It’s probably a good thing I’m not deciding who gets shot

Owners Take Up Arms as Looters Press Their Advantage

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 31 – In a city shut down for business, the Rite Aid at Oak and South Carrollton was wide open on Wednesday. Someone had stolen a forklift, driven it four blocks, peeled up the security gate and smashed through the front door.

The young and the old walked in empty-handed and walked out with armfuls of candy, sunglasses, notebooks, soda and whatever else they could need or find. No one tried to stop them.

I just had this discussion yesterday with a co-worker. I realize that the police are busy. But, were I making decisions, looters would be dealt with harshly, though if ammunition levels were okay I’d authorize warning shots first.

As for private property:

John Carolan was sitting on his porch in the thick, humid darkness just before midnight Tuesday when three or four young men, one with a knife and another with a machete, stopped in front of his fence and pointed to the generator humming in the front yard, he said.

One said, “We want that generator,” he recalled.

“I fired a couple of rounds over their heads with a .357 Magnum,” Mr. Carolan recounted Wednesday. “They scattered.”

Scattered is better than splattered, I guess.

The article does note, however, that things aren’t exactly cut and dried:

One woman outside a Sav-a-Center on Tchoupitoulas Street was loading food, soda, water, bread, peanut butter and canned food into the trunk of a gray Oldsmobile.

“Yes, in a sense it’s wrong, but survival is the name of the game,” said the woman, who would not identify herself. “I’ve got six grandchildren. We didn’t know this was going to happen. The water is off. We’re trying to get supplies we need.”

Meanwhile, Instapundit has a huge post with links and information for relief efforts.

UPDATE: Regardless of the amount of on-hand ammunition, I would not waste time with warning shots for those shooting at helicopters evacuating victims.

What sort of clueless idiot damn fool fires at United States Army Chinook helicopters? Haven’t they heard of the Chinook’s little cousin the Apache?

They probably have heard of the Apache, of course. The thing is, they don’t think the Apache will show up or do anything. And that’s why it’s okay to shoot at Chinooks full of refugees.

Which is exactly why I’d be as harsh as my manpower and ammunition supply allowed.

UPDATE 2: Looters? What looters? See Winds of Change.

UPDATE 3: Instapundit notes Ted Frank:

I fully acknowledge that shooting looters is an inappropriately disproportionate response if one views looting as mere larceny. But one doesn’t shoot looters to protect property, one does so to protect order. Somebody is going to suffer unjustly when society breaks down. I don’t understand why Muller thinks it preferable for the law-abiding citizens to be the cost-bearers. History has shown repeatedly that the way to stop an anarchic riot is an early display of substantial force.

The concept of “order” is exactly what I’ve been harping on in my discussions with co-workers. The situation along the Gulf coast is dire enough without having to worry about this crap.

When aid workers in Somalia couldn’t get through due to violence, we sent in the Marines. When the Marines were pulled out, the violence re-escalated to the point where we had to send in Special Forces to hunt the perpetrators.

Some people are shooting at evacuation helicopters, carjacking aid trucks, and attacking police and medical personnel.

Many are calling the Gulf coast a “third-world” region in the aftermath of Katrina.

Let’s not let it get there.


  1. We didn’t know this was going to happen’? I thought the retarded had family members or handlers with them throughout the day to explain things to them? And then there’s the other guy. I don’t know why Mr. Carolan wasted precious ammo on warning shots. One guy with a knife, one with a machete jump the fence and make to steal, they’d’a been dead had it been me.

  2. It is interesting how this post shows both sides of the gun issue. We have the classic ‘My gun saved my life and/or property’ story and the ‘Nut job with gun shoots at good people’ story.

