Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Recovery in New Orleans, etc.

Today’s Washington Post has a good series of articles on the economic impact of Katrina and on the extraordinary challenges of recovery. The page that links to all the articles in the package is here.

Discussions - 33 Comments

There is one serious political issue with this catastrophe, and that is how to respond to the looting.

To me it’s obvious that some Machiavellian "memorable executions" are in order.

Governor Haley Barbour in Mississippi strongly implied on Monday that looters would be shot. I’m unaware that any have been. Talk, but no action.

It needs to happen, and conservatives need to say it. Who else will?

I am with you, sir!

I agree. Shoot the looters. As far as memorable, I’d remember if we killed them all.

There is one serious political issue with this catastrophe, and that is how to respond to the looting.

Just one, Mr. Frisk? This article seems to indicate that there could be maybe one or two other political issues to consider with this tragedy.:

"A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut the Corps of Engineers’ request for holding back the waters of New Orleans’ Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans levees, but it was too late."


Mr. Frisk said, "Governor Haley Barbour in Mississippi strongly implied on Monday that looters would be shot. I’m unaware that any have been. Talk, but no action. It needs to happen, and conservatives need to say it. Who else will?"

Oh yes, absolutely Mr. Frisk! SOMEONE needs to be shot! Soon! I just can’t wait any longer! If I don’t hear about a looter being shot TODAY, well then I’m just gonna go shoot my dog out in the backyard!!

Good God, I think someone has a bad case of bloodlust! Maybe you should just pop in your Rambo video and take it easy today, eh?? Have a cup of tea.

If only you were so obsessed with the people stranded at the Superdome.

What if cops took part in looting? Should they be shot too?

This discussion shows compassionate conservativism at its best. I thank my liberal, forgiving God that my family isn’t sitting on a floating crate somewhere, waiting for you folks to figure out which is the higher priority: who to shoot, or how many to shoot.

Next, I suspect we’re going to hear how the REAL tragedy is how liberals have used this event to critique Bush’s lack of leadership. Have they no shame?

Seems to me that it is the governor’s lack of leadership. i.e. her inability to ask one simple question. Refer to comment #59 and #60 in the I’m walking on Sunshine thread. You guys really take politics to a new level.

So, Fung, an incompetent mayor and governor have nothing to do with the problem? Seems to me it is their primary responsibility...when did we start expecting the central government to solve all problems?

Who was in charge of the evacuation? Who is waiting for the National Guard when the regular military is right at hand? Even Federal spending wasn’t the problem...the levees that broke were the upgraded ones, not the ones that were in need of repair (using Federal dollars).

What we’ve got here is a typical Democrat-dominated hellhole that is so corrupt and crime-ridden that effective preparations were botched. I hear the mayor is on the radio screaming and cursing at people to DO SOMETHING. What a useless about lack of leadership.

This discussion shows compassionate conservativism at its best.

What a crappy thing to say. I have plenty of compassion for the people stuck on rooftops, in the Superdome, or on a bridge, waiting for relief to come. (Have you sent your donation yet?)

I also have compassion for the shopowners of New Orleans, whose merchandise is being carried away.

I also have compassion for the innocent people who are being raped and murdered by roaming gangs in the water-filled streets of the city.

But if you ask me if I have compassion for the criminal element which exists in New Orleans--which, indeed, exists in any community--and which waits for opportunities like this, when law enforcement is overwhelmed, to prey on innocent people... Well, let’s just say that’s where my compassion ends. Compassion for the victims demands justice for the lawbreakers.

John, I hope your scorn for the "criminal element" extends to the individuals, be they independent "shopowners" or corporate moguls, in the gas & oil industry who are engaging in some serious PRICE-GOUGING in the wake of Katrina. No, a lot of these prices aren’t simple supply-and-demand "natural" increases, they are the exploitation of desperate people, they are robbery. I presume you wouldn’t call for respectable businessmen in suits to be shot, but I hope you want to see them in jail as much as the (economically) poor people who have been looting. Also, it would be nice if you could temper your black-white analysis of the looting by at least acknowledging that there are different degrees and types of this behavior, some people taking only what’s truly necessary, others looking to take luxury items and make a profit from the disaster - hey wait, that sounds similar to the price-gougers!

I would also like to hear from anyone here in response to the question in comment 6, because I recently read an article that mentioned that even some police officers were engaging in this looting.

As I’m sure many others have, I’ve been reading a lot from the Time-Picayune website. They just recently relocated to maintain their online publishing in the midst of the post-Katrina disaster. I haven’t had a successful search for the original article, but this article mentions it as well:

"At the Times-Picayune Web site, Mike Perlstein and Brian Thevenot wrote that at a Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, mass looting broke out after a giveaway of supplies was announced at that location. While some did indeed carry away food and essentials, others "cleared out jewelry racks and carted out computers, TVs, and appliances on handtrucks. Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television.

"Throughout the store and parking lot, looters pushed carts and loaded trucks and vans alongside officers. One man said police directed him to Wal-Mart from Robert’s Grocery, where a similar scene was taking place. A crowd in the electronics section said one officer broke the glass DVD case so people wouldn’t cut themselves.

