Faced with spiraling violence, residents of New Orleans are arming themselves.
The number of permits issued to carry concealed weapons is running twice as high as it was before Katrina - this, in a city with only about half its pre-storm population of around 450,000. Attendance at firearms classes and hours logged at shooting ranges also are up, according to the gun industry.
Gun dealers who saw sales shoot up during the chaotic few months after Katrina say that sales are still brisk, and that the customers are a cross-section of the population - doctors, lawyers, bankers, artists, laborers, stay-at-home moms.
"People are in fear of their lives. They're looking for ways to feel safe again," said Mike Roniger, manager of Gretna Gunworks in Jefferson Parish.
I hope it's a trend that continues. Faced with a populace that fights back, the criminals of the Big Easy who've been coddled by a dysfunctional to non-existent city legal system for decades might begin to think twice -- or move.