September 01, 2005

Lutes are Good; Looters Are Bad

You know what this post will be about. It just so happens when I was doing a little bit of researching that the years of an 8 a.m. music history class (8 a.m. classes for musicians??? hell, it was hours before we sobered up enough to be hung over!) kicked in subconsciously & I typed in "lute". So for the helluvit & since we could all probably use a pleasant diversion here's a little more on the good kind of lute:

Lutes; a family of stringed instruments which each possess a neck; a resonating body & multiple strings that are parallel to the sound board (or fret board). For a more complete definition look here. To hear what a lute sounds like look here (I'd recommend starting of with the last MP3 on the page entitled Chaconne d'Arlequin by Jean-Baptiste Lully, whom incidentally I've written about before although as an allegory).

Unfortunately that's not the kind of "luting" I'm going to focus on, though I wish it was the more pressing subject.

New Orleans is being looted. Not by minstrels carrying multi-stringed guitar-like instruments singing of The Scarborough Fair or Greensleeves (I tell ya that 8 a.m. music history class was a form of brainwashing - brainwashing I say!) but by people who are taking by force or stealth property that does not belong to them.

Now a lot of people have sympathy for folks who are just taking food, water or other essentials to survive while condemning the ones taking DVD players & TV's. I'm not going to get too deep into that discussion but I should pint out that looting is looting no matter what the object or the purpose.

From Merriam-Webster:


1 a : to plunder or sack in war b : to rob especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption
2 : to seize and carry away by force especially in war
intransitive senses : to engage in robbing or plundering especially in war"

Looting is simply robbing although the usual implication is that it happens during a war or on a large scale. Still it's robbing. Whether it's for taking food to feed your family, or taking a DVD player to trade for food to feed your family or taking a DVD player for your own profit it's still theft. We're naturally more sympathetic to the folks who just take food assuming it’s necessary for their survival (meaning they have no other way to procure it) than we are for the person who takes a DVD player or a TV. Still, the difference is not the nature of their act, but their motivation. The means are the same but the end is perceived as different.

But for the purposes of this post I'm not trying to condemn those who steal food. I might do it myself if I were in such a situation. It'd still be wrong of me, but it's not something I'd be above if my family's survival depended upon it (course if it were possible I'd hope I'd be able to recompense whomever I looted from after the crisis had passed).

I don't think it’s necessary to get into an in depth discussion of why looting is wrong (at least in the case of non essential items such as those DVD players & TV's). But Hugh Hewitt has the notion that it's irresponsible for the media to be broadcasting such news.

I could understand not wanting to have a specific area be mentioned, but it would be wrong for the media to downplay the civil unrest as Hugh advocates. For better or worse people should be told the truth. There is the possibility it would cause folks to join in in the unrest, but what is more important than giving people an excuse to give in to immoral &/or illegal desires is the possibility of providing some warning to folks who would be affected by such behavior.

I think though that Hugh (& to be fair people who agree with him on this) is simply uncomfortable with the idea that government cannot handle things all the time. His attitude towards what he calls "self help" (which of course I had to write about) also contributes. The idea that ordinary people must do things for their own survival (or freedom) that would conflict with the government's role or will is hard for him to take. Now that is an assumption which I could very well be mistaken about, but it is based on what I have heard him say about "self help" before & most likely is not totally off base.

There are looters. If people didn't know it was becoming problematic then they should be told, simply so they can take whatever steps are necessary to protect their lives & property. If that means posting a "you loot, we shoot" sign & sitting beside it with a shotgun then I wish them well in their endeavor. If that means shooting at a crowd that rushes them in that situation, then I hope their aim is true & their shots are rapid. It's not an ideal situation for anyone concerned, but right now it seems like it may be necessary to prepare for such circumstances.

There have been countless posts here & at other gunblogs which highlight that you are, not the government, responsible for your own protection. Even when government is running smooth it simply lacks the resources to be able to protect you at all times. In New Orleans right now government is not running smooth. Even cops are looting from various reports. There are armed groups prowling the streets. Carjackings, seemingly random shootings & Lord knows what else is going on. Government is attempting to restore some form of order but that'll be a chore given the state of things. It's simply not realistic to say "self help" isn't necessary or that bad news should not be reported.

