Lake Charles to anywhere in central Louisiana is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. We missed the brunt of the storm, but we have power outages, we have trees down. Tornadoes came through the area. This is day three of the exercise and we have pretty much been on our own. I did see some gummint help yesterday, but we are bursting at the seams with evacuees. We have evacuees from Katrina and from Rita in this area.

Last night I slept for six full hours. The first time since Wednesday. In another couple of hours I will be back at work, doing whatever needs to be done for the unfortunates who came here to hunker down. Every deputy is involved in the operation. I have heard names on the radio that I haven't heard in years. Guys with desk jobs in headquarters are weilding chainsaws or answering calls. Either serving at a shelter, or helping clear roads, or answering calls for assistance, we are at 100% strength, doing yeoman duty for our citizens. The local police departments are likewise completely engaged. No looting, by God, not on our watch. No citizens who need help if we can possibly get to them. You call us, we'll be there, even if we have to clear five miles of road to get there.

Looking outside at the weather, the rain seems to have died down and the wind has moderated. We need good weather to begin the cleanup, and I think we'll have it for a couple of days. Some rain, certainly, but not so windy we can't put bucket trucks in the air. Yesterday, during the brunt of the storm, we worked at ground level, doing what we could to help folks. The power crews couldn't work because of the wind. Those folks are going to do the yeoman duty for the next couple of days. Telephone and power crews are going to have more than they can pray over.

More posting as I get a chance. Today is going to be a long one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Over at the Geeks

I was just surfing over at the Geek's place and found this post. The pertinent part is here:
I received this in comments this morning, and am pursuing for confirmation and details:

My buddy Captain G, Oklahoma Guard, was activated and sent to N.O. His unit was tasked to "keep the peace" in a not-so-nice ward. I talk to him every other day or so, and let me tell you, he is mightily pissed off about this. He has been for 12 days now confiscating firearms from ALL but CCP folks. Did y'all get that? The F'n federal government is taking guns from law abiding citizens in the very moment of their greatest need! I looked for hours today online and found nothing about this, nor have I seen ANYTHING from the MSM since the Wednesday after the storm hit (big surprise). Why is everyone not totally frigging apeshit about this?
This may well be a troll at work, and the Geek considers this possibility. The other possibility is that confiscations continue. Most reports I have is that the firearms confiscations are over. The NRA and others are actively seeking plaintiffs for one hell of a civil suit.

I hate to take credit for the suit idea, but I believe I blogged it first, here.

However, now might be an opportune time to discuss the relative merits of the quoted paragraph, above. The Guardsman is identified as a Captain, and if he is, he knows that he has an obligation to directly challenge an unlawful order. Sometimes orders are given that are unlawful, either through ignorance or stupidity. The officer receiving an unlawful order has a moral obligation to directly question the order.

The conversation might go like this:

Colonel: "Captain, I want you to take your men and go do such-and-such."

Captain: "Sir, with respect, I wish you would reconsider that order. I believe it violates the law. (or Constitution.. fill in the blanks yourself)

Colonel, ire rising: "Captain, are you telling me that the order I just gave you is illegal?"

Captain: "Yes sir, I believe it to be, and I wish you would reconsider. If you won't reconsider, I would request to be given the order in writing, so that when charges are filed, I can mount a legal defense."

At this point the Colonel will probably blow a gasket, throw the Captain out of the office, and try to figure out just what the hell went wrong. I have had this conversation once in my twenty year career in the service of Uncle Sam (three active, 18 reserve, called for Desert Storm), and I have heard the conversation twice. Each time, the superior officer checked his facts, rescinded the order and apologized in private to the Captain.

Colonels are career oriented, and sure as hell don't want to get caught in giving an order that might lead to a Courts Martial.

However, the Captain in the story above has serious legal difficulties, both in a civil sense and in a career sense. Captains know to a moral certainty that the "just following orders" defense died at Nuremburg, and at My Lai. Captains also know that giving an illegal order to their soldiers makes them culpable on the same scale as the Colonel is, for giving the order. The Captain has a moral responsibility to do the right thing, not withstanding the point that he has violated his oath to "protect and defend the Consititution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

In an officers life, that oath comes first.

Love bugs

We here in central Louisiana are undergoing an infestation of love bugs. A plague. A surplussage, if you will. The little bastards are everywhere. They came in with Katrina, and I believe they blew in off the coast.

Go outside and try to talk, love bugs in your mouth. There must be a couple of hundred thousand dead in the garage, and I swept it on Sunday. By Monday it looked like I had never swept. Today it looks like a disaster area.

They are even sifting in under the weatherstripping on the front door. We never use the front door, yet they wiggle in through the weatherstripping and expire (from exertion, I guess) in a semi-circle on the carpet. I just vacuumed up fifty of the little bastards.

The truly adventurous love bugs go to the highway and attack automobiles. Their little innards splatter everywhere and has some acid in it, attacking the paint on the cars. I hate love bugs with a massive dedication. They'll be gone in a month or so, and life can get back to normal. Until then, I can't sit at my workbench outside without a cloud of these things settling into my quickly thinning hair.

AAaargggh! I've got to move everything in to the kitchen table to measure powder.

870 Update

I went to Ace Hardware looking for paint remover and found a can of stuff there. It is an aerosol gel. Don't get it on your car, or your skin, or your wall boards. It is toxic and caustic, and it'll peel paint like nothing you have ever seen. The paint on the forearm and stock of my 870 had been there a few years, and the guy that painted it, used multiple coats. No problem.

With two applications, the wood on that shotgun was clean. I did go through a lot of shop rags, though. The instructions on the can said to flush the cleaned surface with water, so I did that. The water feathered the stock, which I took off with a piece of 220 grit Wet or Dry sandpaper. I followed up with two coats of boiled linseed oil, and reassembled the shotgun. It is under the seat of the truck now with 5 rounds in the butt cuff and four rounds in the magazine tube.

I am good to go.

