Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Justifiable Larceny?

Today was a typical Marathon Wednesday, and on top of that, most of my time at the computer has been spent reading more about the aftermath of the hurricane. I think the soft spot I have for New Orleans as a fun vacation spot has kept me glued to the radio, TV and web browser in what little spare time I've had. I just hope the news starts getting better soon.

There have been a lot of reports and pictures lately of widespread looting by those who stayed behind (or were stuck, in some cases) in New Orleans (some good discussions are over at Metafilter and Althouse, both of which also focus on the racial undertones of some of the coverage). The big question seems to be this: is the widespread looting indicative of a society gone lawless, or are people in desperate times just trying to do whatever they can to survive?

I'll admit to being a fence-sitter here: If we're talking about necessities, like food or water, I'd be inclined to give people a pass in this particular instance. But flat-screen TV's? A basketball goal? That's just stealing for stealing's sake, and it shouldn't be tolerated.

(I'll admit that I also didn't feel as bad when I heard about the looting of a Wal-Mart [save for the fact that all their guns were taken] as I did about small Mom-and-Pop stores that will probably need all the help they can get to reopen. But, as many have pointed out, the food would have spoiled anyway. It's tough to make a general judgement on this one.)

Agree? Disagree? Comments are welcome, of course. And be sure and read Gary's comment on Sunday's post, as well as Eric's essay on growing up in New Orleans.

UPDATE: Evidently, the looting is getting a lot worse, as law enforcement authorities are concentrating more efforts on stopping it than on search and rescue operations. How unfortunate...

1 comment:

Gary P. said...

What you're seeing in New Orleans is the result of generation after generation after generation that has done nothing more than leech off of hard working taxpayers for their very existance which has cultivated a mindset that someone is always going to be there to give them a "free" something or other and that lawlessness is OK because they're "oppressed victims" who are just "striking back at society" and "getting what they deserve." The only kind of "victims" these thugs should be is the victim of a double tap from military personnel enforcing order on the ground. I wish them the best of luck eating their brand new plasma TV's, PlayStation 2's, and bling to survive. The thing that makes me the most furious is that the looting and carjackings and lawnessness is diverting scarce resources away from RESCUING THEIR NEIGHBORS AND SAVING LIVES.

I have tremendous empathy for the evacuees who couldn't get to the Superdome for whatever reason. For those looting material goods, shooting to kill is too easy. The order should be Shoot to Cripple then leave them for the mosquitos, the nutria, the ants, the rats, the snakes, and the alligators.

These are people who have never had to accept even one bit of responsibility for anything in their lives. Dropped out of school and can't/won't get a job? No problem. The government will give you "free" food and money. Having another baby? No problem. The government will give you even more "free" food and money. Now that government has broken down and the free money has dried up, they're actually having to take responsibility for their own lives for the first time and this is the result.

Deliver us from evil, indeed.