In one captivating scene of Stephen Spielberg’s “War Of The Worlds”, a frenzied mob besieges a minivan until the character played by Tom Cruise relinquishes control of it with the drama heightened by a few brief moments of whether or not his preadolescent daughter was going to be part of the spoils. As someone that projects certain cultural and social trends into the future, the scenario reminded me of what would likely happen should an incident of overwhelming destruction ever occur within the United States.
Those with limited imaginations will brush it all aside and say such anarchy could never happen here. And under optimal circumstances, I would never have proof one way or the other as to the veracity of my sociological postulations regarding these matters. Unfortunately in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it seems I didn’t have to wait too long for a far off tragedy to receive confirmation.
Before the flood waters even had the opportunity to recede from this contemporary Atlantis, a wave of human scum far more deliberately malevolent than anything found in the forces of nature washed over the sunken city. For while most of the residents of the Gulf Coast were no doubt awed and humbled by the circumstances into which they were thrust, others less noble in bearing decided to exhibit behaviors proving they were barely worthy of membership among the ranks of civilized men by instead of aiding their neighbors in a time of overwhelming need deciding to prey upon them like common leeches.
Somehow thinking the laws of God and man no longer applied to them, these human rats descended on the remaining retail establishments of the city to conduct acts of unauthorized commerce outside the bounds of legal propriety. In other words for those with the same diminished reasoning capacities as those engaged in this pillage, old fashioned looting.
Those given over to the sunshine and moonbeam view of reality will whine but these people were only trying to provide for their families. Think so, do you?
Well, according to an Associated Press account titled, “Looting Begins In New Orleans”, these vandals had excess clothing and jewelry among their booty. Other reports claimed looters made off with televisions.
Now there is no kind of sob story that could possibly justify stealing a television in such a time of crisis. Much of that area won’t even have electricity for much of the foreseeable future.
As much as these criminals enrage law-abiding citizens, even more irritating are those justifying these social pathologies or that this human debris should not be dealt with with the strictest of responses.
In response to initial reports of looting, WMAL personality Chris Core suggested correctly that law enforcement in either the form of the police or national guard should shoot those refusing to desist in their acts of outright pillage. From the limp-wristed responses from a number of callers, it is safe to assume that these naive saps would have rather seen this radio personality tossed into the slammer rather than these darling looters.
Those wanting to go easy on the looters claimed that the items pillaged were only material items and not of equal value to a human life. But frankly, these things, especially beyond a days worth or so of food, are not for these people to take. Would those making such grandiose proclamations about the brotherhood of man feel so magnanimous if it happened to be their possession and heirlooms being rifled through; would Celine Dyon get so worked up insisting these people get to touch these things if the things to be touched were her’s?
Early on before all hell broke lose, Governor Blanco insisted that law enforcement personnel could not be diverted from rescue operations to protect what she dismissed as mere property. One wonders if she would have started off with the same anthropocentric sentiments if the pillagers had laid siege to the state house or governor’s mansion.
Those advocating an each according to his ability, each according to his need approach to disaster survival fail to realize that this failure to respect property is the first step down the path to devaluing someone else’s life all together. For just a short time after hearing about the looting of stores and such, reports started rolling in about shots being taken at rescue copters and rapists indulging their basest desires. Such acts certainly have a lot to do with survival, don’t they?
I guess these humanitarians wouldn’t want these scumbags shot either. Bet the wives of these spineless cowards feel safe and protected, but I guess women that wed such girlie men pretty much get what they deserve.
Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins