Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

More About Looting

Posted by Dan Draney on September 2, 2005

Yesterday we wrote a bit about “looters” in the flood-ravaged Gulf Coast, in an attempt to draw a moral distinction between those attempting to scrounge up basic necessities of life in order to survive and those in it for whatever they can get. We have no sympathy for the latter, but we do for the former. In a disaster situation we would take essential survial goods, although we would consider it an “installment sale” and pay back the rightful owner later.

PTG at Plains Feeder has a provocative post on the topic with some more links and good reader comments, as well.

Today Peggy Noonan in OpinionJournal put our feelings on the topic into far better words than we had:

“As for the tragic piggism that is taking place on the streets of New Orleans, it is not unbelievable but it is unforgivable, and I hope the looters are shot. A hurricane cannot rob a great city of its spirit, but a vicious citizenry can. A bad time with Mother Nature can leave you digging out for a long time, but a bad turn in human behavior frays and tears all the ties that truly bind human being–trust, confidence, mutual regard, belief in the essential goodness of one’s fellow citizens.

There seems to be some confusion in terms of terminology on TV. People with no food and water who are walking into supermarkets and taking food and water off the shelves are not criminal, they are sane. They are not looters, they are people who are attempting to survive; they are taking the basics of survival off shelves in stores where there isn’t even anyone at the cash register.

Looters are not looking to survive; they’re looking to take advantage of the weakness of others. They are predators. They’re taking not what they need but what they want. They are breaking into stores in New Orleans and elsewhere and stealing flat screen TVs and jewelry, guns and CD players. They are breaking into homes and taking what those who have fled trustingly left behind. In Biloxi, Miss., looters went from shop to shop. ‘People are just casually walking in and filling up garbage bags and walking off like they’re Santa Claus,’ the owner of a Super 8 Motel told the London Times. On CNN, producer Kim Siegel reported in the middle of the afternoon from Canal Street in New Orleans that looters were taking ‘everything they can.'”

The definition of “looters” in the second and third paragraphs is a key piece of context for Noonan’s first sentence above. There is a lot more to this excellent article, and you are encouraged to read the rest.

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