In my Katrina column yesterday I mentioned that I hadn't seen any first-hand confirmations of the widely reported helicopter-shootings that suspended aid operations a week ago. I still haven't seen any such eyewitness accounts (which of course doesn't mean there weren't any), but yesterday a New Orleans man was arrested by the feds for shooting at a helicopter.

And The New York Times has a report about other reasons for helicopter-reticence in those first days.

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  1. I don't have the URL, but I heard an interview on NPR with a doc at Tulane Hospital who confirmed that someone shot at a helicopter that was evacuating patients, resulting in a temporary cessation of the evacuation.

  2. NOfan

    I heard the same interview. I had been skeptical up till then.

    I can understand Tulane being a target (lots of goodies in the hospital pharmacy and all). But wouldn't someone wanting access to said goodies have an interest in people getting the fuck out so he could have unimpeded access.

  3. Who wouldn't be shooting helicopters? I mean they can't tune in the soaps.

  4. I fail to see what the fuss is about. Shooting at helicopters is perfectly natural. ESPECIALLY those black, U.N. helicopters.

  5. There were also third-hand reports in the early days that people were shooting just to get the helicopter's attention, in order to be rescued.

  6. I especially like to yell while I'm firing:

    "You! Yes, YOU! Stand still, laddy!!"

  7. These helicopters weren't, per chance, flying over New Orleans' famed "Little Iraq" neighborhood, were they?

  8. See now why I was so wary of the helicopter shooting report the other day?

  9. He hid the handguns under a mattress.
    No one would EVER think of looking there.

  10. I don't suppose it would appropriate,if folks were/are shooting at the helicopters,to give them a free,one way helicopter trip..... over the gulf?

  11. Another New Orleans quirk: There's a lot more shooting there than any of y'all are used to. As part of a recent study, researchers fired 800 rounds (blanks) from one spot over the course of a day. This resulted in zero police calls, and zero police response.

    "Normal" people, outsiders, are skeptical of stuff like shooting at helos. But, it's just the way it is. Some people surely fired to get attention, while some others surely fired out of anger and for recreation.

    (The Picayune's search button seems to be blown away right now, so I can't give you the link. You're welcome to drop by and riffle through my back issues.)

  12. What if someone had shot a gun during the WTC evac? Would we have 400 more cops with us among the living today?

  13. I especially like to yell while I'm firing: "You! Yes, YOU! Stand still, laddy!!"

    LOL, nice "Wall" reference.

  14. I have no idea if it contributed to skittishness, but it is possible to shoot down a helicopter. I'd na?vely have thought it was a million to one shot. OTOH, it happened in Albuquerque, and who knows--perhaps we've already had a million attempts.

  15. Hey, that guy's shooting at us, let's go save him.

  16. Obviously, I don't know any more than any of you, but I was just thinking that if I was stranded, alone, and nobody had been able to find me, I would use a gun to attract attention. I'm curious as to whether the gun hit anything or if they simply heard gun shots and assumed they had become a target. I think it's interesting to note that the article doesn't say--it simply says he was arrested for shooting at the helicopter. That's a fairly big target--I would think if the shooter's aim (no pun intended) was to hit the bird, he'd have done it.

  17. Spent a little time in the NAM as a 67V/11D OH-58 Repair/Forward Aerial Observer. There were two times I knew for sure we were taking small arms fire is when I could see the tracers streak by or when the round was pinging through the chopper. As I am quite sure that the shooters, if the existed, weren?t using tracers and there are no reports of holes in any of the aircraft I tend to discount the stories. I can assure you that with a flight helmet on the incessant whine of a turbine engine turning running at 100,000 RPM or so, main rotor and tail rotor blades creating considerable DBs of noise you are not likely to hear a shot from anything less than a howetzer. So some one saw some one shoot a gun up into the air and immediately it became some one shooting at a rescue helicopter. Makes for a good headline doesn?t it?

  18. I, too, was very skeptical about reports of people shooting at helicopters, etc.

    This morning on NPR I heard a first-person account from the coroner of New Orleans and he confirms that reports were exaggerated about the "horrors" in New Orleans.


    I'm looking for anyone who has done a timeline of just who started those reports -- Fox News? Was it a talking point in that morning's Fox memo or RNC memo???? Does anyone know?

    Still researching...

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