Looter Control Went Too Far

Historically it is not a new occurrence. People who raid abandoned or damaged stores, homes and other buildings to steal everything in sight during a disaster have been harshly punished by law enforcers.

In an article on the Los Angeles Times website, Rebecca Solnit says that on the morning of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city’s mayor authorized law enforcers to “shoot to kill” looters. And in the much more recent disaster of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans police officers were authorized by martial law to shoot looters, according to a report by investigative news organization ProPublica, PBS’ “Frontline” and New Orleans’ Times-Picayune newspaper. Police opened fire on citizens in many documented instances during the flooding. And 16 officers have been charged with crimes, including the shooting deaths of three people, says the article.

“One of the things we can learn from Hurricane Katrina is that the people in charge need to prioritize human life over private property.”

To read the Los Angeles Times article, click here:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-solnit-katrina-looting-20100829,0,7411362.story