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Looting

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Does anyone know if the punishment for looting is stiffer than for "regular" stealing? If not, I think it ought to be.

 

After Harvey, it was mentioned that in Texas, there are stiffer penalties for looting (During a emergency? during a storm? Not sure about the details)

 

Here's an article:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/30/547296613/in-houston-authorities-are-toughening-penalties-as-warning-to-would-be-looters

http://www.kcci.com/article/video-shows-man-jumping-into-hoover-dam-and-swimming-across/12232722

 

Evidently the stiffer penalties include life in prison when committed in an area declared a disaster area by the governor.

 

Price Gouging is also illegal during this time (with fines of $25K per incident)

Edited by vonfirmath
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To me the difference between looting and getting supplies is in what is being taken not who is taking it. Maybe this isn't the way the law thinks of it...but this is the way I think of it. If in a crisis a person enters an evacuated home or store to get food, a pair of clothes, or a blanket because they are cold and hungry...I think that is getting supplies and should be understood as humane. But if a person enters to gather objects that are not really necessary for emergency survival such as things of monetary value like tvs, computers, and jewelry then that is looting. It is stealing.

I'm just waking up though and I have a head cold...so maybe this is Utopian in thinking...

Edited by bluemongoose
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Why? And why is it "looting" when minorities take something but "getting supplies" when white people do it?

You're kidding right? Organized groups with getaway drivers and taking things like tvs and sneakers? I've not heard of anyone stealing bread being called a looter. And it has jack to do with skin color.

 

Theft when people have forcibly evacuated and are vulnerable is definitely vile, but the penalties for theft should be stiff no matter the circumstances of weather, all other things being equal.

 

This is not 'getting supplies':

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article172862521.html

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I've not heard of anyone stealing bread being called a looter. And it has jack to do with skin color.

 

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-harvey-20170829-story.html

 

Now you've heard of it.  It happens.

 

The argument being the black person went into a store, while the white folks found food just floating by.  But the description of taking food in Katrina out of a store was "looting" by the AP journalist.

Edited by Tangerine
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http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-harvey-20170829-story.html

 

Now you've heard of it.  It happens.

 

The argument being the black person went into a store, while the white folks found food just floating by.  But the description of taking food in Katrina out of a store was "looting" by the AP journalist.

 

I have to agree, I don't think taking food or soda from a supermarket is the same as taking TV sets. 

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Stealing/looting non-essentials during natural disasters sickens me (non-essentials: sneakers, electronics, jewelry, etc).  

It's opportunistic in the worst way.  One of the most revolting stories I've come across re: such events in Harvey:

 

http://abc13.com/thieves-loot-flooded-home-with-womans-body-inside/2375947/

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Stealing/looting non-essentials during natural disasters sickens me (non-essentials: sneakers, electronics, jewelry, etc).

It's opportunistic in the worst way. One of the most revolting stories I've come across re: such events in Harvey:

 

http://abc13.com/thieves-loot-flooded-home-with-womans-body-inside/2375947/

I don't believe ghosts exist but I still hope the criminals are haunted by the vision of her floating lifelessly while they pillaged her home. Completely and inexcusably vile.

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wow, really? I don't know why anyone would call it "finding" in a grocery store unless the remark was to emphasize the fact that it was so hard to find bread right before the disaster let alone after.

 

To me taking food out of the grocery store can be called looting. That's not to say I don't think people can justify it (ie. my family was starving, the bread would go bad, the owner wasn't going to sell it, etc. etc.)

Edited by heartlikealion
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Stealing/looting non-essentials during natural disasters sickens me (non-essentials: sneakers, electronics, jewelry, etc).

It's opportunistic in the worst way. One of the most revolting stories I've come across re: such events in Harvey:

 

http://abc13.com/thieves-loot-flooded-home-with-womans-body-inside/2375947/

Agree. I hadn't seen this story, that is horrifying.

 

I don't feel that someone stealing food, blankets, fire logs etc should be persecuted but shoes, laptops, jewelry? They should do serious time. It is disgusting to take advantage of an already suffering community by being a leach and opportunistic. It makes me feel sick and those people should be held stiffly accountable.

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There is a special kind of taking advantage going on with looting - it's taking advantage of a crises to get ahead.  

 

I wouldn't normally think of taking necessities looting, if there wasn't a more reasonable way to get them - if you are stealing stuff meant to be portioned out to everyone, or causing extra property damage that could be avoided.