I was thinking about slugs, and picked up a couple of 5-packs last week. The Remington basic slug is one ounce of lead, traveling at 1500 fps. Fairly devastating. I'm going to try some slug shooting and see how accurate they are out of a smoothbore barrel. I'll be reporting on the project at The Frugal Outdoorsmman.

Monday, September 19, 2005


They named a hurricane after my ex-mother-in-law, and if you know anything about hurricanes or mothers-in-law, then you know where I stand on this issue. As far out of the way as possible. I notice that it is barreling down on Miami, and you know where those hurricanes normally end up.

That's right. New Orleans better batten down again.

One of these days, the big one is going to hit New Orleans, and Katrina wasn't it. Maybe Rita will be. Maybe not. It's still a crap shoot.


Today is talk like a pirate day. I know damned little about pirates, except that they were romantic, dashing figures that history has painted with a colorful brush. Many of them ended by taking a long swing on a short rope.

I thought it might be illuminative to look at some female pirates and try to determine how successful they were. Then I stumbled upon this, and decided to give up the search.
Cheng I Sao (Ching Yih Saou) — 1810s, South China Sea, commanded either five or six squadrons consisting of 800 large junks, about 1,000 smaller vessels, and between 70,000 and 80,000 men and women
No doubt, she was a pirate fo the first rank. I bet she made the British navy soil themselves.

For more on female pirates, go here.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Michael responds.

Cool! Michael responded to my Disaster post. You can read the whole thing in the comment section. He makes some good points. Lets look at some of them, shall we?
Aw, Pawpaw--not my job? That's the best you can come up with?
Yep. It's not what I choose to do. I choose to do my job and come home and play with my family. However, I am still actively engaged in caring for refugees. I don't know anything about you, Michael. You might be volunteering for the Red Cross. You might be standing in the mud helping the unfortunate. You might be cooking meals to feed the dispossessed. I just don't know. I know that I am still here, on the job, trying to make things better. Where are you?

It is the job of Governor Blanco to do better. Worrying about turf and political power while her citizens are in danger is just a little petty in my view.

It is Ray Nagin's job to do better. He presided over a disaster, then watched his city dissolve into anarchy. When the citizens banded together to protect what was theirs, his police chief issued the order that firearms would be confiscated. When I watched the video of police officers body-slamming an elderly woman who just wanted to be left alone, I was sickened. That happened on Nagin's watch. When I saw pictures of police officers looting, I was sickened. That happened on Nagin's watch.

Lets move along, shall we?
Yes, we've known since before 1927 that New Orleans was vulnerable to flooding, although check the record--NOLA didn't flood in 1927. Plaquemines flooded, thanks to deliberate dynamiting of levees below NOLA--and the data suggests that NOLA wouldn't have flooded even if they hadn't done that.
Good point. Here is a better one. New Orleans is still below sea level. The Mississippi river is still above sea level at that point. This wasn't the big one, and all the disaster predictions are still valid. Katrina wasn't the big one. Katrina missed New Orleans. Katrina was a near miss with a flood wall breach. The big one is still yet to come. And it will, eventually. This disaster was just a rehearsal.

More from Michael:
It seems as if, judging from your post, that you have a certain yearning for the 19th century,
Not really. I remember when air conditioning was something you found in state of the art restaurants and grocery stores. My dad didn't install A/C until I had left home. I remember being cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The good old days sucked in a lot of ways. Cars needed tuneups every 6000 miles. Stores closed at 6:00 p.m. There were NO 24 hour gas stations.

I tell my grandkids that I walked to school, 2 miles, in the snow, uphill both directions. They laugh, and rightfully so. I also remember a time that if you wanted something, you worked for it. I remember my people being horrified at LBJ's Great Society. I remember the first black person who came into my all-white school, and I remember wondering what all the fuss was about. She looked okay to me. I was in the fourth grade at the time, and I don't recall ever being taught in my home that we should treat anyone with less dignity or respect than we expected for ourselves. My mother was quite stern in that regard.

More from comments:
As to your suggestion re: foot toddling (see The Sweet Science by A.J. Liebling, also the author of The Earl of Louisiana for more on that)...present laws prohibit foot travel on highways, I presume for public safety reasons. Should we rescind those laws?
I personally don't know of any Louisiana law that prohibits foot traffic on a parish road, state highway, or US route. I am aware that foot traffic is prohibited on Interstate highways except in emergencies. I have never arrested anyone for walking on a public road, and I'm not going to start. I'll grant that the folks in Gretna have some answering to do about turning around the refugees on the bridge. It'll be interesting to see how Charles Foti handles that one.

The next point:
I took about an hour to examine some logistics re: evacuation of upwards of 100,000 people lacking cars in a major metropolitan area without significant mass transit, and have come to the conclusion that, yes, it could be accomplished in less than 24 hours
If you have come up with a way to move 100K citizens in under 24 hours, then you should run for office. Seriously. That qualification alone may be in great demand during the next election cycle.

About compensation:
Finally, your point re: water flows downhill, i.e., those schmucks should've known--well, the reality is that LOTS of folks with decidedly better resources than the dirt poor also have total losses...well, they've presumably got some sort of insurance to cushion the fall. However, survivors of 9/11 victims who were on the upper end weren't told to shove it--in fact, compensation was pro-rated based on factors like income (do you think this was wrong?).
Actually, you analysis is flawed here on a basic level. The flooding was a natural disaster. The 9/11 strike was an act of war. You're talking about two different things here. As to your point on compensation, I don't believe that compensation should be expected on any level. I don't think anyone should expect government to take care of them. I believe that government should provide roads and bridges and competent police and fire protection. I'll include a competent military to deal with outside threats. Other than that, I pretty much want government to leave me alone.

The kicker:
Costs and logistics--and planning -- for a natural disaster can and should be handled by the federal government, and, whether or not we like it, it's the right thing to do.
Here is where we differ on a large scale. I believe that the planning should be done by the locals, because we are best able to know what we need when it comes to disaster planning. If you ask for Federal help, then you have to put up with Federal boots on the ground. If the Feds are going to handle everything, then why even bother with state and local government? Lets just appoint a bunch of bureaucrats to run our local institutions. Hell, we've practically done that in education now.

The (almost) closing:
For every queer in San Francisco affected by an earthquake, for instance, there's someone who is the epitome of a family man. For every nutjob who chooses to live in a floodplain in Illinois, there's a farmer simply looking for a fair price for his corn (or wheat, if it's North Dakota--and don't forget that those folks also live in blizzard country). For every dumbass who lives in tornado alley, there's a rancher who's goal is to make a living providing what the public demands.
I don't see a point here. We're diverse? Yeah, that is what makes America great. And that natural disaster can strike anywhere? Agreed. That doesn't mean I expect anything. It just makes us all equal.

I've got laundry to do. Have a nice weekend.

Remington 870 Express

I bought a shotgun yesterday. I was looking at my all-too-sparse battery of firearms and realized that I didn't own a personal riot shotgun. For my entire career I have fired shotguns during annual qualification and my personal armory has a couple of utilitarian hunting shotguns.

Mine looks like this:
Remington 870

As pump shotguns go, the Remington 870 is about as generic as it comes. Police agencies use them, sportsmen use them, target shooters use them. The standard Remington pump shotgun comes in a dazzling array of stocks, barrels, gauges, and styles to fit any game, or any budget. If it were to be introduced today, the 870 would be hailed as a breakthrough in shotgun design. It is strong, durable, sleek, with a silky smooth action. The fact that is has been around over half a century is testiment to its versatility and utility as a modern firearm.

There is no sound anywhere in the world that sounds like a pump shotgun being brought into action. That "shack-shack" sound shatters through the bullshit and puts everyone in earshot on notice that the conversation just got serious. Police shotguns are normally carried with the barrel empty and the magazine full. The officer only has to pump the forearm to put a shell in the chamber and be ready to fire 9 .30 cal balls. The shotgun is a devastating short-range weapon and people of all stripes universally accept that fact.

I have been present at large disturbances (read: bar-fight) where the combatant citizens were immediately brought under control by the simple act of an officer walking through the door of the building and jacking a shell into the chamber. No matter how drunk a person might be, no matter how combative he might be, no matter what else is going on immediately, that sound will clear the fog from his brain and the blood from his eyes.

The best part of the whole exercise is that I got mine cheap. I happened to wander into a pawn shop yesterday and saw it sitting in the rack. I engaged the shopkeeper in conversation. I dickered and bargained, and when it was said and done, I walked out with it under my arm for $225.00 cash money. My copy has some weird camo treatment on the stock, but a little sandpaper and linseed oil will take care of that. I might even spring for a synthetic stock for it.

I think I done good.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Some thoughts on disaster recovery.

All eight of my frequent readers know that one of the blogs on my blogroll is Your Right Hand Thief. The author, who operates under the nom de plume Oyster, is one of the unfortunates from New Orleans. The Oyster is currently in other longitudes, but vows to return and help rebuild the city. I hope so. We need diverse viewpoints if this state and country are going to function properly. I like reading Oysters work. As much as I disagree with him sometimes, I feel that we are on the same side of the barricades and if we can get through the dialogue, we can make this state a better place.

I frequently comment over there, and today I voiced the opinion that Governor Blanco screwed the pooch during the Katrina exercise. One of the commenters, Michael, took exception and issued the following comment:
Pawpaw--here's a question/challenge: find the money in the NOLA or State budget to handle the disaster response--make an accurate estimate of total operational costs, identify who and how many responders (where they are pre-storm, how they'd be deployed post storm), identify shelter locations, identify and price equipment like spare pumps to handle the task of draining the city, identify specific instances of malfeasance by local and state officials as to levee maintenence...should be pretty easy since there's blame to spread.

Finally, I'd like to know if, on the evacuation side, how a scenario like Hurricane Ivan would be handled, i.e., a dramatic near-miss that fortunately didn't hit the city but did force an evacuation.

Feel free to suggest taxes, revenue enhacements, specific budget cuts in other areas, or existing state Treasury funds.
That is certainly worth fisking. Lets begin, shall we?

Michael, lets begin with your first paragraph:
find the money in the NOLA or State budget to handle the disaster response--make an accurate estimate of total operational costs, identify who and how many responders (where they are pre-storm, how they'd be deployed post storm), identify shelter locations, identify and price equipment like spare pumps to handle the task of draining the city, identify specific instances of malfeasance by local and state officials as to levee maintenence...should be pretty easy since there's blame to spread.
Not my job. I am a street cop. It IS the Governor's job. She wanted the job, directly campaigned for it. She should be doing it. Mayor Nagin shares responsibility because he is the CEO of the city. It is his job to answer those questions too.

We've known about this scenario for a long time. The basic scenario of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans was too doomsday to contemplate. Well, contemplate it now. All of our Governors since 1927 failed to take the warnings seriously. It happened to occur on Blanco's watch. She will take the heat, and frankly, a lot of her constituents have seen just how good the roads and bridges and infrastructure are in other states. If they come back to Louisiana, they are going to want to know why the roads here are so terrible. Politics in Louisiana changed on August 25, 2005. The Democratic leaders of this state failed their constituents. The Democrats have been in virtual control of this state since reconstruction. We still have the worst roads, one of the worst education systems, one of the most corrupt governments in the nation. Failure exists at every level. We need to start getting it right.

Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that the Governor of a state or a Mayor of a city should be held directly responsible for everything that happens during their watch, but I am naive enough to believe that if they don't take corrective action then the voters should take corrective action. I'm not campaigning for their job, nor am I saying they should be impeached, but I think that this disaster has opened the eyes of a lot of people and that politics as usual won't be tolerated in Louisiana. We have a hard task ahead of us. The citizens of Louisiana deserve leadership and the leadership displayed by Governor Blanco has fallen far short of the mark. I voted for Governor Blanco last time. I thought she would do a good job. I was wrong.

As to Mayor Nagin, his list of failures is too weighty to list here, but the simple fact that he hasn't fired Eddie Compass is enough to make me question his competence.

