George Barisich, president of the United Commercial Fisherman's Association, is among those left homeless and unemployed. Last fall he started selling t-shirts that read "Flooded by Katrina! Forgotten by FEMA! What's Next, Mr. Bush?" for fun and profit.The charge was violation of a law that bans “the sale of goods on federally owned property.” (Really? Can you please ticket the administration for selling federally owned property then?) The Department of Homeland Security claims if they didn’t enforce the rule, “you could have potentially 20 to 30 people standing out in front of the [FEMA] center, obstructing things.” Yeah, god forbid it turn into a circus down there, eh? At least the kind of circus where desperate people can make a buck, as opposed to The Three-Ring Big Tent of Government Giveaways to Corporate Cronies.
Last month, on February 1, Barisich was in line with fellow hurricane victims to pick up canned food from a charity's tent. He gave one of his t-shirts to the man standing next to him.
Soon, six men from FEMA had him surrounded. They issued him a $75 ticket and threatened to arrest him…
His family lost 14 of their 17 homes in the area, he lost three of his boats and his oyster beds are beyond repair. He will be fighting the ticket.
Anyhow, Barisich gave the shirt away; he didn’t sell it, which is why he’s protesting the ticket. FEMA doesn’t care. They responded to his inquiry “Do you really want to arrest me? Am I the only one here who thinks this is asinine? You're harassing a person who just lost everything,” by telling him if he didn’t take the ticket, he’d be arrested. Swell.