Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Survey says, yes.

The viciousness began almost before the storm had passed. A Wal-Mart was one of the first stores broken into; its inventory of guns promptly disappeared. Crowds of thieves ransacked clothing stores, jewelry stores, liquor stores. In full view of television crews and news photographers — and in some cases, even police or National Guardsmen — looters hauled cases of stolen beer through hip-deep water, filled trash barrels with clothes, shoes, and jewelry, and crammed car trunks with computers and DVD players. In a video clip shown on NBC, security guards joined looters in stripping one shop bare. Police officers looted, too.

To break into a drugstore protected by a steel barrier, reported The New York Times, ''someone had stolen a forklift, driven it four blocks, peeled up the security gate, and smashed through the front door." Thieves entered the parking garage of a New Orleans hospital and stripped cars of their batteries and stereos. Carjackers stole a vehicle from a nursing home bus driver. Looters ransacked a police truck filled with food.

But the breakdown of civil society didn't stop with attacks on property. Soon the predators were attacking people.

On Thursday, New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass described the savagery inside the convention center, where 15,000 people had taken shelter: ''We have individuals who are getting raped; we have individuals who are getting beaten." He sent 88 police officers to restore order; they were beaten back by a mob. Police snipers took up positions on precinct roofs, on guard against the armed gangs who were roaming the city. Not all the corpses turning up in New Orleans were of drowning victims. Some had been shot to death. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was trying to operate, director Michael Brown said, ''under conditions of urban warfare."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?