HOUSTON — Chris Ginter propelled the monster truck cautiously but purposefully through feet-high green-brown floodwaters, past submerged mansions.
Families were surely still inside, huddled on the second story prepared to wait it out until the water receded. But as the water continued to rise and word of a mandatory evacuation began to spread, many had decided it was time to leave.
And when they did, they turned not to law enforcement or government emergency response teams but to neighbors and citizen volunteers, people who had rallied kayaks, canoes and fishing boats and formed informal bureaucracies to organize rescue missions.
Ginter’s monster truck — his brother’s, actually — was perhaps the most glorious rescue vessel of all, rivaled only by an imposing air boat that sent up an impressive spray from its fan as it accelerated back into the neighborhood to pick up more people. Other rescuers — mostly male — wolf-whistled at Ginter’s truck …