On to the second paragraph:
Finally, I'd like to know if, on the evacuation side, how a scenario like Hurricane Ivan would be handled, i.e., a dramatic near-miss that fortunately didn't hit the city but did force an evacuation.
It's called personal responsibility. I understand basic physics, like the immutable fact that in a gravity environment, water flows downhill. I have lived in floodplains and made arrangements to evacaute, to do what I had to do. When water threatened, we took time to attend to our livestock and neighbors and got the hell out. I now live on top a hill. A big hill.

Take the Ivan scenario. If everyone is personally responsible, they grab their SHTF bag and head out the door. Check on the neighbors on the way out. Go to a pre-arranged location in another longitude. Wait three days and go home. I know that is simplistic, but the simplest plans are the best.

What about all those folks who couldn't get out? They couldn't get out since 1927? Hell, in seventy years you can walk a long way. The trek from St. Louis to Oregon didn't take that long. Millions of Americans made that trek on foot, back in the 1800's. Granted, the day before a hurricane is a little late to get started. You're probably going to get wet. It is about personal responsibility.

If people choose to live in New Orleans, then they should be willing to accept the risks. If you live in a place you can't get away from, then you probably should take a good look at your life. Understand the risks. Make decisions that will minimize those risks. And if necessary, start walking. Americans have done it before.

Now, having said all that, I'm still helping to care for internally displaced persons. Some of their stories tear at my heart strings. I hope and pray that they get their lives together, and make some decisions about how to spend the rest of it.

Frankly, I hope that New Orleans comes back stronger, more diverse, more exotic than before. I like visiting there and have lots of memories from that town. I hope to make many more memories there. But I won't live there, because water flows downhill.

10 Codes

Those of us lucky (accursed?) enough to have a job in law enforcement talk in 10-codes on the radio. We don't talk in code when speaking face-to-face. The surest sign of a rookie is someone who speaks in 10-codes when not on the radio. I don't know the origin of the code system, and I know that it varies from state to state. What I might call a 10-33 (network is reserved for emergency traffic) here in Louisiana, someone else might call by a different code. The CB radio boys picked up the 10-codes during the Smokey and the Bandit phase of Americana, and the long-haul truckers used it over the roadways with some regional variations. 10-codes are a vital piece of the law enforcement culture.

One of the most used 10-codes is 10-8. When you go 10-8 you let your dispatcher know that you are "in service, available for call". Most codes have opposites. For example, the opposite of 10-8 might be 10-6. 10-6 means "Busy". As in "I am busy doing what you last sent me to do."

Dispatchers and supervisors respect those codes. The dispatchers have a sergeant there, usually an officer of great experience and knowledge. The sergeant knows that when you are - - working a wreck, for example, you might have eight or ten things going on at a single time. You have rubber-neck traffic to deal with, you have tow-trucks to deal with. Maybe an ambulance or two, and maybe a fire truck. You have relatives showing up, cluttering up your traffic, to pick up the walking wounded, or inquiring about the nearest hospital, or wondering where the tow-truck hauled the debris. Not to mention the paperwork. You are in fact, 10-6. Busy.

The dispatcher, on the other hand, has to clear her calls. She (all personal pronouns are generic) has a list of incoming calls that need attention and a list of units available to service those calls. It is her job to get units rolling to protect and serve the public, to assist the officers on a call by sending the assets the officer needs, and to keep the sergeant amused during a long shift. A sergeant and a dispatcher are partners, just like the two officers in the cruiser are partners.

But, the sergeant knows how busy a routine call can get, and when you are 10-6, he (again, all personal pronouns are generic) will prevent the dispatcher from giving the officer another call. Lets say, for the sake of this exercise, that I am in unit 920. The radio conversation might go like this:

Dispatch: "Dispatch, 920"

920: "920"

Dispatch: "Are you able to go 10-8?"

920: "negative. The ambulance just got here and I have a wrecker standing by. It'll be a few minutes. I'm still 10-6."

The sergeant might ask again in 10 minutes, but they won't give you another call until you are finished with the first one. We can only do one thing at a time, especially when that one thing actually has ten or fifteen things going on simultaneously. As soon as you go 10-8, you'll get the next call, and it will be a long night when calls start stacking on the dispatchers log.

All this to tell you about 10-codes, and to let you know that for the next several hours, I'll be 10-6 at the range.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Today is done. I strapped on my duty belt at 6:30 a.m. this morning and took it off for good at 11:15 p.m. Yeah, the team lost, but they got points on the board against a real powerhouse.

So, I am sitting here at the computer, with a cold coke. I accidentally splashed a little bourbon in it as I was passing the bar. Shit happens.

Today was a smashing success because I protected and served the people I live among, and in doing so, I accomplished the prime mission for every law enforcement officer: I came home safe at the end of the shift.

For those who might wonder about the title of this post, it is the final radio call of the day. When you finally get home, when you are powering down the cruiser, the last thing you do is to pick up the mike and tell the station that you are 10-7. Out of service.

I'm 10-7.
Friday was a long day, and it ain't over yet. I have to work the local high school football game in a couple of hours, and the team we are going to be playing is going to kick our butt. Clean our clock. Show us how the cow ate the cabbage.

I'm home long enough to change tee-shirts. Body armor doesn't breathe, and in humid Louisiana, working traffic in the sun is a recipe for heatstroke. The tee shirt I just took off was soaked with sweat. Not damp, but soaked. I wrung it out over the toilet before I put it in the hamper. I'm gonna get some tea in me, re-hydrate a little, kiss Milady, and head back to work.

Gonna put that body armor back on, too. I have it hanging over a rack so it will dry out a little bit.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wal-Mart guns

I was walking through Wal-Mart last night and happened to stop by the Sporting Goods section. (Imagine that!) I notice that the firearms are back in the gun case, ready for display and sale.

Very good.

Anecdotes and Katrina money

I talked yesterday with a friend of mine who works as a police officer in a major Texas metropolitan area. We'll call him Allen. Allen tells me that "every sumbitch that I arrest claims he just got off the bus from New Orleans."

I chide him. "Aw, c'mon. It can't be that bad."

