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...