Thursday, August 10, 2006

Everyday tragedy in New Orleans

The following story was linked to be by valiant_200, a personal friend of mine. It is not an epic tale on the scale of what goes on in the Middle East, but it is an everyday tragedy that gets very little press attention.

A man who police said was depressed after he found out he didn't have enough insurance money to rebuild his Katrina-ravaged New Orleans home was arrested Tuesday after trying to get police to shoot him to death, New Orleans police said.

John McCusker, a photographer for The Times-Picayune, was taken into custody. Police said he will be charged, but were unsure what charges will be filed. He was being held under psychiatric observation. "The individual is a really fine professional who was so depressed that he set out today to commit suicide by cop," said James Arey, commander of the police negotiation team during SWAT and other emergency situations.

Read the rest right here. What is amazing is my personal connection to this man. I am friends with valiant_200, and he is friends with someone who was in a band with John McCusker. The story is just sad all around. Really depresses me about the state of the world. I wish that stories like these received the press they deserve. EDIT: The man who is friends with John McCusker wrote this in his live journal (friends only)

A friend snapped.

Photographer, researcher, historian, tourguide, amateur musician -- real good at all of 'em.

A year ago we got a band together, rehearsing weekly at his house. We elected him the leader, as exuding the most maturity and leadership.

We rehearsed, and our tryout went well. Our second regular gig would have been the day of the mandatory evacuation.

The day after that, the London Avenue Canal levee failed 2 blocks from his house, putting 10 feet of water and a half foot of silt in it.

He stayed in town through the storm and aftermath working for the Picayune.

He looked understandably harrowed when I first got back in town. The Picayune gave him a vacation.

More recently I'd thought he'd been doing better....well...

Like much of the city who didn't have the savings or weren't able to swing a loan to repair or rebuild out of pocket, he was waiting for the fabled money supposedly coming from insurance companies &/or FEMA. He said constantly trying to contact them and doing paperwork in Post-K NOLA was "like doing your taxes every day", an apt line which I've passed around...and...[he snapped]

Just very sad.

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