What can be done for New Orleans? Not much. Sending money to charities is helpful & badly needed. The government is rolling in as best they can & trying to restore order. But materially there's not much we can do. It'd be nice to chant "lawyers, guns & money - minus the lawyers" but it'd be impractical to start shipping in arms to the folks who are in need. Plus whom do you think is in need? Business people & property owners. That would start a "class warfare" angle that the socialist/statist bastards in this country love to harp on sooo much.

What can be done is what I & many others before & after me have advocated - arm yourself & learn how to use said arms appropriately. Learning to swim is best accomplished before the ship you're on sinks, not as the last lifeboat is pulling away without you. The folks in New Orleans have as much training & supplies as they're going to get. If either proves to be inadequate then it's simply going to be inadequate. There's nothing we can do for them regarding either.

What we can do for ourselves is make sure we & as many people as we can convince are more prepared for situations like the one we're discussing. Yes; it's very unlikely that we'd ever find ourselves in that situation but 99 to 1 odds don't mean a damn thing when you're the 1 & not the 99.

From what I gather most of the folks still in New Orleans are those that for whatever reasons were unable to travel. This means that in all probability most of them had little to no resources before the storm hit. The firearms laws in Louisiana aren't too bad. There's no law against affordable firearms (usually referred to as "...saturday night specials" or "junk guns") so there was little legal obstacle to folks being armed. But when you're broke becoming armed let alone training regularly sometimes is not an option. I would venture to guess that the ones most severely affected by the looting though are business & other property owners who did have the means to arm themselves & train at least occasionally.

Now some are capable of defending their property & their safety, but others are not. In any event just protecting what's yours, while not to be discouraged at all, is not the most that could be done.

"...To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions..."

That'd be from Article 1 Section 8 of the u.S. Constitution.

It could be argued that the militia in the form of the National Guard has been called out. But the militia that was present in New Orleans from the outset was neglected.

Again from Article 1 Section 8:

"...To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress..."

That has been the part where government has failed most miserably. Again it could be argued that the National Guard is the militia, but its only part of the militia.

Many folks have pointed out the relevant statue concerning the militia. It's found in Titile 10 Section 311 of the u.S. Code. Also Title 32 Section 313 should be noted as it provides further definition as to the upper age limit of the militia. If you are between the ages of 17 & 45, or if you have served in the regular Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps & are less than 64 years of age then you are a member of the unorganized militia of the united States.

This very body, much talked about by us gun nuts, could & should be used to provide some protection for an area in the event of such a disaster as the gulf coast states are experiencing right now. But congress as well as the respective gulf coast states affected has been negligent in preparing this greatest resource available in this country. There have been no standards of training, nor even a discussion of the proper role of the "unorganized militia". The emphasis has been on the National Guard which only comprises a part of the man-power that could be employed.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm not chastising the respective governments for not mandating weekly musters. That idea would be laughable if it were ever attempted. What they could have done though is instill a deeper sense of responsibility & duty in those folks by simply outlining some of the roles they may be expected to fill. A web page or a booklet could have made enough difference in the mindset of the people that they would have recognized the need to organize & had some insight on how to accomplish that.

In the 90's "militia" became a dirty word, thanks to a hostile press. & to be fair there were some groups who could be called militias that weren't pristine example of the concept. But the majority of them were good folks without any harmful intent. They just recognized that the government had been slack as hell in providing for them, so they provided for themselves. Whenever a flood or some other event occurred these same militias that were so reviled in print would account for a good portion of the sand bag lines to shore up banks of overflowing rivers. They weren't running around willy nilly with "assault weapons" being brandished; they were doing whatever they could to help. Now most of those folks would have been there doing that anyway, but I cannot help but think that part of their motivation was because they were in a militia & that helped them realize the importance of doing what they could to help others.

In New Orleans there will be countless tales of folks helping each other out. Probably if it's ever able to be tallied those tales will outnumber the ones of folks harming each other. I don't wish to paint a picture of abject lawlessness with no redeeming attributes to be found in New Orleans, just as I wouldn't want to downplay the bad things that are going on.

Just as an aside one thing that I keep thinking about: gators. Louisiana has a lot of them & with New Orleans being flooded I'd be kinda concerned about them if I were there.

