Shooting looters on sight?

There’s a post over on Metroblogging New Orleans that is causing a lot of fuss, in part because it’s advocating shooting looters on sight. I personally think that’s a bit extreme, but I’m not there in that situation and don’t know how bad it really is. There’s more discussion in the comments about what that means and what is considered a looter but it’s a pretty sparky statement none the less. What I can say is that bands of armed looters roaming the streets is a damn good argument that the general public should be armed, and able to defend themselves. I think it’s fairly clear to anyone reading first hand accounts that it’s a total mess there, complete governmental failure to protect the people. Honestly, between knowing how quickly things degraded in Florida last year and riots that have happened here in LA, I have little faith that if something like this happened anywhere else in the US things would be any different. In LA for example, if there was no power, no water, no phones, no grid at all, I don’t think I’d feel secure that the already-stretched-too-thin police force would be able to protect me, or anyone else. And with the majority of the public having never seen a gun in person, I think most people would be fair game for anyone who decided they were going to go out and start taking things. I wonder how that situation would differ if the location was Switzerland where every person age 18 and over is required to own (and know how to operate) a gun. Of course that’s the extreme opposite and I’m sure there’s some middle ground that makes more sense but it’s an interesting situation unfolding right before our eyes here. I mean, basically, a huge city that was full of people last week now doesn’t exist, and in it’s place is outright anarchy.

6 thoughts on “Shooting looters on sight?”

  1. ‘…total mess there, complete governmental failure to protect the people…’

    Complete governmental failure to stop the looters, which is different. They were overwhelmed doing search-and-rescue on the people the past couple of days. Considering there might have been as many as 100,000 people left in the area, according to one report I read, I’m not surprised.

  2. Sorry to be confusing, I didn’t mean looteres was a sign of failure, I meant the general state of everything there and the feeling that everyone seems to have that no one knows what is really going on. That’s what I mean by failure, not simply that people are looting.

  3. During the L.A. Riots there was a lot of video of Koreatown businessmen, who had organised themselves into a militia, on their rooftops with automatic weaponry, as far as I know they had very few problems with looting or fires in those neighborhoods. At the time, the LAPD made a big deal out of how potentially dangerous a situation that was. They were very concerned that the businessmen would start shooting black people on sight, given the racial tensions between those two communities (remember the grocer who shot that black girl because she thought she “might” be stealing?).

  4. I’m not so sure more wide-spread gun ownership is the answer here – most of the shootings I’m hearing about are snipers shooting at hospitals, guns being used in carjackings, guns being used to steal other people’s food and water, guns being used to chase away rescue workers.

    Is an armed shootout preferable to an armed holdup?

  5. Good question Michael, and the answer isn’t easy. The assumtion you are making that I don’t agree with is that the armed holdups would be happening regardless. I think people who are inclined to do things like this are banking on the idea that the person they are going after dosen’t have a gun as well. I think if they did they wouldn’t be going after them. It’s the question if you were a burgler and had the option of robbing a house with a security system or one without which would you choose? I’m of the opinion if criminals knew that law abiding citizes were just as armed as they were they’d reconsider some tactics. As it is now it’s a pretty safe bet that anyone they are robbing won’t fight back.

    Obviously I’m not talking about snipers shooting at rescue workers and things.

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