Allen responds,"Some of them, I've been arresting for three or four years, but now, suddently, they're all Kristina evacuees. - - Lotsa money to be made in being a Katrina evacuee."

Yeah, buddy! I bet there is! I am always amazed at the scamming ability of the rational human being. Suddenly, there is a lot of money floating around tied to the Katrina invoice. There will be scammers at all levels trying to get a piece of it. From the hobo getting off a bus in Lubbock, to a contractor selling shingles, to the politicians that see an opportunity to bring home a little pork. A little poached pork.

We need absolutely bipartisan (no-partisan??) controls on that money, to make sure the people who need it, get it. And them whut don't deserve it, don't get it.

As a Louisiana native, I can say with some certainty that the politicians (from the Queen Bee on down) need to be kept away from it. It needs to be controlled in a transparent, seamless, equitable manner. Y'all figger that out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

First Katrina Arrests

I see here where the operators of St. Rita's Nursing home have been arrested.

Louisiana AG Charles Foti has charged them with 34 counts of negiligent homicide in the deaths of elderly residents of that St. Bernard Parish nursing home. According to the press release, the prisoners are located in Bton Rouge.
Mable B. Mangano, who is listed as both an owner and administrator and Salvador A. Mangano, Sr., listed as a co-owner, were arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison as fugitives. Mable Mangano and Salvador Mangano, Sr., are each charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide.
Now, if only we could get Compass arrested by the Feds for civil rights violations.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Landrieu's meltdown

I was reading over at Coyote at the Dog Show about Mary Landrieu's meltdown on Fox news the other day.

Poor ole Mary. Our Senior Senator from Louisiana watched as her constituency got on the bus and left the area.

I've got to give Senator Landrieu credit. I have written her a few letters over the years and she generally falls in line with the sportsmen of the state when it comes to gun related issues. She makes noise on the floor of the Senate, but I have to give her a solid C where it comes to gun rights issues.

But, as to her meltdown, you have to imagine the horror of watching all your voters go away. Literally. Orleans Parish carried Mary during the last election and there ain't enough voters in town right now to get a school board race going.

Note to Senator Landrieu: Come on, Senator. Tell us who was responsible for all those flooded school buses. The same kind of school buses that your voters finally left town on. Wouldn't it have been better to crank them up and get them out of harms way (with about 50 residents each on them) than to let them sit and be inundated? We all know the answer, and it isn't pretty, but as our Senator we want to see if you can answer this question. If you can't, then you have no business running for re-election next time.

The eyes of Lousisana are upon you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Where are the Sex Offenders?

Good question. I was surfing over at Wizbang, and he asked it first, as far as I know.

I have some small expertise in this area, and I can imagine that the Division of Probation and Parole is going crazy trying to figure out where all these people went.

The deal is, a sex offender can't cross a parish line without written permission from his probation or parole officer and when I was doing sex offender work, the state parole board had adopted a no-tolerance policy for sex offenders absconding from supervision.

The Louisiana State Police registry lists all the sex offenders in Orleans Parish, and anyone can search it. Just go here and use the search engine to search Orleans Parish.

Somebody is going to be asking for a whole lot of absconder warrants.

Found the video

I went over to the Gun Owners of New Hampshire website and found the video of the cops slamming a New Orleans resident that was holding a gun. Scroll down to where it says CHiP Officer. The resident was a head-strong elderly woman who was holding the gun by the cylinder. She was not threatening the officers. They took the gun. From my perspective it looked like a battery and a robbery. From the narration in the video, the officers were identified as California Highway Patrol officers.

I wrote my Governor an outraged letter. Then I edited it and prepared it for mailing. The officers in that video should be prosecuted, and Governor Blanco should be the official that brings it to the attention of the Attorney General.

Come to think of it, the Attorney General of the state of Louisiana is an elected official. Before being elected Attorney General, he was the Sheriff of Orleans Parish. Maybe I should write him a letter, too.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Saints

Milady is reading the newspaper and notices that because of Katrina, the Saints will play their opener in South Carolina. She also notices a hurricane bearing down on the East Coast and wonders if these hurricanes are actually God's revenge on the Saints.

Could be. It's as good a theory as any.


You know, it seems to me that the New Orleans travesty might be the best possible scenario for a good test case for the 2nd amendment. I'm no lawyer and I don't know if anyone has thought much about this yet. Follow me for a minute here:

1. Armed citizens banded together in New Orleans to protect lives, homes and property when faced with a total breakdown of law and order. They managed to keep some sections of New Orleans safe. If that isn't a militia, I haven't seen one in this century.

2. This Federal District (5th US Circuit) is the one that decided Emerson. You can read the decision here. As far as I know, this little enclave of reason is the only place in the United States where the right to bear arms is considered an individual right.

Many of my commenters don't have any faith in the Courts, but my opinion of the Court system in the baliwicks in this state is not as jaded. Our Judges are elected and the ones I know are sportsmen. Hunters and fishermen. Every Judge that I personally know owns guns. Uses them. Most of us down here read Emerson as a "Well, duh!" moment. Of course RKBA is an individual right. The South is full of guns and the state judges are just like the rest of us.

The citizens of New Orleans formed unorganized militias in the wake of a natural disaster when organized government was unable to respond. If that doesn't make a hell of a test case, then the money I send to the NRA is wasted. I keep checking the NRA site, but I don't see anything. Those guys need to get on the ball.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Gun Confiscation?

The NOPD is confiscating guns from otherwise law-abiding citizens? The hell you say.

From reports I get here, and here, they're taking firearms as part of the general emergency order from the Governor and specific orders from the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police, a Mr. Compass, has made a decision that may affect the rest of his career. Especially when his order has been found to be in violation of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution, not to mention numerous portions of the Louisiana Constitution and Louisiana Revised Statutes.

To those residents who are being affected, take names. Get the names of the officers and their department affiliation. Don't be rude, don't be threatening. Let the officers do whatever it is they might do. If you resist, all is lost.