I keep adding to the list of links & I'm sure if I checked again there'd be another one or two to add. But I think you've gotten the idea. It's pretty bad in New Orleans. I doubt anything could have been done to eliminate most of the human caused problems that are occurring right now. But if the unorganized militia wouldn't have been non-existent I think things could have been a little better.

Getting back to the looters themselves - defense of life, liberty & property is not unacceptable. Various states have laws that severely restrict, or rather punish folks who try to protect their property but this is an immoral condition. No; it's not a good thing to shoot a 14 year old you find sneaking out of your garage with an armful of your stuff, but neither is it good to find a group of people taking everything of value you possess & being legally restrained from interfering. I will bow to the popular notion (for the sake of argument) that it's not unacceptable to steal food or water from otherwise abandoned places in times of dire need. But stealing food from those who are right there in need of it, as well as stealing non-essential items (again DVD players & TV's) should run the risk of having deadly force used to curtail those transgressions.

Right now, in Colorado with halfway decent weather I need my car. Replacing it would be problematic at best. You think for a minute I'd think I was wrong to use deadly force to stop someone from stealing it from me if that was the only way to secure it? In New Orleans it would be just as justifiable to use whatever means are necessary to prevent items that are needed for your survival from being stolen. I can give a pass to folks who wade into stores to take water & food. But not busting into someone's house to do the same.

& going "shopping" in the electronics department? I wouldn't blame any store owner who used whatever means were necessary, up to & including deadly force, to prevent such things from occurring.

I offer these links & excerpts to catch you up on some of the stories concerning looting in New Orleans:

Crisis Grows As Flooded New Orleans Looted

"Looters ransacked stores. Doctors in their scrubs had to use canoes to bring supplies to blacked-out hospitals.
'It's downtown Baghdad,' said tourist Denise Bollinger, who snapped pictures of looting in the French Quarter. 'It's insane."

I think that miss Bollinger is exaggerating though I'm not entirely sure which way.

"The historic French Quarter appeared to have been spared the worst flooding, but its stores were getting the worst of human nature.
'The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,' Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. 'We're using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.'
As Sen. Mary Landrieu…flew over the area by helicopter, a group of people smashed a window at a convenience store and jumped in.
At a drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers. One looter shot and wounded a fellow looter, who was taken to a hospital and survived."

Again I can't get too upset about folks stealing food, water or other essentials. Looters shooting each other though; if it was over a bottle of water I'd find it disturbing. If it was over a DVD player I'd not really care.

Officials Helpless Against Looters

"With law officers and National Guardsmen focused on saving lives, looters around the city spent another day Wednesday brazenly ransacking stores for food, beer, clothing, appliances — and guns.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she has asked the White House to send more people to help with evacuations and rescues, thereby freeing up National Guardsmen to stop looters.
'Once we get the 3,000 National Guardsmen here, we're locking this place down,' Mayor Ray 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."

Of course people are grabbing guns. Some for immoral purposes, but I'm sure others realize that having food & water is almost meaningless unless you have some way of making sure you can keep it.

Actually you can make an argument for people not being justified in taking food. They knew the storm was coming & stocking up at least a few days provisions is common advice. But I’m not so heartless as to condemn folks for trying to survive.

"Managers at a nursing home were prepared to cope with the power outages and had enough food for days, but then the looting began. The Covenant Home's bus driver surrendered the vehicle to carjackers after being threatened.
Bands of people drove by the nursing home, shouting to residents, "Get out!" On Wednesday, 80 residents, most of them in wheelchairs, were being evacuated to other nursing homes in the state.
'We had enough food for 10 days,' said Peggy Hoffman, the home's executive director. 'Now we'll have to equip our department heads with guns and teach them how to shoot."

It'd have been better if the folks there already knew how to shoot & didn't have to scrounge for arms. Some lessons are learned hard.

