Houston, TX

Some environmental experts claim that part of Baton Rouge’s air problems can be attributed to ozone from Houston carried here by air currents. We’re not sure if they’re feeling guilty about helping us reach non-attainment status, but lately they’ve been doing some huge favors for the folks in the Bayou State.Everyone knows how Houston took in so many evacuees after Katrina. Some reports say that at least 250,000 people from New Orleans were welcomed into the city. Over a year later, about half as many are still there.Then earlier this year, the Houston Texans had the first pick in the NFL draft. They decided to take Mario Williams, a defensive end from North Carolina State, thus allowing the New Orleans Saints to snatch up Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.Now it looks like some folks in Houston are trying to do something that even the New Orleans District Attorney and the New Orleans Police Department have never been able to do: solve the New Orleans crime problem.

Houston gun shop owner and radio talk-show host Jim Pruett has been running a radio ad suggesting that residents should protect themselves from Katrina evacuees by getting concealed-handgun permits. Pruett said he began running the ad after hearing a Katrina evacuee imply in a TV interview that he’d have to resort to crime if he lost his government assistance.

The spot says: “When the ‘Katricians’ themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is going to go up if they don’t get more free rent, then it’s time to get your concealed-handgun license.” We give Pruett bonus points for coining the term “Katricians.”

Houstonians have blamed evacuees for the rise in violent crime in the city. One district has seen about a 14% increase in violent crime, while homicides have almost doubled in another.

Meanwhile, during the first eight months of 2006, the number of concealed-carry permits issued for handguns was up almost 25% over the same time frame last year in Harris County, which includes Houston. Also, gun sales at Pruett’s store are up 50% over 2005, although he’s not sure if fear of evacuees is the reason for the increase. He’s probably also uncertain as to whether or not sexual intercourse has anything to do with pregnancy.

With all that the good folks in Houston have done in the last fourteen months, one might say that they’ve taken a bullet for us in Louisiana. Actually, the crime statistics show that they’ve taken several dozen.