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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Who gives a hoot if they loot?

The WSWS has a good article about the media-fueled insane reaction by authorities to the "problem" of looting in New Orleans.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered nearly the entire active police force in the flood-ravaged city to abandon rescue operations Wednesday night and focus on efforts to halt looting. The decision came in response to mounting pressure from sensationalized media coverage which is increasingly placing emphasis on the property damage done by looters, suggesting that it has become nearly as significant a social problem as the virtual destruction of the city by Hurricane Katrina.
Nagin apparently had a decent understanding of the situation before he started getting pressure from the fascist media:
It is noteworthy that only 12 hours before he ordered the police mobilization, Mayor Nagin brusquely rejected a question about looting from Matt Lauer, host of NBC’s Today program, telling him the media was grossly exaggerating the significance of a relative handful of people taking television sets and other electronic goods. The bulk of the “theft,” he pointed out, was desperate people taking food, bottled water and clothing to meet their immediate needs.

In a subsequent press interview, Nagin said, “It’s really difficult because my opinion of the looting is it started with people running out of food, and you can’t really argue with that too much. Then it escalated to this kind of mass chaos where people are taking electronic stuff and all that.”
While I'm sure there are a few people dumb enough to steal TV's and stereos when they don't have any dry place to put them and won't have any electricity for months (and certainly won't be allowed to take that stuff with them when they are evacuated), there can't be that many, and they'll certainly stop soon. But people taking badly needed food, water and medicine while authorities outside New Orleans are trying to figure out how to get food, water and medicine INTO New Orleans? Let 'em "loot!" Much of the stuff will go bad or be ruined by the flood anyway--and why not just promise to reimburse "looted" stores rather than spending the money on shipping in food from elsewhere and cops to stop the "looting?"

[Update] From CNN:
President Bush, in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," said that their should be "zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this."
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Wednesday that she was "just furious" about the lawlessness.

"We'll do what it takes to bring law and order to our region," she said.
"Zero tolerance." Exactly the level of sympathy and understanding I'd expect from Nero Zero, a man who loots globally for no good reason.