"New Orleans' homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, said looters were breaking into stores all over town and stealing guns. He said there are gangs of armed men moving around the city. At one point, officers stranded on the roof of a hotel were fired at by criminals on the street.
The Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart had been cleaned out by looters.
Authorities said an officer was shot in the head and a looter was wounded in a shootout. The officer and looter were expected to survive. "

I can understand stealing guns if you don't have one. If I was in that situation & unarmed I'd have made a bee-line for the sporting goods section. I'd also return the guns I took & any remaining ammo after things settled down. I can also understand moving along in groups rather than singly. So without any further elaboration I can't say for sure it's a bad thing to have armed groups walking around. But I can say I'm suspicious of group, armed or not in such a situation. I fear that the implications that these armed groups are seeking mischief are probably correct, but then again a hoplophobe would describe an organized neighborhood patrol comprised of citizens without harmful intent (i.e. the militia) in the same manner.


More on Looting from SayUncle

Say Uncle rounds up some posts & articles concerning the looting, along with giving well reasoned advice on how to prepare for civil unrest.

You don't need a gun. The police will always be there to protect you. from No Quarters

Story rings wrong from No Quarters

Gunner points out what should be obvious, but isn't to far too many people; the government cannot protect you.

BLOGGING THE HURRICANE, Day 3: Updates All Day from the Scene as the Disaster Spreads

Blogging from New Orleans

'Times-Picayune' Announces New Home -- in Houma -- and Reports Looting by Cops and Firemen

"...two staffers published a story on one of the Web site's blogs, reporting on the looting in the city -- joined in by cops and firemen who had been called to the scene.
Other reports, and TV footage, have shown brazen looting at many sites around the city. One compared the current climate in the increasingly desperate city to 'Sodom and Gomorrah.'
One looter shot a local police officer, but Tuesday night word came that the officer was expected to survive. "

New Orleans has always had a reputation for an unsavory & unscrupulous police force. Musician friends of mine who played on the streets down there for tips told me that it was not uncommon for a cop to walk by, bend down & take whatever he wanted from the tips they had been given and then just keep on walking. & that's one of the milder symptoms of a corrupt police department. Hell, by some accounts the corruption is so institutionalized down there that it's damn near a pre-requisite for employment.

So cops stealing during a crisis shouldn't surprise anyone since the cops were stealing when things were just dandy down there.

"At the Times-Picayune Web site, Mike Perlstein and Brian Thevenot wrote that at a Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, mass looting broke out after a giveaway of supplies was announced at that location. While some did indeed carry away food and essentials, others cleared out jewelry racks and carted out computers, TVs, and appliances on handtrucks. Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television.
Throughout the store and parking lot, looters pushed carts and loaded trucks and vans alongside officers. One man said police directed him to Wal-Mart from Robert's Grocery, where a similar scene was taking place. A crowd in the electronics section said one officer broke the glass DVD case so people wouldn't cut themselves.
'The police got all the best stuff. They're crookeder than us,' one man said. Most officers, though, simply stood by powerless against the tide of law breakers."

Well yeah; the cops have probably had more experience at theft than the looters. But I do find it sad, though not surprising, that what started out as a charitable action (Wal-Mart giving away essentials) turned into open thievery. It's a sad but very real aspect of human nature to take advantage of someone's generosity.

Needless to say any cop who loots should be unemployed while the await sentencing along with the non cops who looted non essential items.

"Inside the store, one woman was stocking up on make-up. She said she took comfort in watching police load up their own carts. 'It must be legal,' she said. 'The police are here taking stuff, too."

Well ya know, I gotta admit I feel the same way about carrying openly in Denver or possessing arms at all in D.C. If the cops do it on an individual basis it's hard to fault a non-cop for doing it on an individual basis. In this case though I think we can agree the cops were setting the wrong example.

Looters worsen hurricane crisis in New Orleans

"US National Guard troops early Thursday girded for a mission to stem rising anarchy in looting-hit New Orleans, as authorities tried to stop the situation spiralling out of control.
'The National Guard is quickly hoping to turn its mission to more law enforcement,' Bob Mann, spokesman for Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, told reporters in a late night briefing."

It'd have been nice if they could have been supplemented with the unorganized militia, but it's doubtful if any could have been assembled in sufficient numbers to offer more than token help. Still, token help is sometimes better than no help.

