Posted by ken on August 30th, 2005 (All posts by ken)
On the one hand, hell yes. It’s stealing. And why should people have to choose between risking their lives in a storm and losing all their property to looters in the aftermath?
On the other hand, this is the same state that forbids private entities from being paid for the cost of transporting essential items into a disaster area (or preserving them during a disaster, or stocking them up against the possibility of a disaster) when selling them to disaster victims. According to the state, this is “gouging”, and it means you’re SOL until charity or taxpayer funded disaster relief reaches you. So where does that state get off stopping you from taking the things you must have to survive that it has left you unable to buy, especially when the owners may or may not ever be coming back?
On the gripping hand, are you really justified in stealing when it was your own outrageously poor decision that caused you to be there in the first place? If others have to pay the price for your idiocy, you don’t have much of a case when you ask them to let you make your own decisions on, well, anything. That way the lifelong nursery lies, and we’re a good part of the way there already. (Granted, this reasoning doesn’t apply to all large-scale disasters, but it sure as hell applies to this one.)