  3. MP: Right you are. To be honest, that thought occured to me as I wrote and quoted, but I didn’t want to get into a guns debate. Still don’t, as a matter of fact. :]

  4. LOOTING, in my mind, does not include things needed for survival. Food, basic clothing, sunscreen, even a boat to float down the street. This is not the LOOTING anyone is worried about. OK, now that LOOTING is defined… I think there is probably enough ammunition for warning shots, but the problem is that if warning shots are used, evil people will just stop looting there, head down the street, and do it again. However, there is always the possibility that someone will get caught in a bad situation, where they aren’t intentionally looting, but it appears as such. So, fire warning shots 5 out of 6 times. If everyone understood those odds, it would make things MUCH better. Few are going to take a 1 in 6 chance of getting killed for a few DVD players. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could plan everything out this way, and calmly inform people of the ‘rules’ ahead of time? Back in the old Doctor Who episodes, whenever London was evacuated for whatever alien invasion, the military always had orders to shoot looters on sight, no questions, no warning. If you could magically discern between ‘survival’ looting and ‘greed’ looting, I’d support that today. Seriously, between the looting, arson, hijacking, raping, and attempts to shoot down the helicopters, this disaster has brought into sharp relief what a horrible, horrible society we’ve wrought, at least in large part. These events SHOULD bring to light amazing stories of heroism, not unbelievable stories of evil.

  5. I hope the military issues personal weapons to their people being sent in for relief efforts. Some of these PC National Guard commanders are dumb enough to send us in unarmed.

  6. Can’t use the Apache, the 30mm would be too hazardous. Break out the old Cobras and rearm them with the miniguns, and Blackhawks with door guns and have them ride shotgun.

  7. KTLA: I basically agree with your comment, including the Doctor Who comparisons. In discussion with some co-workers, I noted that a big part of the problem is the fact that there doesn’t really seem to have been any plan to evacuate those that could not evacuate themselves, leaving huge numbers of legit refugees in the city trying to fend for themselves. The sheer scale of the ‘legit refugees’ guarantees that any support system will be immediately overwhelmed, leading to the stealing of food and such for survival. If (big ‘if’) something could/would have been done to get 50% or 75% of these ‘legit’ refugees out of the disaster zone before the disaster struck, there would have been far fewer women and children taking food to survive, and differentiating between them and the true ‘looters’ would be far easier. Not to mention that many of the dead people would still be alive. I think once the dust settles and the flood waters recede we’re going to begin to realize that a lot of what’s happening is not really an accident but the result of bad plans or the failure to plan altogether.

  8. My question is Were the F*ck is the New Orleans Mayor and the Lousiana Governor??? I have seen the Missisipi gov he made it very clear any looters would be handled harshly qoute ‘for all you who think you are going to loot my state you will be dealt with as harshly as needed’ That is leadership. Whats up with the Mayor and Gov 1st they allowed the fire to start by giving orders to the police to allow looting as long as just food , how the hell do you tell someone in Wallmart to take the donuts leave the other stuff? Lousiana alone has 8,000 available gaurd thier is only 100,000 total people left in Lousiana and 25,000-30,000 of those are around the super dome. That leaves what a 10-1 ratio not counting the police and all the other states guard that can be called up WTF. It is up to the leadership the Mayor and Governor to ask for what is needed and make sure to get it.

  9. Bram, I’m willing to bet that outside of MPs, none of those Guardsmen you see on TV are armed. They probably left their weapons in the arms room back at the company. Now reports are out there of efforts by media to find CCW holders, preferably former military, to provide security for crews in NO. Not a bad idea, since FEMA has ordered its boat-rescue effort halted due to being shot at. Oh and of course earlier someone popped off a few at a CH47. It’s junk like this that makes a fella wonder….about whether .38 Hydroshoks or .357 fmjs are the preferred disaster round.

  10. Geeklethal: My disaster round is .308 (for looters and zombies alike). I like to alternate my magazines with FMJ’s and lead tipped in case of body armor. Pistols are last resort weapons for me. As for the National Guard – I was actually hoping to be sent at first (I am in the NJ National Guard). Now I am glad it has not happened because I’m sure my M-16A2 would be left in Jersey. I doubt they would even let me bring a 9mm. I think LAV-25’s (which aresupposedly amphibious) would be perfect riot control tools in this case.

  11. A good semi-auto shotgun (preferrably Remington 11-87) with a pistol-grip stock, ( and a magazine extender, would be the perfect disaster survival tool. Scare the true looters away, and take down the really ballsy ones in one or two shots. Start hitting dixie plates at 150 yards with stock sights and $8 remington 12-gauge slugs, and you are good to go. OOORAH.