"Crisis talks on the worsening situation in the swamped city came as police chased armed gangs through the darkened streets of New Orleans.
Shots were fired highlighting mounting danger in the southern city that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina on Monday.
Residents reported hundreds of looters on the streets, carjackings, armed robberies and even shots fired at helicopters evacuating patients from local hospitals.
Media reports said one gang had commandeered a telephone company van to carry out robberies while Fox News television said two men with AK47 semi-automatic rifles had opened fire on a police station."

That would be the sort of lawlessness that gun control advocates say would never happen & is thus no justification for keeping or bearing arms. Asshats every one of them.

Media Responsibility from Hugh Hewitt

Hugh posts about the media reporting on how bad things are, & offers his opinion on why they shouldn't.

Unbelievable from Hugh Hewitt

Hugh reports on how bad things are.

Actually he says that the Navy SEALs should be called in. & the situation itself is deplorable, not too unlike the plot of many bad "B" horror films, except the zombies in this case are still alive. From what Hugh excerpted:

"Tuesday, 11:45 p.m.
Late Tuesday, Gov. Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher described a disturbing scene unfolding in uptown New Orleans, where looters were trying to break into Children's Hospital.
Bottcher said the director of the hospital fears for the safety of the staff and the 100 kids inside the hospital. The director said the hospital is locked, but that the looters were trying to break in and had gathered outside the facility.
The director has sought help from the police, but, due to rising flood waters, police have not been able to respond.
Bottcher said Blanco has been told of the situation and has informed the National Guard. However, Bottcher said, the National Guard has also been unable to respond."

Trouble is the Navy SEALs won't get there in time. Hell, I haven't heard anything else about it so I have no idea what happened after Hugh's report.

I excerpted a bit about a nursing home whose director said that she'd have to round up arms for the employees & teach them how to shoot. That would be fitting advice for the employees of the children’s hospital if they can find arms.

But that's a mighty big "if". Even if the "if" is achievable there's the question of teaching the employees how to handle the arms safely & efficiently. What I mean is when something like this happens & you start passing out rifles to inexperienced & possibly hoplophobic people it's not comforting for anyone. Oh, it's much better than the alternative, which is to be totally defenseless & rely on the mercy of the attackers but it's not ideal.

What would have been ideal is for every adult who works around kids or the elderly or the infirm to at least have a basic safety & marksmanship course under his or her belt. If they went shooting regularly that's so much the better.

But the hoplophobes, democrat & republican alike, insist that firearms should not be around children. In schools is where the main thrust of this argument goes, but I can see them equally repulsed at the idea of having arms inside a hospital, especially around the children's unit. & those folks will feel no guilt at their idiocy when some thug or thugs kill those same children they claimed to want to protect.

I believe that everyone who is capable & willing should be armed. I also believe it'd be wrong to force arms upon someone against their will. However that is not to say that I wouldn't be in favor of an across the board (i.e. not as a condition of a permit or license) requirement for every damn body to have at minimum the basic safety & marksmanship training that would at least give them the option of knowing how to safely handle a firearm if the situation arises.

& it seems in New Orleans the situation has indeed arisen.

But Hugh & many other republicans as well as most democrats would feel better if the government handled things. I can’t say I wouldn’t feel better if a SEAL team had my back, but since that is not likely to happen I know I must rely on myself. Self help is a necessary thing at times because even when government is being benevolent it is not usually able to protect you.

Radio captures the horror, exhaustion

Another compilation of what's happened in New Orleans.

Superdome of Shame

Read it. It's about victim disarmament being a condition of admittance into the Superdome.

Superdome Evacuation Halted Amid Gunfire

That link is just too pitiful to excerpt from. Read it before it expires.

Troops, Police Deployed to Stop Looting

"New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos."

Again, exactly the kind of thing that gun control supporters say will never happen here.

"About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans convention center grew increasingly hostile after waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly driven back by an angry mob.
'We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten,' Compass said. 'Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.'
A military helicopter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet off the ground and flew away."

Keep in mind the government disarmed everyone before they'd let them in. That made them much easier prey for the rapists & thugs.

"Tourist Debbie Durso of Washington, Mich., said she asked a police officer for assistance and his response was, "'Go to hell — it's every man for himself.'"

What was that about "to protect & serve" or that other thing about not needing guns because we have the cops? That's what I thought.

