Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Red Cross' Urban Legends

Have you ever started a holiday and get a call from your boss saying, "Look, something terrible happened, and we need you here." I bet it happens to many IT people.

Yesterday morning, I received this e-mail from a friend:

I was just now reading a Blog from NOLA, and it had a link to this woman. She's a volunteer with the Red Cross in the Beaumont area.

Read her top post, about the KKK scaring off RC workers. Have you heard similar stories about the KKK? [Don't bother, the girl put her blog down and I'll tell you why]

You know this is just the way you want to start your day. I checked the mentioned post and couldn't believe the urban legends mentioned in her post. It was akin to, "I'm afraid, I'm afraid, we're helping everyone here and I mean everyone, the media hates us, I'm afraid, I'm afraid of the KKK threats..."

Now, that really goes well while I know the places she mentioned in her post. For example, Ford Park is where you can find FEMA and the National Guard troops. Still, she states the KKK can actually sneak into the heavily guarded place and scare the Red Cross staff. That sounds like a Halloween haunted house.

The other place she mentioned was Woodville and how the KKK was distributing pamphlets threatening the lives of the Red Cross staff because the RC volunteers aren't all pure white Protestants. That's when I knew something had to be done because she went way too far with her claims. BTW, Southeast Texas is the land of Catholics. Just in case you wondered.

Here's a paragraph of her post:

It is hard to tell you the psychological effect this has had on the volunteers here who have already been on the front line of frustration and anger for weeks because of the desperation people here are experiencing, I can't even begin to describe my anger and sadness of this situation. Most of us feel that we need to not be scared off by the KKK. Fear and intimidation just makes us angry and more committed to doing the work.

Mark was still home. So, I forwarded her blog to him. He promptly sent it to his boss at the Beaumont Enteprise. Within less than 30 minutes the newsroom had printed her post and started an investigative report of her claims.

The reporter was able to contact someone who knows this anonymous blogger and got a name and phone number. Afterward, this blogger who goes by the screen name, twisttalksback, retracted her post claims saying she didn't see the actual flier but heard people talk about it. That's when she put her blog down. I'll bet she didn't think someone could find her so easily.

And, here's what happened as reported today on the front page of the Beaumont Enterprise:

One man's flier campaign has managed to run The American Red Cross - which has provided relief to millions over the past 125 years during catastrophes such as World War I, the 1918 flu pandemic and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - out of three Southeast Texas counties.

The man, a resident of the tiny town of Chester in Tyler County, launched his flier protest last week because he was upset about not getting a Red Cross debit card, Tyler County Sheriff Jessie Wolf said Wednesday.

Subsequently, Red Cross workers who felt they were in danger abandoned their efforts in Tyler, Jasper and Newton counties and skedaddled, Wolf said.

The man was using the fliers as invitations to a town hall meeting and march last week in Woodville, the sheriff said. The man and his wife, whose identities had not been released late Wednesday, were the only march participants, he added.

"The flier said, 'Come voice your opinion about the Red Cross,'" Wolf said, adding there appeared to be nothing threatening about the handout.

In fact, the man came into the Tyler County Sheriff's Department last week to notify authorities that he planned to distribute the leaflets in the three counties, Wolf said.

Wolf said Red Cross workers caught wind of the flier, march and town hall meeting, "and it scared them and they left.

"They packed all their stuff that evening and didn't come back," he said. "They said they would still be mailing their cards.


I have this to say to the Red Cross. If you don't want to help Southeast Texas residents, that's fine with us. We're not going to die if you don't. But, don't make racist accusations against the people of this area.

It's funny when people take everything they read on the net as if it's the Bible. That's what always amazes me when I read comments left on such blogs or sites.

Now, back to our discussion about pulling or not pulling out the troops from Iraq. I'm really enjoying the discussion.

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