"The police got all the best stuff. They’re crookeder than us," one man said. Most officers, though, simply stood by powerless against the tide of law breakers."

According to what I’ve read here, the honest cops should have been shooting the crooked cops, right?


"The Thin Blue Line is a phrase known world wide to Police Officers...It denotes the final barrier which stands between our citizens and chaos."



Well, I’m anyone, and I’d say shoot them whoever they are...maybe particularly if they are/were cops (who should know better). Police corruption has always been a problem...what’s your point? Indeed, if the police are also looting it suggests a complete breakdown of civil authority, necessitating a hard line by the military.

Did anyone hear about that rapper on the television? In the middle of some all-star crybaby festival he said something about Bush not caring about black people. His name is something West. Can’t even say his first name, it’s so wierd.

Mack, I wouldn’t worry about it. The Left is beginning to sound like 17th Century Puritans..."witch" they cry, and of course the witch is always Bush. Utterly illogical, and rather pointless. The man doesn’t have to stand for re-election, and while his numbers are down at the moment there’s a good chance they’ll be high again.

What astounds me is how the Left can claim to be the "intellectual’s party" and yet engage in such blind scapegoating. I think it reveals the truth of the matter...the Democrats aren’t the thinkers in this country, they are the true reactionaries. They have become utterly reactive and essentially brain-dead from a policy point of view.

Jean Steggan, who here has suggested that the police should be above the law, or are somehow above reproach for their behavior during all this? The NOPD is perhaps the most corrupt in the United States. I’m not surprised in the least to hear that local cops are involved in what’s going on; it’s already well known that many of them are behaving in a cowardly fashion, by refusing to enforce the law or by simply not showing up for work. In fact, just about every aspect of local government in New Orleans (and state government in Louisiana) virtually oozes with corruption. Which, of course, is one of the main reasons why the current situation there is as bad as it is.

Also, it would be nice if you could temper your black-white analysis of the looting by at least acknowledging that there are different degrees and types of this behavior, some people taking only what’s truly necessary, others looking to take luxury items and make a profit from the disaster.

This is a valid point. The distinction is well worth making, and I don’t think anyone here has suggested that someone be shot for trying to acquire food and water for his or her family.

So, the police officer described in the Times-Picayune article should have been shot?

Yea, if the "police" are actually looting then by definition they are now "criminals" and not the "police." What’s your point, Jean?

I’ve been giving it some thought, and I regret writing that we should shoot the looters. I don’t care if they take those things. Let’s ignore the trivial looting and help the people that need it.

Dain said: "Indeed, if the police are also looting it suggests a complete breakdown of civil authority, necessitating a hard line by the military."

So this means that soldiers should be shooting cops if the cops can’t be trusted? Who do we call on to shoot the soldiers if THEY start looting too? Whew, this could get confusing!

John Moser said: "I’m not surprised in the least to hear that local cops are involved in what’s going on; it’s already well known that many of them are behaving in a cowardly fashion, by refusing to enforce the law or by simply not showing up for work."

Pretty tough talk for someone who will, at most, have to sign a check for a donation in order to "do his part" and feel good about himself. You can’t possibly know (and I’m not saying I do either) what it’s like to be a cop down there right now, or even before this hurricane situation, for that matter. So don’t call them cowards for quitting.

Phil, one thing we can say is that they are quitting at a time when their city needs them most. The next time you find yourself being critical of a PD (say, for beating a minority perp out of frustration), I want you to remember what you’ve said here. If they are "just people" and are not held to a higher standard, then cuts both ways. In my book, you’ve just lost your right to criticize police...period.

Wow, that last comment (21) was pretty silly. You see, it’s valid to criticize a police officer who beats the minority perp out of frustration because he has abused his power and authority in order to inflict harm on others. Such a cop is not able to handle his duties, but he doesn’t step down, he remains a cop and operates outside the law and engages in police brutality. Whereas a cop who turns in his badge because he feels the situation is too dangerous (or situation too hopeless, or leadership too corrupt, or can’t reconcile his conscience with enforcing the law at a certain time and place) is also acknowledging that he, too, can’t handle the job, but the crucial difference is that he has self-selected and honestly eliminated himself from a job that he admits he can’t handle. I would think such an honest admission would please a conservative, wouldn’t it? No one wants a cop on the job who knows he can’t handle the tasks at hand. At least a non-cop can not directly harm someone while supposedly serving as a civil servant.

Nope, JLT, you’re wrong...shows an ignorance of police work. Officers are on-call 24/7, with or without uniform. This is one reason they take their guns home with them. It’s really not a 9-5 job, and there are oaths involved.

Bottom line, to resign in normal times because of job pressures is one thing. To walk off the job during an emergency is to betray your trust. We shouldn’t accept a cop walking away from his responsibilities during a major civil emergency any more than we would accept (or applaud!) a soldier "quitting" just as battle is about to commence. The public has entrusted them for situations just like the current one...walking away just isn’t acceptable or right.