"One military policeman was shot in the leg as he and a man scuffled for the MP's rifle, police Capt. Ernie Demmo said. The man was arrested.
Some of those among the mostly poor crowd had been in the dome for four days without air conditioning, working toilets or a place to bathe. An ambulance service airlifting the sick and injured out of the Superdome suspended flights as too dangerous after it was reported that a bullet was fired at a military helicopter."

Just sad all the way around. I'd hope they caught the person firing at the helicopter, but it's not very likely.

"FEMA officials said some operations had to be suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out.
A day after Nagin took 1,500 police officers off search-and-rescue duty to try to restore order in the streets, there were continued reports of looting, shootings, gunfire and carjackings — and not all the crimes were driven by greed.
When some hospitals try to airlift patients, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan said, 'there are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family."

Now there are some winners in the evolutionary game. I mean when I want help I always fire a few warning shots at the folks I need assistance from. I get the feeling that if it weren't for mandated warning labels on damn near everything those folks wouldn't have been around to cause a problem.

But carjackers, strong arm or armed robbers & random shooters should all be shot upon discovery of such behavior. They won't be in most cases which will further embolden them to continue in that behavior.

"Donald Dudley, a 55-year-old New Orleans seafood merchant, complained that when he and other hungry refugees broke into the kitchen of the convention center and tried to prepare food, the National Guard chased them away.
'They pulled guns and told us we had to leave that kitchen or they would blow our damn brains out,' he said. 'We don't want their help. Give us some vehicles and we'll get ourselves out of here!"

K, I can see an argument that these were just hungry folks trying to feed themselves. I can also see an argument that the food there was for everyone & thus there actions were wrong. Then again I can see a counter argument that the food was not being distributed properly or efficiently, which of course could be further countered by the food being conserved as it was in short supply.

One thing that is consistent is that government is not a dream come true in a crisis. It can be but you should remember that government is very inefficient. It can get things done that private enterprise cannot, but that's owing to its size rather than its effectiveness.

But the statement that "we don't want their help" is contradicted by saying "Give us some vehicles and we'll get ourselves out of here!". If their help isn't needed then it wouldn't be necessary to demand vehicles. After all I always viewed giving someone a vehicle as a form of "help".

Still it's a messy situation.

Bush warns against looting, gas price gouging

"President Bush said on Thursday looters plundering stores in New Orleans and elsewhere in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should be treated with 'zero tolerance' and warned gasoline sellers against price gouging.
In an interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' Bush drew no line between those looting stores for survival supplies like food and water and those stealing television sets that are of no use with electricity out in New Orleans.
'I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this, whether it be looting, or price-gouging at the gasoline pump or taking advantage of charitable giving, or insurance fraud,' Bush said in an interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America.'
Looting has run rampant in New Orleans as stranded victims of Hurricane Katrina await emergency assistance.
'If people need water and food, we're going to do everything we can to get them water and food. But it's very important for the citizens in all affected areas to take personal responsibility and assume kind of a civic sense of responsibility so the situation doesn't get out of hand, so people don't exploit the vulnerable,' Bush said."

That's Bush's authoritarian streak for ya - zero tolerance even when starving is simply not realistic. Sure, stealing is wrong even when it's necessary to provide for your existence, but I won't condemn someone outright for something I may very well do if I were in their place.

That's an example of Bush's socialist streak for ya. Price gouging? That's simply a mechanism of the market when demand exceeds supply. It's given the title of "price gouging" by folks who don't understand the market or who think that a free market is inherently evil.

But Bush, like too many republicans & most democrats believe the best solution is for folks to rely on the government. Merely suggesting otherwise is repugnant to that kind of thinking.

New Orleans Mayor Issues 'Desperate SOS'

'Fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday."

Actually it had been in a state of anarchy since the hurricane hit. It's just that on Thursday the bad side of anarchy became much more noticeable.

"The plea from Mayor Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to help restore order and put a stop to the looting, carjackings and gunfire that have gripped New Orleans in the days since Hurricane Katrina plunged much of the city under water."

& I do appreciate the efforts of the guardsmen as well as the NOPD & all other military & law enforcement folks who are trying to straighten things out. But despite the best of intentions & efforts the only solution is to be able & willing to protect yourself. I repeat that so much because I know it will be lost on most folks who watch these events unfold.