Remember the words of Robert E. Lee: "No gentleman is rude accidently." There will be plenty of time to be rude later, when you are garnishee-ing the paychecks of everyone involved. The judgements are going to be huge, and those cops will be working for you for a long, long time. Not to mention the considerable cash that you get from the city.

Attend to your safety. Make the officers carry you to a place of safety. They are there, after all, to evacuate you. Don't do anything to jeapordize your safety. Stay safe. You'll soon be rich, and able to buy any gun your heart desires.

Then, as soon as you are able, find a Federal Courthouse. Go there and talk to a US Attorney. Tell him you want to file charges for violations of your civil rights. Give him your list of names of the individual officers. Then, go find a good plaintiff lawyer. There are hundreds of them out of work from New Orleans alone. Get one with the demeanor of a bulldog, the fortitude of a snapping turtle, and the personality of a rattlesnake. Tell him you want to sue the officers involved for violation of your civil rights. If that lawyer doesn't swoon, or get an erection, you have the wrong lawyer. You should be able to see the dollar signs roll in his eyes. Sue those bastards for everything they are worth. Sue them in state court for violating your rights under the Louisiana Constitution, sue them in Federal Court for violating your civil rights. Sue them till their noses bleed, and be rude about it.

Have your lawyer pester the living hell out of the US attorney until he arrests those bastards. Officers acting under color of law understand that they cannot break the law to uphold it and that the US Constitution forbids certain actions. Officers that commit criminal acts cannot hide behind the orders of superiors. That defense died at Nuremburg.

I am saddened and horrified at the actions of the NOPD, both during and after the event that Katrina became. There have got to be some good officers in that department, but news I read from the city and first hand accounts from officers I have talked with lead me to believe that the NOPD is in a crisis of its own making.

In my career as a cop, I have personally arrested three bad cops. They sullied the uniform I wore and corroded the trust that has to exist between a police department and the citizenry we protect. The oath we take requires us to protect the law as much as protecting the people and we are not above the law. Our oath requires us to uphold the law in the face of danger to our persons or our career. I have threatened to arrest other cops, and I have protested orders when those orders seemed to violate state law. Any cop who violates the rights of citizens while acting under illegal orders is a criminal and should be treated like one.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Good writing

This guy lays it out better than anyone I have seen about the political disaster that Katrina has become. Go read it now.

I think that about says it all.

Hat tip to the Acidman.

Measuring powder

I just finished measuring powder for the .243 Win loads that I have worked up for the article I am writing on that caliber. I loaded five cartridges each, with four different powder weights and two different powders. I am using IMR 4831 and Reloder19 for these loads and I was careful to measure each cartridge to plus or minus 1/10th grain. The bullet is the 95 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, which has a reputation for excellent accuracy.

Generally, I set the powder measure to throw a specific weight, and I check it every ten rounds or so. If I am loading light charges of fast powder, like Bullseye for .45ACP, I might not check the weight but every 50 rounds. I know what 4.5 grains of Bullseye looks like, and I look at each charge before I seat that bullet. If it doesn't look right, I dump the charge and throw another one.

But, tonite was different. Each charge was weighed exactly and the bullet was seated immediately. I loaded 40 rounds total and it took just a little over an hour.

Records keeping is a bitch when you are working up loads, because all the loaded rounds look alike. One simple trick is to mark each primer with a different color felt marker. With two powders, the bullets were marked with a single color for the different powders and I have a key in the top of the bullet box so I can look at the bullet and primer and know just exactly what is loaded in the case.

I can load for the .45 ACP, the .357 magnum, the 7mm magnum, and the .45-70 without thinking much about it, because I went through the cartridge development stage with each of those calibers long ago. I know what works and I stick with that.

Loading for the .30-30 is probably simplest. 30 grains of 3031 is a standard load that has worked for a lot of folks for a long time.

I had forgotten how demanding it is to work up loads for a rifle. The hard work is done now, and I'll get to shoot them this weekend. Look for the article in a couple of weeks, in The Frugal Outdoorsman.


I read here where a number of restaurants in New Orleans are moving their headquarters. That's to be expected. New Orleans took a hit. A big hit, and it will be a while before their tourist industry rebounds. Before the tourist industry rebounds, the city is going to be full of construction workers, and those folks are going to need something to eat.

Any restauranteur who is ready to go the minute the electricity is turned on will be sitting pretty for the duration of the exercise. Gumbo, etouffee, and po-boys are simple foods that feed a lot of people. A good rib joint would be a huge draw. Steaks are easy to make, along with baked potatos and salad.

The easiest way to service industry wealth might be a couple of kegs of beer on ice, in a tent with fans. I bet that as long as the beer was flowing, the hammer and crowbar crowd would help with moving the empty kegs.

It might be a while before the fine restaurants get back in business, but have you tried this lately?

Beef brisket, served over rice, covered with crawfish etouffee.
Creamed corn
Green beans
Hot yeast rolls
Iced tea.

It don't get any better than that. You can serve it elegantly, you can serve it simply. The restaurant industry in New Orleans knows that, and the smart ones are making plans now to get back as soon as the water is pumped out.

The Great Skedaddle, Louisiana Edition

I'm reading the other side of the blogosphere, and have noticed that some of the guys I regularly read are back blogging. This one here, and this one, and this one. They all got out during the Great Skedaddle, and at least two of them plan to return. I'm glad. We are going to need everyone to help pick up the pieces. Only God Himself knows how many bloggers were displaced during this thing, and I'm glad to see folks are safe and back online.

We're still here, working and trying to transition into Louisiana ver2.0. Y'all come on back and help out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I was told today that refugee is not a politically correct term.

Ny research indicates that the word means someone seeking refuge. If that isn't accurate, what is?

We don't have time for political correctness right now. To busy caring for the people that need refuge.

Prepping brass

One of the most onerous tasks of reloading is prepping brass. I'm getting ready to reload for the .243 and I found a bunch of brass I had stored a couple of years ago. When I stored it, I just sorted it, put it into zipper bags, and dropped it in a storage box. Tonite I dug it out, and

Decapped it
Full length sized it
Trimmed it
Camfered it.

