Saturday, August 26, 2006

More on Houston wanting to get rid of Orlean's evacs.

Nation: Via Telegraph.

"....Although 9mm semi-automatic pistols are the easiest gun to carry, Jim Pruett, an arms salesman, says that his "looter shooter" - a pistol-grip, pump shotgun retailing at $370 (£200) - is also a big seller. "We've seen a 50 per cent increase in people taking our concealed weapons courses since the Katrina evacuees arrived," he said. "They are scared and they want to be able to defend themselves." Audrey Nelson, 63, a native of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, who moved to Houston 30 years ago with her Texan husband, Phil, knows all about the reality of the chilling crime statistics. Despite the violent reputation of some American cities, the school headmistress never imagined that she would be too scared to take her dog for an evening walk around the affluent Houston suburb of Westchase. That was before thousands of Katrina evacuees were moved into nearby blocks of flats, which had previously been scheduled for demolition to make way for luxury condominiums. Just a few minutes' walk from the Nelsons' well-kept home, a 64-year-old man was shot dead at a car wash earlier this month when he refused to hand over money to four young men armed with a pistol. Three teenagers from New Orleans have since been arrested and the murder weapon was also traced to the Louisiana city. "We opened our arms to these people after what they had experienced," said Mrs Nelson, who has lived in the area for 24 years. "At my school, we collected clothes and toys and sleeping bags; anything we could to help them. But now we've seen what's happened to our pleasant community and realised that many never plan to leave, the mood has changed." The Rev Walter Ellis, the vicar at the Church of the Ascension in Westchase, said: "There was a tremendous groundswell of goodwill and support for these people, but that is fast drying up. "This was a nice place to live with a community atmosphere before, but now car-jackings and homicides are a way of life around here. "People are scared to walk alone at night. Some are getting guns, some are getting dogs, some are getting new security fences, many just want to leave. It's a great shame."

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