After Action Report Mississippi Gulf Coast – Hurricane Isaac + 7

By Paul Markel

You Loot We Shoot
After Action Report Mississippi Gulf Coast – Hurricane Isaac + 7

LUVERNE, AL –-( Today in Biloxi we were blessed with a full 24 hours without rain.

The sun shined down a pleasant breeze could be felt regularly coming from the southwest.

Floodwaters can still be found over low-lying roads and the rivers and inter-coastal waterways are still a bit higher than we need them to be.

While Hurricane Isaac came ashore as “only” a Category 1, he turned out to be wide and slow-moving. Many local veterans of Hurricane Katrina commented that Isaac left behind more floodwater than its stronger-winded cousin. On a personal level, our house has been through numerous hurricanes and tropical storms in the last four years but Isaac was the first one to sneak water inside. There was simply so much water on the ground it had nowhere to go and eventually overwhelmed even the layers of sandbags.

Despite the seemingly mandatory national news focus on New Orleans, areas such as Pascagoula, Waveland, Pass Christian, Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and Slidell, Louisiana had ridiculous amounts of floodwater thanks to the slow-moving and persistent storm.

On the readiness front, my family and my neighbors were all prepared. As a matter of course we keep several weeks’ worth of food on hand as well as fresh water, flashlights w/batteries, chem lights, spare fuel, etc.

Certain items need to be refreshed annually. Specifically, sandbags will eventually rot and they need to be replaced each hurricane season. No one wants to live in a bunker and after the storm season passes the bags are stacked up somewhere or used to fill in holes.

Since relocating to the Gulf Coast in 2007, I’ve been impressed by the calm attitude displayed by almost all the folks you encounter when a storm is threatening. The mood at the sandbag filling stations around the county is anything but panic. People of all races and backgrounds stand shoulder to shoulder filling bags. Younger men and women cheerfully help the older folks fill bags and load them up into their vehicles.

The day before Isaac hit, my wife encouraged me to get “extra” dog food, “just in case”. We already had a 25-pound bag on hand but I went out nonetheless. When I arrived at the local Wal-Mart, rather than finding panicked buyers and chaos, I found the store to be a relative ghost town. There was no frightful hoarding or fights over the last loaf of bread.

I decided to survey the rest of the local stores. I found nearly the same situation at the neighboring K-Mart, Target, and Winn Dixie grocery stores. Most stores were reporting slow sales and a calm atmosphere.

Like most hurricanes, the effects of Isaac were felt at least twelve hours before the experts predicted the storm to hit. Flood-prone areas were covered by the rising tides and surges that the storm pushed ahead of it.

When the storm did hit the vast majority of the citizens were well-prepared and rode it out in safety. Local power companies did yeoman’s work and kept the lights on or got the power back on in record time.

In the hours and days that followed, public workers and citizens alike emerged from their homes and places of refuge and began the clean-up. Rakes, shovels, and chainsaws were put to work to get things back to normal. While a few instances of looting were reported, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast they were rare.

Spray-painted plywood signs that read “Looters will be Shot” and “You Loot, We Shoot” had been pulled out of sheds and tacked up on side of buildings. It’s commonly accepted here that a person who steals from his neighbors during a time of crisis is one of the lowest forms of life on earth.

Gulf coast residents, if nothing else, are a hearty lot. They could give lessons in Storm Preparation to the rest of the world. Rather than sit around with their hands out waiting for some government bureaucracy to save them, Mississippi residents prepare and then roll up their sleeves and work to put their lives back together.

Our family was overwhelmed by offers of help and assistance from our friends and neighbors. In this current age of dependency and helplessness, I’m proud to be surrounded by Americans who understand that sometimes life is hard, but that’s life.

You don’t sit around complaining and waiting for someone to fix it for you, you get out and fix it yourself.

About Paul G. Markel

Paul G. Markel hosts and produces Student of the Gun TV. Complete episodes can be viewed at Student of the

Paul Markel