Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Mississippi FUBAR Part I
What I should have said is that I will write up something later this week. The wife and I are expecting our second child around the fourth of November, and I have procrastinated for way to long. I will be blogging very little until the child is born and things have settled down a bit.
Now on to the Great state of Mississippi. I will be typing Mississippi a lot in because Mississippi has become my new favorite word to type. Mississippi has quite a flow on the keyboard.
Our group left for Mississippi on the evening of September 18th. In all we had 65 officers that were assigned to assist local Harrison County, Mississippi, law enforcement. We drove down in a caravan of 40 police cruisers. It was like a parade heading to Mississippi – we had several looks from passing motorist. The parade arrived in Mississippi on the 19th of September, where we were briefed about what or tasks were and then received our shots. I decided I would go with the Hepatitis A and the Tetanus shots only, since I have already been through the Hepatitis B shot series.
I was impressed with the briefing of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. He told it like it was, the brief started of with: “We have failed the citizens of the gulf coast region.” The meeting consisted of mainly biohazard warnings – “do not touch anything” was the jest of the briefing. As we drove from the briefing to the elementary school where we would be staying for a few days, it was obvious why they harped on the biohazards. The area looked like the Gulf of Mexico had thrown up on everything. There was raw sewage bubbling up from the storm drain and forming into huge pools on the road. There were craters where trees once stood. There was the smell of rot from all the animals and people that had yet to be uncovered. At the time of my visit, approximately eight hundred people were missing or unaccounted for in the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi. Most were swept out into the gulf as the storm surge receded. Over two hundred bodies had been found by the time we arrived in Mississippi.
On my first day of work, I was assigned to assist Harrison County Sheriff’s office in the northern portions of the county. Mainly, I drove around assisting Harrison County with day-to-day law enforcement calls. I did a lot of community policing, meaning… if I saw someone I would stop and talk with them. People would tell their stories. For instance, there was the grizzled former-Marine who did Island hopping in World War II, and as he told me the story I could see him holding back tears. He told me he had never been through anything like this, and that he road-out Hurricane Camille in 69’ but that storm was a pussy compared to Hurricane Katrina. He told me that with the next hurricane he is going to head North – no more riding out hurricanes. I also spoke with another grizzled Mississippian who told me his home made noise that no home should. And that if the storm had lasted another half hour his house would have been gone. He said the rattling doors really got to him, because he never knew if the next gust of wind would tear his house up and end it all. He was sheltering fourteen people in his house – neighbors and friends. During the storm he tied them all together with a rope and said that if the house blew apart he was going to tie them to his well and hope for the best.
After a few days, I was assigned to Henderson Point, which is the county land off the Bay of St. Louis. This is the area where the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over.
More to come later. (Hey I have to keep you coming back)