Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Yes, I said below that looters should be shot. Certainly some leeway should be afforded in cases of food, especially in a dire situation such as this, but anytime a state of emergency exists, it should be clearly stated as part of the emergency order. After reading this, I see no reason to chnge my position.

By ALLEN G. BREED Associated Press Writer

With much of the city emptied by Hurricane Katrina, some opportunists took
advantage of the situation by looting stores.

At a Walgreen's drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers.

When police finally showed up, a young boy stood in the door screaming, "86! 86!"
-the radio code for police-and the crowd scattered.

Denise Bollinger, a tourist from Philadelphia, stood outside and snapped pictures in

"It's downtown Baghdad," the housewife said. "It's insane. I've wanted to come here for 10 years. I thought this was a sophisticated city. I guess not."

I saw a similar scene in a grocery store on TV. Scores of people, grinning from ear to ear, mugging for the camera as they cheerfully looted the contents of the store. Their total lack of shame is what I find most unnerving. They weren't hungry people in search of food, they were people who clearly felt that the rules of civilization had been suspended and they were gleefully taking advantage of it. It's said that the veneer of civilization is thin, but frankly I think that gives these animals far too much credit. As if to prove my point, the story continues:

Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores.

One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was
asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."

Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by.

Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.

"To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society," he said.

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