The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

October 28, 2005

An assault on citizen rights

In New Orleans, legally owned guns taken

It was something we never believed we would see in the United States: Armed police and National Guardsmen taking firearms from law-abiding citizens – at gunpoint.

This happened in New Orleans, beginning about 11 days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and other Gulf Coast areas.

Not only did it happen, but the officers and soldiers weren’t very gentle about it.

For whatever reason, local officials decided that even lightly hit residential areas had to be evacuated, forcefully if necessary.

Police entered the home of elderly Patricia Konie, who told them she did not want to leave her home and ordered them out of her house.

She said she could protect her home and possessions with her gun, which police asked to see.

Konie displayed a small pistol in her open palm and a big cop body-slammed her into a wall, took her gun and dragged her outside to be forcefully evacuated.

This happened in America, “Land of the Free.”

Consider that this was a time of terror. Gangs had been roaming the city, looting, vandalizing and mugging innocent victims.

Police protection was almost nonexistent in many sections of the city.

One lawyer tried to call police to report an attempted break-in at his home, but it took him six days to reach police through 911, and then he said they told him they were too busy to come to his home.

He was quoted on CNN saying that if police and Guardsmen tried to disarm him there would be gunfire.

The point is that for many who remained in New Orleans, the only protection was what they could provide for themselves and each other.

Yet New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass said: “No one will be able to be armed. Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.”

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