Thursday, September 01, 2005

Funny Headline, Not-so-funny Abuse of Power

Mikaela posts:
From Democracy Now:
New Orleans Orders Police to Stop Looting

Of course, this is really a copy-editing problem and not a signal of enlightenment from area police. The story reports that the police chief orders police to stop OTHERS from looting.

from Washington Post article interviewing an academic expert Benigno E. Aguirre of the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware on the complexities of looting:

In New Orleans, the city police chief chased looters away "while city officials themselves were commandeering equipment from a looted Office Depot. During a state of emergency, authorities have broad powers to take private supplies and buildings for their use.

"Amid the chaos Wednesday," the Associated Press reported, "thieves commandeered a forklift and used it to push up the storm shutters and break the glass of a pharmacy. The crowd stormed the store, carrying out so much ice, water and food that it dropped from their arms as they ran. The street was littered with packages of ramen noodles and other items. Looters also chased down a state police truck full of food.

"At one store, hordes of people from all ages, races and walks of life grabbed food and water. Some drove away with trunkloads of beer."

Who is to say whether these were criminals or people desperate to survive, Aguirre says.

Good question, Prof. Aguirre. Unfortunately, the answer is our Commander-in-Chief and his lackeys with guns.

Here's what this looks like on the ground:

Looks fair and civilized, no?