A few months back I was on the Above Politics Show with Martin Bain and Justin Case. They graciously asked me to come on the show to tell of my
experiences during Hurricane Katrina.
I was, and still am, very angry at how New Orleans is portrayed by not only the media, but the US government as the only place hit by Hurricane
Katrina. I believe the government and the media look at NO because it is the politically correct way to view things and while doing so, they have
forgotten what happened (which was far worse) to Mississippi.
Not two weeks after I posted this thread…and was on the show…my father (who lives in Arkansas) got a call from an agent with Homeland Security.
He started asking questions (which he clearly already knew the answers to) of my father about what I had lost in the storm, where I was, and had I
moved to Utah.
He called my mother who lives on the Coast, and asked her similar questions.
He tried to talk to one of my younger brothers, who told him to...well, let's just say my brother wouldn't talk to him.
I started getting phone calls from a number "6-000" and "6-606." Who can make a call from a number like that?!
I had come to Utah before the storm and ended up getting stranded here, because I had nowhere else to go. I had nothing to go back to (job, home,
even anywhere at all to stay), so, I restarted my life in Utah.
He told my family I was under investigation for fraud, perjury, theft of government funds, giving false information (I guess that is different from
perjury) and couple other things... All told, if convicted, I was going to be facing 60-70 YEARS.
By luck, if you call it that, I had a scheduled vacation on the week Katrina was to hit. However, Homeland Security wanted to say I moved from
Mississippi a few days before the storm to live in Utah. Never mind, I only had one paycheck on me, my Mississippi apartment (which was gone) was
full of my things, and my girlfriend and I both had requested vacation time three months before.
After Katrina, much of this was impossible to verify. My job, her job, and both of the places we worked were gone…not just closed…gone.
They wanted me to PROVE my intentions were to only go to Utah for a short time…how do I do that with nothing left? How does a person prove what they
A couple months after my father had his conversation, I had to fly to MS and meet with a Homeland Security Agent, who was to say the least…rude.
My former professor from USM was also a lawyer/judge on the Coast, so I was able to hire him to represent me.
I have never been more afraid in my life. I had a man in front of me, who not only wanted to, but had the ability to pretty much end my life.
After an hour or two of speaking with him, he left, clearly upset he had no case. The government dropped all the charges except for one. They say I
still lied on how I got to Utah. I say, I left for Utah and got stuck, they say I told them I was displaced (a very minor difference, which I would
never had said anyway). The charges are still hanging out there on me and may do so for sometime.
What really troubled me, though, was the information he had on me. He pulled up emails I had sent to family asking how they were doing, text messages
to my brothers, and a list of phone calls I had made during the week Katrina hit….clearly, I was labeled as a national security threat and the
Patriot Act was used on me.
I thought people might like to know the power of the federal government, and how quickly a person’s life can change…twice.
It has cost me over $15,000, but I will fight as long as I can. My professor says this is very much how the federal government works. They have
virtually unlimited resources and clearly mine are finite. If it keeps up much longer, I will be force to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit
and have a felony on my record.