Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Looters And Survivors

You could have just about set your clock by it. Within just a few hours of the disaster, those who for whatever reason remained in the affected areas of the flooding began looting. Yet, there may be more to this than meets the eye. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that these are all a group of thugs waiting to take advantage of any tragedy. Yet, emember, there is no food, no drinkable water, and whatever possessions these folks may have at one time had, are probably for the most part history.

In fact, I heard one rumor to the effect that one Wal-mart actually opened it's doors to the desperate throngs of survivors. And I saw with my own two eyes a couple o f uniformed police officers that themselves were helping themselves to merchandise at one store in one of the areas.

Another person alleged that the police themselves actually gave them permission to loot the premises of one store. Of course, what could they say. It would be expecting too much to demand that a person obey the laws of human decency when that would result in an even more untenable situation than is currently the case. On the otehr hand, food and clothing are one hting. Televisions and stereos are something else again, and I can almost assure you that there are some people who will just not be able to hekp themselves from taking what all they can take.

The worse thing about it is the potential for violence that might exist, if two or more people engage in a brawl, that could easily turn into a gang war for turf. Hopefully, the police will keep things from deteriorating to that level. At the same time, however, in a situation where communications are severely limited, almost as much as the capacity for food, water, and sanitation, the police themselves, while being the last remaining bulwark in what may turn out to be a futile effort to restore some semblance of order, may be themselves on the edge of having to see first and foremost to their own survival.