The next step in what could happen anywhere - even here.
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 8 - Local police officers began confiscating weapons from civilians in preparation for a forced evacuation of the last holdouts still living here, as President Bush steeled the nation for the grisly scenes of recovering the dead that will unfold in coming days.
Police officers and federal law enforcement agents scoured the city carrying assault rifles seeking residents who have holed up to avoid forcible eviction.
General Mason said Guard troops, although carrying M-16 rifles, would not use force to evict recalcitrant citizens. That, he said, was a job for the police, not members of the Guard.
"I don't believe that you will see National Guard soldiers actually physically forcing people to leave," General Mason said.
Mr. Compass, the police superintendent, said that after a week of near anarchy in the city, no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.
That order apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property. The guards, who are civilians working for private security firms like Blackwater, are openly carrying M-16s and other assault rifles.
Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.
New Orleans has turned into an armed camp, patrolled by thousands of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, as well as National Guard troops and active-duty soldiers. While armed looters roamed unchecked last week, the city is now calm.
Many of the residents still in the city said they did not understand why the city remained intent on forcing them out.
Ron Getty - SF Libertarian
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