It’s SOP in the law-enforcement world that a cop is always supposed to respond to a crisis, no matter whether he’s "off duty" or not. (I once saw a Secret Service agent dressed in shorts and a T-shirt on his way to an afterwork softball game take a gun and a badge from his gym bag and intervene in a tense DC traffic altercation. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to keep walking, but he responded.) Cops are all volunteers, of course, and they learn this always-on-call principle when they sign on if they didn’t know it already.

Throwing away one’s badge in the midst of a grave civic emergency is beyond inexcusable. At the very least, such people must NEVER be allowed to work in law-enforcement again, period. Also, I’m hoping that there are useful photo or videotape records of the looting from which looters can be identified for prosecution. This behavior needs to be punished by the law as soon as is feasible. It shouldn’t be allowed to slip through the cracks.

Fine Dain, if it works both ways, does this mean you have to accept the fact that some cops quit because they’re in a hopeless situation? If you say no, then you can’t use the "they’re just human" defense the next time they beat the tar out of someone under questionable circumstances. I’m sure you’ll have some delightful little loophole, as usual, but if it cuts both ways, it cuts both ways.

I just want to say that I love how riled up the right-wingers are getting about cops quitting their jobs in New Orleans- you can’t STAND the idea of all those (no doubt MILLIONS of them!) blacks getting away with free STUFF that doesn’t belong to them! "It’s their job to protect our precious property, no matter what happens to them! They knew that when they signed up! Now put your badge back on and get back out there to shoot some more looters!"

Phil, I pity you. Can’t you think about issues without dragging race into it all the time? And I don’t support the police denying people their civil rights, white, black or teal! Get a grip, geez.

Dain, I pity you. Those oh-so-credible "social scientists" pals of yours over at the New Century Foundation/American Renaissance (the folks that excreted the "Color of Crime" "report" that you cited a while back) are having a complete field day with this Katrina aftermath. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve been frothing over your keyboard reading all of their updates. I think it’s all they could do - since they want to appear sensible and civilized like the No Left Turns boys - to resist calling for dropping a small nuke on the SuperDome. Funny, seems like they’re the ones obsessed with "dragging race into it all the time," in a totally strong-dose-of-eugenics, just-shy-of-homicidal way.

Dain, maybe you and John Moser could get over your earlier spats, drive down to New Orleans together, courageously replace some of those cowardly cops, and stand guard over some stores, homes and yachts. Then, when that’s over, an overseas adventure to Iraq!! Tally ho!

Okay, obviously in the minds of our liberal friends we’re damned if we do criticize the New Orleans police, damned if we don’t. In that case there’s little sense in continuing this conversation with people who are looking to score cheap points. You win, all right? It’s okay for police to quit when their city needs them. It’s not okay for them to enforce the law. Congratulations.

Hey, here’s an idea, Craig--why don’t you go down to New Orleans, without any police protection, and see how well you do?

Craig, your "post" is typical of the exhausted pick out the most extreme (supposedly) rightwing position and use it to slam the opinions of millions of people. You know, I could just as easily cite the DUmmy who thinks that Rehnquist died DAYS ago but it’s only being announced now to take the heat off Bush. How stupid.

And Craig, as I recall, NOT ONE OF YOU LIBERALS actually contradicted or disproved that report on "The Color of Crime" from the New Century Foundation. Why? Because it’s TRUE. I know it stings, man, but you asked for it.

I’ve been gone since my earlier post. But, I’d like to respond to some earlier defensiveness since I referred to the main theme of this discussion up to that point: Many of you compassionates considered all of the issues, all of the dangers, all of the tragedies, and focused on your top priority. Shooting people. It is shameful and telling.

I applaud Daniel (#19) for showing real moral fiber. And shame on you, John Moser, (#10) for trying to turn a donation into some kind of competition. The only thing "crappy" about what I said was that it illuminated and confronted your militant, political, upside-down priorities. Those are crappy, indeed.

Fung, obtuse as ever, I see. Our first priority is to establish civil order, without which nothing else is possible.

As for Daniel, your interpretation is faulty. His reversal isn’t moral courage, but a failure of nerve and confidence in his own judgment. Such people generally get led around by the nose (by people like you).

Dain- More and more, you rely on proclamations, instead of discussion. You write as though you have some access to the truth, and as though you are something you are not. Only a rigid, concrete, close-minded dogmatist would choose "staying the course" over the courage and flexibilty of admitting when one is wrong. If a person cannot admit it when wrong, then we must always wonder when they WOULD and SHOULD admit it, and we should take their dishonesty as a moral and ethical failure of personal integity.

So, shame on you, as well, for questionning the courage and integrity of someone who actually has some.

Go ahead and proclaim, and declare, and pretend to be some kind of nasty, hateful oracle. It just makes you sound all the more pitiful and creepy.

Fung, you are as "guilty" of imposing judgmental hegemony as I am. "Moral fiber" you proclaim. "Shameful," you if your interpretations are the only valid and/or justifable ones.

Hypocrite. At least I admit that I value my own judgments over your (faulty) ones. So save the psychobabble for those impressionable freshmen you indoctrinate. People here know better.

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