Shoot To Kill

We talk a lot about how disasters bring out the best in people, and that’s often true. Certainly it’s the case among the vast majority in Katrina’s wake today.

On the other hand, this particular disaster has also brought out the absolute scum of the earth, and given them free reign for a time:

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.


[New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas] said looting has also escalated and an atmosphere of lawlessness has developed as police resources have been almost entirely devoted to search-and-rescue operations for people trapped by floodwaters on roofs and in attics. “Widespread looting is taking place in all parts of the city” – from uptown and Canal Street to areas around the housing projects, Thomas said.

“People are going in and out of businesses at Louisiana and Claiborne (avenues), taking clothes, tennis shoes and goods,” Thomas said. “It is inconceivable to me how people can do this.”

“People are leaving the Superdome to go to Canal Street to loot,” Thomas said. “Some people broke into drug stores and stole the drugs off the shelves. It is looting times five. I’m telling you, it’s like Sodom and Gomorrah.”

More unfortunately, at least some elements of the notoriously-corrupt New Orleans police force are getting in on the looting themselves:

At the Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, an initial effort to hand out provisions to stranded citizens quickly disintegrated into mass looting. Authorities at the scene said bedlam erupted after the giveaway was announced over the radio.

While many people carried out food and essential supplies, 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.

From New Orleans’ best columnist, Chris Rose, now one of over a million refugees on the road:

We had catfish and pulled pork in a barbeque joint in Natchez and the folks there – everyone we have met along our three-day journey – has said the same thing: Good luck, folks. We love your city. Take care of it for us.
Oh, my city. We have spent hours and hours listening to the radio. Image upon image piling up in your head.

What about school? What about everyone’s jobs? Did all our friends get out? Are there still trees on the streetcar line? What will our economy be like with no visitors? How many are dead? Do I have a roof? Have the looters found me yet? When can we go home?

Like I said, it consumes you as you sit helplessly miles from home, unable to help anyone, unable to do anything.

If I could, what I’d do first is hurt the looters. I’d hurt them bad.

But you have to forget all that. You have to focus on what is at hand, what you can reach and when you have three little kids lost at sea, they are what’s at hand and what you can reach.

Citizen Keith Williams has a good idea on how to restore order (but he’s not waiting for it to be put into effect):

Uptown resident Keith Williams started his own security patrol, driving around in his Ford pickup with his newly purchased handgun. Earlier in the day, Williams said he had seen the body of a gunshot victim near the corner of Leonidas and Hickory streets.

“What I want to know is why we don’t have paratroopers with machine guns on every street,” Williams said.

Lock and load.


38 Responses to “Shoot To Kill”

  1. Ernie K Doe Says:

    The thought that I keep having at the sight of the looters, especially those going after the non-essential items, is that they are merely distributing the detritous and increasing the likelihood of their own deaths.

    There’s no easy way out of the city without help, even more so with anything but your own person. The clothes and electronics being taken are likely being stored on the second floor of houses where the water is still rising. The people who’ve taken these things, like a child who’s hand is stuck in a candy jar, will be unlikely to want to let them go. And yet, with the water rising, the bodies floating, and the fresh water supply shrinking, disease won’t be long for many that stay.

  2. Sister Toldjah Says:

    Looters try to break into children’s hospital

    Unbelievable. The city of New Orleans has descended into chaos as, unfortunately, natural disasters sometimes tend to bring out the worst in people. It’s difficult to get them all the help they need seeing as that the roads, bridges, and hi…

  3. The World Wide Rant - v3.0 Says:

    Loot Shoot First

    Maybe I’m just insensitive, but if the cops see someone looting something other than food and drink, the necessities of life in a disaster, just go ahead and plug’em. Bang bang bang. If the disaster didn’t clean up the gene…

  4. Andrew X Says:

    Looting wasn’t much of a problem after the San Francisco earthquake.

    Might possibly have to do with the announcement that looters would be shot on sight, end of discussion.

    Of course, we are so much more enlightened these days.

    With a lot more looting.

  5. Kenny Says:

    I guess someone should blame Rumsfeld for the looting

  6. Susan Says:

    Looters *should* be shot on sight. But if the National Guard or any military unit is called in, you have the awful situation of US troops firing upon US citizens. To say that would be bad is an understatement.

    It would possibly be better to either organize the police or have the police deputize folks who can’t get out of the city to patrol, a la Keith Williams, with the warning spread throughout the city that looter will be shot.

    I wish I had a magical solution. I’ve never been to NO, I don’t know anybody who lives there or near there, and yet I can’t stop weeping for these people and their beautiful city.

  7. redleg Says:

    the 82nd Airborne is merely waiting for the word

    the problem will be in getting there

  8. Aaron Hood Says:

    Has anyone ever been to New Orleans? The city is filled with scum, and for lack of a better term, freaks. This was entirely predictable.

  9. V-Man Says:

    Looting will be a sort of self-fixing problem in the long run. Really, what’s going to happen?

    1) The looters will try to evacuate with the rest. The authorities won’t let them take more than a bag with them. Unless they hit a jewelry store (and even then — could they break into the safe?), looting was for naught.

    2) The looters will try to hide the loot before they evacuate. In a month, it’ll all be ruined anyway, both for the looter and the rightful owner.

    3) The looters will stay to protect their newfound stash. They will either get shot when the authorities forcibly try to remove them and get shot at, or they will die of disease, exposure and lack of food and water.

    In the end, very few looters will get away with it.

  10. Matt Says:

    I think Andrew is wrong…attitudes haven’t changed all _that_ much since the fall of 1989. But, even discounting the cultural aspects (let’s face it…on 9/11, who _wasn’t_ saying, by mid-day, something like “if that were happening in Los Angeles, the whole city would be burning to cinders by now”?), there’s the simple fact that there was no mass evacuation after the earthquake. Utilities went out, there was a lot of property damage, but you didn’t have millions of people fleeing their homes and businesses en masse. Which of course reduced the opportunity for looting.

  11. Shawn Wasson Says:

    Katrina Video Wire

  12. Will Allen Says:

    New Orleans has been the worst-governed major American city for many, many years now. It makes Chicago look like a paragon of clean government. When a pervasive atmosphere of lawless corruption is allowed to fester for years and years on end, this is the result when central authority is temporarily lost. Habits and social mores regulate human behavior more than statutes, and New Orleans, a city which I have enjoyed immensely, has had habitually destructive behavior woven into it’s fabric for a long time.

  13. erp Says:

    Drudge has it that amphibians are on their way.

  14. jmaster Says:

    Another reason why every reasonable person should own firearms.

    I had a friend who suffered through Andrew a few years back. He and his wife were life long lefties, totally anti-gun. About a week after the storm hit, he called me for advice on buying (and using) a gun.

    The situation wasn

  15. Pat Says:

    I can understand hungry and thirsty people looting stores for food and water, but computers, TVs and jewelry? Totally disgusting.

    Isn’t it amazing that the US will rush to aid folks all over the world when disaster stikes, but when the US is hit…crickets chirping.

  16. Slartibartfast Says:

    Drudge has it that amphibians are on their way.

    Frogs? In a few weeks, the tree frogs will be deafening. I have no idea how this is supposed to be a good thing, though.

  17. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: WIll Collier
    RE: Object Lessons

    “Lock and load.” — Will Collier

    But this goes against the grain of american politically-correct law enforcement thinking. Property is NOT worth killing, or even wounding, ANYONE.

    In that case, this is the logical outcome. Any disaster where the police cannot be there to protect property becomes fair game to the one with the ‘will’ to take it. And the devil take those who would defend their property. Either him or the law, when they finally catch up with them.

    This will only add to the insurance claims made. And the insurance companies are going to complain about it too. But I doubt if it will have any effect on PC thinking.



  18. Will Collier Says:


    They attacked a hospital. A Children’s Hospital.

  19. Joe from Jersey Says:

    Regarding the siege of the hospital. Looks like the druggies are all starting to fiend for a high. Reminds me of that episode of OZ where the heroin supply was cut off. And I agree with everyoen here, lock and load and shoot on site.

  20. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: That Too

    “They attacked a hospital. A Children’s Hospital.” — Will Collier

    Yeah…I know.

    Now THERE, the laws relating to the lawful use of deadly force could well come into play. Property…no. Life and limb of others…you betcha.



  21. Andrew X Says:

    Matt –

    Sorry. I was speaking Calirfornian.
    There is and was only one ‘San Francisco Earthquake’ – 1906.

    That other one was just a jiggle.

    Things have changed rather a lot since then.

