None dare call it looting
By Joseph Parish
It doesn’t take very long after a disaster occurs before the various crimes start to happen. In no time at all we see ruthless events taking place that show total disregard for other individuals. Stores are looted and robbed within 24 hours of the emergency condition beginning. My question to this is whether it is looting or a case of scavenging.
As we watch the various after affects of a disaster on the television it is obvious that the media depicts these active crimes as one of looting. They show people boldly breaking into local business buildings and carrying out everything from a loaf of bread to a color TV. Our media makes us believe that these people are totally against all rules established for humanity and these criminal elements have complete disregard for human life or property.
Within only a few days after the Haitian earthquake our media moguls displayed a series of photographic images with the caption of “Looting.” One image showed a gentleman on the ground with a container of milk at his side while another individual lying nearby showed a high priced portable stereo in plan sight. One was obviously robbing for food and survival while the other was an opportunist out to get whatever they could for free.
Let’s think for a moment on our images that we have before us. That gentlemen caught with the bottle of milk may well have been robbing to feed a starving child or a baby. In my view that is a whole lot different than grabbing a television because of the current situation.
Suppose you were to encounter a situation as this, would you be prepared to use excessive force on the man trying to obtain milk? Should he really be considered a criminal? Let’s put our self in his place. Since the disaster has occurred you have lost your home, all your money and your credit cards are worthless. In your wife’s arms lies your new born child who is hungry and crying. In reality, there are no longer viable stores or shops which are functioning. The owners have gone to safer locations, banks are closed and it’s impossible to obtain any money. What would your course of action be?
It seems to me that as a responsible human being, I would not condemn the man who is robbing for food. It may not be proper but he likely has no other alternative in the matter. It would seem logical to me that as I accumulate my survival food supplies perhaps I should invest in what I will call “my humanitarian supplies” as well. These vital products would be intended to help alleviate my fellow mans suffering during those disaster periods.
Would it not be better for you also to plan accordingly and avoid an undesirable encounter with a person doing what you and I would likewise be doing? Think carefully here for your answer – is it looting or scavenging?
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish