Friday, September 02, 2005

Looting in New Orleans

The strangest thing about the New Orleans disaster is the looting. I’m sure plenty of other people have felt the same, that in a time of great distress for thousands of people a bunch of people have suddenly arisen, as it were, and decided to take advantage of the vulnerability of the rest of the community.

Where have they come from? Are they all native New Orleans people, who’ve been living in poverty themselves and now believe this is ‘their time?’ Are they gangs who’ve always been into theft and crime in the city and environs, and now are making the most of their chance to further their usual occupations in a really big way? Are they opportunists who see that there’s far less risk in doing evil at this particular time and feel they can get away with it with little likelihood of being caught?

It’s as if they hadn’t existed before, or hadn’t been known to exist before, and now they’ve come out of hiding like some plague that’s been lurking under the surface until the city is at its least protected.

The human reaction is to wish them all to drown in the middle of their wickedness, to be swept away by rising waters, their arms full of their ill-gotten but no longer valuable gains. But justice in this world being what it is, that’s probably unlikely. At best a few might get caught. The rest will have to wait till Judgement Day, when the justice that no one can escape finally catches up with them. Let’s hope they have a really, really good excuse for what they’re doing. They’ll need it.
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