Break the Chain Was the Doctor Really in the House?

Created 9/28/2005, updated 10/8/2005 (10/8/2005) When Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, the destruction she brought with her was unprecedented and devastating to those in a region already plagued by poverty and racism. Overnight, the unique socio-political dynamics of New Orleans were portrayed at its worst on national news. Adding fuel to that fire are first-person accounts like this one that started circulating via e-mail in the days after the storm.


A letter from a VERY UPSET Mississippi Doctor !

What the news does not show...

Thought I might inform the few friends I have on my recent traumatic experience. I am going to tell it straight, blunt, raw, and I don't give a damn. Long read, I know but please do read!!!

I went to volunteer on Saturday at the George R. Brown convention for two reasons.

A: I wanted to help people to get a warm fuzzy.

B: Curiosity.

I've been watching the news lately and have seen scenes that have made me want to vomit. And no it wasn't dead bodies, the city under water, or the sludge everywhere. It was PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOR. The people on T.V., (99% being Black) were DEMANDING help. They were not asking nicely but demanding as if society owed these people something. Well the honest truth is WE DON'T. Help should be asked for in a kind manner and then appreciated. This is not what the press (FOX in particular) was showing, what I was seeing was a group of people who are yelling, demanding, looting, killing, raping, and SHOOTING back at the demanded help!!!!! So I'm thinking this can't possibly be true can it???? So I decide to submit to the DEMAND for help out of SHOCK. I couldn't believe this to be true of the majority of the people who are the weakest of society. So I went to volunteer and help folks out and see the truth. So I will tell the following story and you decide:

I arrived at the astrodome only to find out that there were too many volunteers and that volunteers were needed at the George R. Brown Convention Center. As I was walking up to the Convention Center I noticed a line of cars that wrapped around blocks filled with donations. These were ordinary Houstonians coming with truckloads and trunks full of water, diapers, clothes, blankets, food, all types of good stuff. And lots of it was NEW. I felt that warm fuzzy while helping unload these vehicles of these wonderful human beings. I then went inside the building and noticed approximately 100,000 sq. ft. of clothes, shoes, jackets, toys and all types of goodies all organized and ready for the people in need. I signed up, received a name badge and was on my merry way excited to be useful.

I toured the place to get familiar with my surroundings; the entire place is probably around 2 million sq. ft. I noticed rows as far as the eye can see of mattresses, not cots, BLOW UP MATTRESSES!!! All of which had nice pillows and plenty of blankets. 2 to 3 bottles of water lay on every bed. These full size to queen size beds by the way were comfortable, I laid in one to see for myself. I went to look at the medical area. I couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing!!! A makeshift hospital created in 24 hours!!! It was unbelievable, they even had a pharmacy. I also noticed that they created showers, which would also have hot water. I went upstairs to the third floor to find a HUGE cafeteria created in under 24 hours! Rows of tables, chairs and food everywhere - enough to feed an army! I'm not talking about crap food either. They had Jason's deli food, apples, oranges, coke, diet coke, lemonade, orange juice, cookies, all types of chips and sandwiches. All the beverages by the way were put on ice and chilled!!!! In a matter of about 24 hours or less an entire mini-city was erected by volunteers for the poor evacuees. This was not your rundown crap shelter, it was BUM HEAVEN.

So that was the layout: great food, comfy beds, clean showers, free medical help, by the way there was a library, and a theatre room that I forgot to mention. Great stuff right????

Well here is what happened on my journey -

I started by handing out COLD water bottles to evacuees as they got off the bus. Many would take them and only 20% or less said thank you. Lots of them would shake their heads and ask for sodas! So this went on for about 20-30 minutes until I was sick of being an unappreciated servant. I figured certainly these folks would appreciate some food!!! So I went upstairs to serve these beloved evacuees some GOOD food that I wish I could have at the moment!

***The following statements are graphic, truthful, and discuss UNRATIONAL behavior***

Evacuees come slowly to receive this mountain of food that is worth serving to a king! I tell them that we have 2 types of great deli sandwiches to choose from - ham and turkey. Many look at the food in disgust and DEMAND burgers, pizza, and even McDonalds!!!! Jason's deli is better than McDonalds!!!! Only 1 out of ten people who took something would say "thank you" the rest took items as if it was their God given right to be served without a shred of appreciation!!! They would ask for Beer and liquor. They complained that we didn't have good enough food. They refused food and laughed at us. They treated us volunteers as if we where SLAVES. No not all of them of course, but 70% did!!!!!! 20% were appreciative, 10% took the food without any comment and the other 70% had some disgusting comment to say. Some had the nerve to laugh at us. And when I snapped back at them for being mean, they would curse at me!!! Needless to say I was in utter shock. They would eat their food and leave their mess on the table. Some would pick up their stuff, many would leave it for the volunteers to pick up. I left that real quick to go down and help set up some more beds. I saw many young ladies carrying mattresses and I helped for a while. Then I realized something. There were hundreds of able bodied young men who could help!! I asked a group of young evacuees in their teens and early twenties to help. I got cursed at for asking them to help!!! One said "We just lost our f***ing homes and you want us to work!!" The next said "Ya Cracker, you got a home we don't" I looked at them in disbelief. Here are women walking by carrying THEIR BEDS and they can't lift a finger and help themselves!!