Each piece of empty brass was handled four times, and frankly, I'm tired of messing with it. Reloaders know what I mean, when you have to get brass ready to reload. Tomorrow afternoon I'll give the brass a final inspection, cap it, and load it. Again, each piece of brass will be handled four times. But then I'll have some loads that I can evaluate prior to hunting season.

While looking for .243 brass, I found a bunch of old .338 Win Mag brass that I accumulated somewhere. From looking at the specs of that brass, I believe that I can neck it down to 7mm Rem Mag. Anyone have any experience doing that?

Monday, September 05, 2005

What she said


Yup, yup, yup. Go read it for yourself.

Sean Penn, Nitwit

Jeez, guys, did you read this?

It seems Penn went into New Orleans to rescue people, but wound up in a leaky boat and the motor wouldn't start. His entourage was large enough that it included a personal photographer.
Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch. When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.
I've been on rescue teams. One of the first rules is - Don't go if you may need rescue yourself. Another prime rule is - Don't go until you have checked all your equipment.

Taking a personal photographer shows that all Penn was looking for was publicity. That in itself is a rather strange motivation for an Oscar award winning actor. Taking along a personal photog is the height of arrogance. One bystander taunted him.
With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"
Sean Penn, along with Jesse Jackson, are prime nominees for my "This Guy Needs His Ass Kicked" award.

Jackson makes Demands

We read here where Jesse Jackson, major African American victim, rode some busses with "internally displaced persons" into Central Louisiana today and made a demand that... well, read it yourself.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson rode into Alexandria late Saturday night with three buses of evacuees from storm-ravaged New Orleans and demanded that England Airpark be made available as a temporary home for them.

As for Jackson and his entourage he said his next stop before leaving the area was England Airpark, where they intended to demand that it be open for permanent housing for the evacuees now staying in Cenla shelters.
I don't know what the response is from the guys who run the England Authority, but I bet they'll make room for as many folks as they can.

The fact that Jesse is making demands is laughable. He isn't in charge of anything.

The Good Reverend should remember one basic thing about making demands. Don't make a demand you can't enforce. Ole Jesse has no stroke except for the cameras that follow him around like whores. He makes good copy, but is rapidly becoming a laughable caricature of the failed policies of the past. He would have starved to death years ago except that he is a master at manipulating the news media.

Frankly, if I were running the England Authority, I would have Jesse arrested for trespassing the moment he stepped foot on the place. The Gummint didn't want England AFB, and the good folks of Central Louisiana took it and made it into something special.

We in Central Louisiana have made dramatic efforts to provide for the care and security of thousands of displaced persons. We are proud of our efforts. None of this is of our making and we are trying to help. We are trying to care for needs, not wants. Certainly not demands.

What Jesse really needs is his ass whipped. If he keeps making demands around here, he may get just exactly what he needs.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Comment Spammers must die

Sitting here in the living room, waiting on the third load from the dryer, I noticed that I was being comment spammed. Again. I enabled word verification (hat tip to Kelly for showing me how).

I hope this keeps the spam out without being too intrusive on my good commenters from both sides of the aisle. If it doesn't, email me at (rangemaster at castbullet dot com) and I'll reconsider.

Witing on the dryer to beep.

I see the Right Reverend Jesse Jackson on TV. He was in New Orleans recently, either in an airplane or a bus. How many people did he bring out with him? Now he is on TV pointing fingers. He probably could have brought out a half-dozen or so. He obviously ain't part of the solution, so he must be part of the problem. Another warm body taking up oxygen and using toilet paper, while refugees suffer.


Weekend update, Sunday edition

Well, the relief effort continues, and LTG Honore is on the ground. Say what you will about a military presence, but when a Lieutenant General with good leadership skills and a mission motivation gets on the ground, people start hopping. I have no doubt that the good General will soon have the military mission under control. Focused, orders in hand, missions being accomplished.

The evacuation continues, and the refugees are flooding north, west and generally finding what they need. We continue to watch coverage of the events in the affected areas. I'm flipping back and forth between CNN and FOX news networks.

The finger pointing has begun, and there is plenty to go around. But, before we get busy assigning blame, we better consider that this has been a life-changing event. Katrina has had a bigger impact than the 9/11 attacks. Thousands dead in New Orleans alone, billions in property damage scattered across three states, all infrastructure destroyed, along with untold thousands of residences and businesses. People died simply because we didn't get water to them.

However, we have to remember what the situation looked like on Friday, August 25th, 2005. It was a different world then. Mayor Nagin was enjoying the glow of being the mayor of the coolest city in the U.S. There was a storm in the Gulf, but Louisiana routinely weathers storms. If Nagin had gotten his act together Friday and ordered the evacuation of everyone in the city, if Governor Blanco had mobilized every bus in the state, and attempted to move the poorest, most impoverished residents out of the impact area, we have to ask ourselves how that would have proceeded?

Imagine the howls of protest if hundreds of busses had arrived in the housing areas of New Orleans and announced: "We are evacuating everyone. Take one change of clothes and get on the bus. We don't know where we are taking you, but you have to get out now. - - Everyone, right now - - Get on the bus." There would have been a riot, and rightfully so.

We in the United States don't force people from their homes (Well, prior to Kelo we didn't), but you get the idea. There is no way that Mayor Nagin could have moved the poorest, the most unable to move, without cries of racism and discrimination. The poor suffered, without doubt, but they still had the right to stay home. Mayor Nagin had an unwinable situation. He was damned what ever happened. He had a disaster relief plan, but it wasn't followed. He did a lot wrong, but when it became apparent that there would be massive damage and loss of life, it was too late to get people out. Remember, the levees didn't burst until after the storm had passed. We all thought we had dodged the bullet, then disaster struck.

Yeah, we could have strengthened the levees. We could have moved Federal Aid in more quickly, but remember what was going on last week. Seven days ago, the amount of devastation we have experienced was unthinkable. It was inconceivable. New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, and all the little communities in between have been destroyed. No one believed it would be this bad.