"In Washington,Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the government is sending in 1,400 National Guardsmen a day to help stop looting and other lawlessness in New Orleans. Already, 2,800 National Guardsmen are in the city, he said.
But across the flooded-out city, the rescuers themselves came under attack from storm victims.
'Hospitals are trying to evacuate,' said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. 'At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, You better come get my family.'
Some Federal Emergency Management rescue operations were suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out, Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said in Washington. 'In areas where our employees have been determined to potentially be in danger, we have pulled back,' he said.
A National Guard military policeman was shot in the leg as the two scuffled for the MP's rifle, police Capt. Ernie Demmo said. The man was arrested.
'These are good people. These are just scared people,' Demmo said."

That is the root of the problem. Good people don't shoot at rescue helicopters when they're afraid. The idea of humans having a "better nature" is simply not realistic. Wishing does not make it so, & believing that the guy who is raping your wife has a good side is not going to mean a damn thing when she asks why you couldn't protect her. An appeal to folk’s better natures won't stop them from harming you. I'm afraid only force can accomplish that.

Troops to Quadruple New Orleans Police

"We will be deploying into New Orleans a force the size of the New Orleans police department each day, every day, for the next three days. That is a remarkable movement of law enforcement capability into an area that clearly needs augmentation and reinforcement,' Assistant Defense Secretary Paul McHale said.
The Guard troops in New Orleans are part of a contingent of 30,000 that the military expects to put on duty in the Gulf states as demands grow for more security and relief assistance."

Despite their efforts it will still be a few days before order is restored to whomever is left in New Orleans. Even when order is restored the need for personal protection will be there. In most cities across the u.S. you need to be able to protect yourself when there isn't a crisis.

The message from government should have been "we'll do everything we can to help you, but be prepared to help yourselves". That should have been drilled into every school child from the inception of government run schools.

Instead we have a society that believes government will protect them individually & gets rather confused & angry when that doesn't pan out.

More Civil Unrest from SayUncle

SayUncle reports that problems are occurring in Baton Rouge.

Are you fucking kidding me? from SayUncle

SayUncle is upset at the results of the federal efforts to help in New Orleans. & he should be upset. But he shouldn't be surprised.

Any government is inherently an inefficient operation. Government can do some things better than private enterprise but that's chiefly owing to the size government can grow to. It's that same size that allows it to muscle through problems that would stall private entities that slow its reaction time down.

I often tell people that government is the same bunch of folks who created the DMV. You know how well that's run form a customer perspective, so why be surprised that a government run operation involving more serious matters is not delivering satisfactory service tot he individuals it purports to serve? You want to put together a kick ass army? Government is the best way. You want to build roads across multiple states? Government is arguably the best way. You want to distribute aid to the needy in a crisis? It stalls. It doesn't fail completely, but it is simple not going to be efficient at servicing the needs of the individual.

A broader question is whether or not the federal government should be involved in such enterprises at all. I'm reminded of a rather lengthy tale told by Col. David Crockett that addresses this very subject.

Private institutions are probably more capable of rendering aid to individuals in the gulf coast states. Where government coordination is needed is on the state, not the federal level. What would be appropriate on the federal level is for Bush to call out the militia, both organized (which he did) & unorganized (which he would be loathe to do) to assist the state militias of Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama.

But SayUncle is pissed (if you couldn't tell form the title). He wants his money back. Hell, I never trusted those bastards in D.C. with my money to begin with, which is probably why they resort to stealing it from me rather than asking for donations.

One thing I will recommend though is if you can give to charities that are trying to help things down there. Instapundit has a list of charities that need your donations for the relief efforts in the gulf coast states. If you want more bang for your buck Chuck Simmins has a list of corporations that either have contributed or are matching contributions from individuals to certain charities.

Your charity is your choice, but I'm going to throw some cash to The Salvation Army. If I can scrape up a little more I'll send it to Soldier's Angels. Ya'll do what ya can. & if that means putting a little more effort into taking your kids, co-workers, kin or anyone else to the range with you, or even just going more often yourself then maybe some of the lessons of the disorder in New Orleans won't be lost.

Posted by Publicola at September 1, 2005 07:47 PM | TrackBack
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