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Disaster Violence

Campus Progress ran one of their “Ask the Expert” features on the media and disasters, The Looting Lie. Basically the media sets up a self-fulfilling prophesy by talking up the possibility of violence at some disasters, not others, and then reporting anything that seems to fit their narrative, even if it’s a rumor.

I’ve been in a few hurricane disasters, and there has certainly been looting and violence take place. Greed overcomes common decency, and people snap after putting up with extended periods of pressure. I doubt that anyone who isn’t from this area has even heard of our problems after hurricanes, because the cases take a while to go through the court system and aren’t very exciting. It’s part of the package of living in a hurricane prone area.

Everyone thinks that Katrina had extraordinary amounts of both, but once the hype died, New Orleans had a good deal less crime during and after Katrina, than normal. The only verified looting I actually heard reported was by a wealthy doctor who waited too long to evacuate, and while stranded broke into a pharmacy to get antibiotics. I know about it, because he said he did it on NPR, but he didn’t see it as “looting”, just a necessary precaution. After all, his platinum credit cards weren’t working and there was no one to staff the drug store, so it was OK for him to burglarize the store and steal the drugs. Only poor people are looters, not wealthy doctors. 😈

The media has been beating the drum so loudly that CNN reports that Security concerns cause doctors to leave hospital, quake victims. CNN’s Dr. Gupta and his media crew were left with seriously ill patients because the Belgian medical staff couldn’t get a security detail from the UN. The staff had heard that there was a riot in the area. Dr. Gupta didn’t leave, and didn’t notice any riot.

But Homeland Security is getting ready, according to the Miami Herald: Krome detention center readied for for possible influx of Haitians. Yes, if any Haitians flee the destruction from the earthquake to South Florida, the HSD is making room for them in their detention facilities, rather than granting them “Temporary Protected Status”, as happens to people from the rest of world. They did finally extend TPS status to Haitians already in the US, because they can’t be deported, but new refugees need not apply.

Of course, racism plays no part in the difference in treatment between Haitians and Cubans. 😈


1 Kryten42 { 01.18.10 at 1:38 am }

I’m surprised they don’t just dump them all in Gitmo. *shrug*

The only reason there have been reports of violence and looting is because the prison was partly destroyed and *convicted criminals* escaped. Considering that the USA has more *convicted criminals* per capita than any other western Nation, one might think Americans would understand the problem, but the number of criminals in the USA is only exceeded by the amount of hypocrisy and ignorance. 🙂

2 ellroon { 01.18.10 at 2:34 am }

I’ve always wondered about that. If society collapses and there is no food, no water, just why would you NOT take what you needed? I’d define looting as when civil infrastructure is still standing and things are temporarily out of whack. A football victory or a WTO protest where you get twits kicking in windows and stealing.

When the grocery store is in crumbled ruins and there are dead bodies bloating on the sidewalks, I don’t see the ‘looting’ for food as a bad thing. Just a necessary thing.

How can trying to stay alive be wrong?
.-= last blog ..A decade of conservative failure =-.

3 cookie jill { 01.18.10 at 7:13 am }

At a certain point, anyone…anyone….will resort to taking actions just to stay alive. However, if you are “white”…you are forgiven…you were “just trying to stay alive.” If you are black or brown….you are a “criminal”…that is of course, if you don’t have money to contribute to the Republican Party.
.-= last blog ..Bummed I couldn’t make it to the Fancy Food Trade Show =-.

4 Scorpio { 01.18.10 at 3:19 pm }

Yeah, I observed the same thing. Media started on the violence speculation as soon as the day after the quake. It took almost 5 days of harping before they could even report anyone being angry.

.-= last blog ..World’s Smallest Violin =-.

5 Bryan { 01.18.10 at 9:26 pm }

I just read a report tonight from a guy who is associated with the UN security mission in Haiti. and he said that while there is now some violence being reported, especially gang violence, it is nowhere near the level of violence in Haiti before the quake.

It’s just like NOLA – violence is down, not up, as a result of the quake, and this is after almost a week.

People are hitting survival mode, and the lid is still on. It’s actually rather amazing that more hasn’t happened.