  22. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: I Am Reminded…

    …., by these continued reports, of Niven & Pournelle’s classic Lucifer’s Hammer.



  23. jmaster Says:


  24. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: jmaster
    RE: Martial Law?!??!!


  25. Chuck Pelto Says:

    P.S. But, I can see justification for declaring it. I just think the civil authorities don’t want to admit to not being able to handle the situation.

    Is there an election coming up for them?

  26. Will Collier Says:

    Whether she admits it or not, Gov. Blanco was clearly unprepared for anything like this disaster, either intellectually or emotionally. She’s been a complete flop thus far. Blanco was never anything but a machine politician to begin with, and “deer in the headlights” doesn’t even begin to cover her current state.

  27. jmaster Says:

    The reports of declaration of Martial law were not correct?

    But I read it on The Drudge Report! And I haven’t seen a correction! That means it has to be true, right?

    (sarcasm off)

    My bad…..

  28. rbj Says:

    There was actually a good point made on NPR this morning (waits for the shock to wear off). New Orleans/LA. politicians are voted in because they’re colorful characters, not because they’re able administrators.

  29. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: Preaching to Da Choir

    “Blanco was never anything but a machine politician to begin with, and “deer in the headlights” doesn’t even begin to cover her current state.” — Will Collier

    That’s the MO of politics in Louisiana. SOP. Machine politics, color [as in characters] and hypocrisy. I know. I came of age there.




    August 31, 2005

    BILLION DOLLAR WEB COMPANIES TO NEW ORLEANS, “DROP DEAD.” InformationWeek > Online Relief > Web Reacts To Hurricane Katrina > August 29, 2005 : “But mainstream Web sites that had jumped to pull in money for the tsunami victims showed no evidence of rep…


    August 31, 2005

    BILLION DOLLAR WEB COMPANIES TO NEW ORLEANS, “DROP DEAD.” InformationWeek > Online Relief > Web Reacts To Hurricane Katrina > August 29, 2005 : “But mainstream Web sites that had jumped to pull in money for the tsunami victims showed no evidence of rep…

  32. rabidfox Says:

    As I understand it, LA doesn’t have a “Martial Law” statute. What they’ve declared is “Emergency Law”, which is, in effect, martial law without the name. Some how, martial law sounds a tad more serious.

  33. richard mcenroe Says:

    KTLA (Tribune) in Los Angeles this morning ran tape of a news crew confronting a looter:

    “If I wasn’t s’posed to do this, the police would be here stopping me!”

    You know, “no controlling legal authority.”

  34. Alex Sloat Says:

    Anyone stealing food or water from stores is just fine by my standards – it’ll be ruined by the time anyone gets to it legitimately(hell, it’s ruined now), so it might as well keep people alive in the meantime. Anyone taking the opportunity to steal anything that they don’t need to keep themselves alive deserves to be floating head-down for the next few days(or weeks, if it takes longer than they think). In calmer times, I’d take them all in and toss them in jail for a while, but this isn’t a situation with a functioning legal system, so treat it as a situation that needs to be dealt with by naked force. Shoot the fuckers – and that includes any cops who get in on looting too. It’s less devastating than the alternatives.

  35. rosignol Says:

    I thought that some of the civil laws that martial law over rode were related to use of force. I

  36. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: rosignol
    RE: Martial Law

    “Martial law is ugly, and only used in dire circumstances… but this might qualify.” — rosignol

    Only when the civil authorities admit that they cannot cope with a situation. I saw it exercised, once, in Idaho, as a solution to a simulated natural disaster (earthquake) with mass casualties.

    The mayor and county commishs walked into an NG cav squadron commander’s office and said they could not cope with the situation as described to them. The adjutant, a bright attorney in town told the commander, “We can declare martial law, if these gentlemen agree.” They agreed.

    However, as I understand it, state law has to allow for such. Idaho did, at that time. Louisiana, as I hear, does not, at this time. But you are right. From the looks of it, NO could certainly use something like this.



  37. Greg Says:

    I think New Orleans would be better off had the people of Louisiana elected Governor Jindal.

  38. A Firm Nail Says:

    Katrina, New Orleans, and looting

    A friend mentioned recently that the events in New Orleans point out some important things. First, no matter how much we like to feel secure, all we have can be destroyed in a matter of minutes. It’s good for us…

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