If you were in New Orleans and a Democrat, ask yourself why you allowed incompetent local leadership to not care for the least of our brothers. If you are a Republican, and live in New Orleans, ask yourself why you didn't do more to help. If you are a local official anywhere, ask yourself how you are going to evacuate your entire city on 48 hour notice. If you are a Federal or state official, ask yourself how you are going to support the local officials. If you are an impoverished resident of anywhere, ask yourself how you are going to care for your family when the Shit Hits The Fan.

We have done magnificent things since the levees broke. We have done horrible things. We have literally picked up over a million people and moved them 200 miles. Many of them evacuated themselves, many of them had family and friends in other cities. Many of them didn't leave, many of them must rely on outside aid. We are still getting folks out. Folks that probably wouldn't or couldn't get on the bus last week.

There is plenty of room for finger pointing, if you are pointing at yourself,but no room for assigning blame. The local officials screwed up, the state officials screwed up, the Feds screwed up. Failure at every level, from individual responsibility to national policy allowed this disaster to unfold. Last week it was unimaginable. This week it is fact.

I could have done more. You could have done more. What are we going to do next time?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Weekend update.

I spent yesterday taking care of refugees, and these people need care. Basic stuff like food, water, diapers for infants, and basic necessities that we normally run down to the store to get. I worked from 7:00 a.m. yesterday and walked back into my house at 11:00 p.m. last night. Long day.

Today and tomorrow I am off, so I am going to play with Milady, and try to unwind. Labor Day, I will be working the road, because the line units are shorthanded from covering disaster relief. Other officers are assisting at relief centers, which are everywhere in this area. We still have officers in New Orleans. I am positive that we will be in disaster mode on Labor Day and I don't look forward to the duty. It is a burden to be borne with dignity and humanity and I hope that I can muster the sense of humor to get through it. I ain't looking forward to it.

More blogging next week, or as time and energy allow.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


My hometown (Alexandria/Pineville, LA) is about 180 miles from New Orleans, and thankfully, we were spared from the ravages of Katrina. Here locally, we got some breezy days and absolutely no rain while New Orleans and the Gulf Coast was catching hell. We're in good shape, locally. Because of our location, a lot of refugees are in town and this is a launching point for the relief effort.

Just down the road from my house, at Camp Beauregard (a National Guard facility), we see lots of commercial 18 wheel trucks bringing in relief supplies. The Louisiana National Guard has a brigade overseas, and the Headquarters of the LANG is in New Orleans, so they took a major hit. The folks at Camp Beauregard seem to be consolidating the relief effort and FEMA trucks are using it constantly. A few local Guard units have been activated as part of the relief effort and I have friends down there serving in that mess.

Across the river, in Alexandria, the Coast Guard has set up at Alexandria International Airport, a converted Air Force Base. I'm not sure what they are doing over there, but they are busy. The place is a beehive of activity.

Local police agencies have sent officers to New Orleans and the adjacent parishes, so we are working understaffed, but it is important to restore order and help the folks down there that need it. Law enforcement is a brotherhood and when a Sheriff calls for assistance, we tend to drop what we are doing and go help. Again, I have friends in local uniforms protecting and serving in that area.

We have a bunch of refugees in town, and I don't know if the number has been reported yet, but there are refugees at a number of civic buildings across Alexandria and Pineville. Many churches and schools have opened their doors to evacuees and we are doing the best we can with the overflow from the New Orleans area. We expect more as the evacuation continues.

The local schools are enrolling students that suddenly find themselves without a place to study. Lets face it, the New Orleans school system is toast, and will be for a while. Rapides Parish has opened the door for education and all the local schools are enrolling students.

Many evacuees have close ties to this community. For example, my sister is a resident of Mandeville, LA, and they were hit by the storm. She and her husband are camped out at Momma's place. If they had school-age children, they would be going to the local schools.

Many evacuees don't have any ties to this community and are being housed where ever the officials can find a bed for them. Rumors abound, but I have been unable to verify any of them. Folks like to gossip and the stories going around are getting better with each repeated telling. Don't believe everything you hear.

It seems that when Katrina went into the Gulf and threatened Louisiana, the refineries that were at risk shut down. The offshore oilfield was evacuated and production ceased for a few days. Much of the oilfield is now damaged. We are seeing a local shortage of unleaded gasoline. Prices are climbing and a number of local stations are out of unleaded gasoline. I expect that this shortage will be short lived and we'll see adequate supplies as the offshore rigs and refineries come back online, albeit at higher prices. One friend of mine has a husband who works offshore and he is out there now, trying to get his production rig back online. There are very few folks in the world who understand the petroleum industry like the roughnecks from South Louisiana, so I am confident that the oil will begin flowing soon.

It would be a big help if California and Florida would start tapping into their reserves offshore. One storm shouldn't shut down the whole gasoline distribution system, but it looks like that is what happened, at least locally. It would be really nice if we could burn some Florida gasoline until our offshore field is back running.

In short, Alexandria/Pineville is in crisis management mode, and will be for the near future. I'm sure that other communities across the state are operating in the same mode. It will be interesting to see how many of the evacuees will decide that they have lost everything and start over in this community that is new to them.

Federal Drinking Age.

I was surfing around this morning and went over to Say Uncle, who lead me to The link is to an article about lowering the drinking age.

I was in the generation that got the general age of majority lowered from 21 to 18. Yeah, it was the end of the hippy-dippy sixties and we were marching for anything at the drop of a hat. But, one of our great successes was getting the age of majority lowered, so that we could enter into contracts, buy property, vote, and buy a drink.

When we got the age lowered, all the benefits of adulthood came with it. One day you were a 17-year-old juvenile, the next day you were an adult.

Since then, I have noticed a steady erosion of the age of adulthood. The most egrerious example is that the Federal Gummint holds the booze hostage. If your state doesn't raise the drinking age to 21, then your state stands to lose Federal Highway Funds.

Frankly, if I were an eighteen-year-old, I would be hammering hard on my Congresscritters, and starting organizations that would highlight the loss of privelige to persons who are adults, but can't fully partake of adult life.

But, it seems that the 18 to 20 year old people today don't care about such things. What a friggin shame.