Regulating Louisiana’s “Cajun Navy”?

Louisiana’s natural disaster has brought forward, among innumerable other acts of spontaneous social solidarity, the daring rescue exploits of the spontaneously self-organized “Cajun Navy.” [Kevin Boyd, The Hayride] Now, according to The Advocate of Baton Rouge, “Jonathan Perry, a Republican state senator is working on legislation that could require training, certificates and a permit fee for citizen-rescuers…”

Following a public outcry, Perry posted this Facebook video intended, he says, to correct misreporting: his proposals are meant to provide more freedom for volunteers rather than less.

I’m trying to give Perry’s explanation a charitable reading — I guess he hopes something like a TSA preclear process will give police or authorities more confidence than they now have in letting licensed/approved amateurs past barricades and perimeters. But it’s pretty easy for me to imagine that this will change the incentives in a future emergency so as to give the police/authorities reason to be more aggressive in creating and enforcing barriers/perimeters than they currently are. After all, they’ll have the new option of letting only approved permit holders through, which may well seem safer and more controlled to them than letting everyone through. So, to me, it just seems like a really bad idea even if we accept that as his premise. More: Rod Dreher.


  • He’s the Perry whose Twitter profile says “professional comedian”? Let’s hope.

  • Play w those Cajun boys at your peril.
    Remember, they formed because they needed help and you weren’t there for them.
    Try to take this, the blowback will NOT be pretty.
    AMERICANS tire of your overreach, and will not be pressed any further.

    • I am sick and tired of the attitude that the government is the solution to every problem. The citizens are the solution. Get the government out of the way and neighbors will help neighbors. It has worked that way for over 300 years in America. Since before there was an American government. Let the people loose, Keep the government out of the way.

  • Probably in the history of politics there has never been an about face on a issue as fast as Sen. Perry’s. First it was regulations and fees, but when it hit the fan “he was really trying to eliminate all roadblocks to taking your boat into the flood.”

    This is a unique issue, we’ve already had two “once in 400 years” floods this year, and some models have hurricane heading for the gulf by next week. There were reports that some few law enforcement agencies rode herd on the Cajun Navy, and given the ferocity of the rising water they may have been right to do so. On the other hand there were literally thousands of people caught by the speed of the rising waters who were rescued by the same said Navy. There were also a lot of helicopter rescues.

    The vast majority of the Cajun Navy were capable operators of their boats, but some were not. These were often very dangerous waters and sometimes the capabilities of even the best of captains and their boats were exceeded. You really don’t want to have to be rescuing the rescuers. So when the local sheriff says no you have to wonder if he knows something that you don’t.

    A better solution would be to hold free boat rescue classes throughout the state and give a certificate to those who pass. Then when the next catastrophe hits the sheriff would have some way of separating the men from the boys. But that’s probably way too sensible…

    • There you have it. To mention a politician and sensible in the same paragraph is out of the question. It seems that when someone is elected to statewide or nation wide office their brain stops functioning when they take office. I used to think it was something in the air or water in D C, but have come to the conclusion that public office draws mainly idiots that are looking for public acclaim even if they have to prove they are incompetent in the effort.

      • I think its more of they now think they’re smarter than everyone else. They’ll save you from yourself. If it wasn’t for the laws they make, you wouldn’t be able to function because you may actually have to make a choice and heaven forbid if its not the choice officially mandated you make.

        Or you could be right… public office draws mainly idiots.