I waved them off and turned away and was laughed at and more "white boy jokes" were made at me. I felt no need to waste my breath on a bunch of pitiful losers. I went to a nearby restroom where I noticed a man shaving. I used the restroom, washed my hands and saw this man throw his razor towards the trash can...he missed. he walked out leaving his disgusting razor on the floor for some other "cracker" to pick up. Even the little kids were demanding. I saw only ONE white family and only TWO Hispanic families. The rest where blacks. Sorry 20% to 30% decent blacks, and 70% LOSERS!!!!!

I would call them N*****S, but the actual definition of a n*****r is one who is ignorant, these people were not ignorant..they were ARROGANT ASSHOLES. The majority of which are thugs and lifetime lazy ass welfare recipients. We are inviting the lowest of the low to Houston. And like idiots we are serving the people who will soon steal our cars, rape, murder, and destroy our city while stealing from our pockets on a daily basis through the welfare checks they take. We will fund our own destruction.

By "US" I don't mean a specific race, I mean the people who work hard, work smart, have values and morals. Only people who want to help themselves should be helped, the others should be allowed to destroy themselves. I do not want to work hard, give the government close to half the money I earn so they can in turn give it to a bunch of losers.

I don't believe in being poor for life. My family immigrated here, we came here poor, and now thank God, and due to HARD WORK we are doing fine. If immigrants, who come here, don't know the language can work and become successful... WHY CAN'T THE MAJORITY OF THE HOMEGROWN DO IT!!! If we continue to reward these losers then we will soon destroy our great country. I just witnessed selfish, arrogant, unappreciative behavior by the very people who need help the most. Now these same people who cursed me, refused my cities generosity, who refuse to help themselves are DEMANDING handouts on their own terms!!!!!!! They prance around as if they are owed something, and when they do receive a handout, they say it's not good enough! Well you know what..these types of people can go to hell for all I care!


Richard L. Johnston, M.D.
University of Mississippi Medical Center


This chain, easily the most popular to come out of the disaster, evokes two questions: 1) Did this really come from a Mississippi Doctor; and 2) Is it accurate? - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
The first question is easy. First casting doubt on the Dr. Johnston attribution was the fact that early versions of this chain carried another attribution (namely to "Topper - a local Hog Rider"). but much more convincing is Dr Johnston's own denial. Chain-Breaker Joe in SW MS called the phone number included in the e-mail and spoke with Richard Johnston. The doctor explained that he saw that message on an Internet message board and copied it to send a few of his friends. When he sent it, his e-mail program automatically added his "signature," including his name, title, address and home, office and cell phone numbers. This addendum led many who received it to mistakenly assume he wrote it - a phenomenon I call false attribution syndrome and one very compelling reason to not forward chain letters! He has had no direct involvement with rescue and evacuation efforts in Louisiana and is quite embarrassed about becoming associated with this chain letter.

So, if Dr. Johnston didn't write this who did? The message above started life as a weblog (or 'blog') on It was posted on Sunday, September 4, 2005, by a MySpace Member who calls himself "Maher." Maher's bio says he is a 24-year-old Syrian immigrant who's lived in the U.S. for 18 years and currently resides in Houston, Texas. His blog entry earned him a great number of fans and some serious critics, but he stood by his words in follow-up posts and further explained his motivations:

I wish people of all skin tones would understand my point. I don't expect to be worshiped for helping. I do expect to be appreciated although thats not the reason I do it. Its NATURAL to expect someone to appreciate your kind efforts. It's not natural to help out and expect to get treated like ass and like it. Anyone who says you should volunteer, get spat on and continue DISRESPECTING yourself by being an abused servent is an idiot.

Folks, simply put, ALL individuals should want to help themselves regardless of color. This blog was never meant to start some silly racial riot. I'm not aginst the black population as a whole, just the ones that behave like fools. It would also be helpful if rather than giving these types of people excuses for thier bad behavior, the good black folks should call it what it is...BULLSHIT.

If the good blacks put a leesh on the bad blacks in thier population it would help. Everyone knows that in this society, a white man dare not tell a criminal black he's would be racism. But you good black are the key to solving this problem, please step up to the plate and assist the country with this problem. Stop giving excuses to unacceptable behavior and hold people accountable for thier actions.

As of early October, however, Maher's blog is no longer available on We don't know whether the author or the managment of MySpace made the decision to clost the blog down.

So, now that we've established authorship, what about the veracity of what he claimed? This is not an easy question to answer, since this is one man's observations admittedly collected over a limited time and based on a few encounters, then generalized to characterize the entire situation in the region. Individually trying to verify each of his claims would be an exercise in futility, since we have little more than his word to go on.

Several sources have attempted to verify his story, only to find many examples that appear to refute it. The Good folks at label the veracity of Maher's account "undetermined" and identify a couple of blogs and media accounts that squarely oppose Maher's claims. Further, the Urban Legend expert at calls Maher's blog entry "dubious" and provides excerpts from several other New Orleans volunteers' accounts that tell a very different story.

As with any situation in which we only have opposing extremes to go on, it is probably safe to say that the truth lies somewhere in between. It is completely believable that some of the evacuees behaved exactly as Maher describes. But it's also safe to assume that many did not. Maybe Maher is a magnet for negativity or just got the short straw that night, but using a few encounters to characterize an entire group of people is dangerous, at best.

This chain demonstrates how the relative anonymity of the Internet can quickly cause rumors to spread, rumor and opinion to be confused with fact and innocent people to be given credit (or blame) for things they have no association with. Break this chain.

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