 

It isn't always just supplies, anyway - looting happens at times when supplies aren't an issue, too.

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Actual looters (stealing electronics, etc) seem to me to be the same kind of people who jump in on riots and start stealing things.  It's like they have no internal conscience or integrity, so they just wait for a breakdown of natural order to do the things they want.  

 

Editing to add, I can understand how violence gets out of hand in a riot and group anger takes over.  (Do not approve, but understand).  But if you are overwhelmed by anger, you don't think, hey, I can sell that TV set!  It's a different type of personality.

 

 

 

 

Edited by goldberry
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Why? And why is it "looting" when minorities take something but "getting supplies" when white people do it?

When they're taking expensive athletic shoes or tvs, or similar -it's stealing. Period. The color of a person's skin is irrelevant. When they're assaulting people to take their food -it's still assault.
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Why? And why is it "looting" when minorities take something but "getting supplies" when white people do it?

 

To the "why" the punishments should be stiffer,...

 

I think it's because during a crisis such as Harvey and Irma, looting diverts critical resources (i.e. law enforcement and rescue personnel) away from vital rescue and recovery efforts at a time when we need people working together and behaving themselves like decent human beings. It doubly victimizes people who have already lost property to damage. It increases the risk of injury or death as some try to take and others try to fend off--again at a time when local society is least equipped to deal with it. It feeds the risk of civil unrest.

 

Now people taking a bag of groceries from the corner store to feed a hungry family that couldn't evacuate is one thing. I would hope the courts and police would be compassionate about that. (I'm sure there are instances where they haven't been. That doesn't change my point.)

 

But stealing a TV or computer or whatever because "hey, now's the time to get mine" is beyond ugly. Society needs to send a clear, unequivocal message that such behavior will not be tolerated, especially since failing to do so in a current crisis can embolden even more people to loot in future ones. Some might ask what the harm is or why not just ignore it. I think that's a dangerous attitude to take (not saying you have that opinion).

 

I don't care what the race of the person is. If you're using a crisis as an opportunity to score yourself stuff, you're a piece a cr@p. Price gougers and the scammy contractors who will be trolling after the fact are no better.

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You're kidding right? Organized groups with getaway drivers and taking things like tvs and sneakers? I've not heard of anyone stealing bread being called a looter. And it has jack to do with skin color.

 

It happens, and it has everything to do with race. But as a point of fact, looting - however you define it - is pretty uncommon after natural disasters.

 

And honestly? All that stuff is a loss anyway. On the list of things I am going to get worked up about, "somebody got a new TV after a storm" is just not in the top ten, or even the top thousand. Your store is flooded, your house is flooded, you're just going to shovel it all out into the trash and wait for insurance to cut you a check.

 

Is stealing non-essentials unethical? Sure. But in this situation, assuming you're not harming others, I simply can't be bothered to care. It's definitely not on the same level as, say, price gouging.

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And incidentally, the legal principle that says "It's sort of okay to break the law in some circumstances" is necessity. People get acquitted (or have their sentences reduced) all the time on the principle of necessity. So yes, going into a store to get some bread after a storm, if you have no other way to acquire food, is legally defensible. (Though you might still have to serve some punishment depending on how much you stole and if there were alternatives.)

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Looting would piss me off after a disaster because you never know if the item was sentimental or the family was coming back to gather up what they could. When you have to buy a new wardrobe maybe you did care about those jeans that didn't get ruined. But whatever. It wouldn't be my biggest focus, either. I walked through my home after Katrina and my parents told me it was not going to be our last visit to the home. I didn't grab everything, but I grabbed a few things like my guitar. I left behind my senior class ring. The sizing was off. But I guess I thought I would go back one more time and I'd get it then. Well, we didn't. So what happened to my unclaimed stuff? Who knows. A group from a church offered to clean up homes including ours and I assume if the helpers wanted something they kept it for themselves. Not sure anyone would want that ring with my name engraved on it. My name made the list for extinct names this year lol.

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I am just :blink: that someone can't be bothered to care about people taking advantage of others by ROBBING THEM.....because insurance covers it anyway so who cares.

 

 

Wow.

 

Yeah I raised an eyebrow at that post, too. I get it, insurance will cover stuff. But wouldn't it help to have photos? A photo of that big screen TV or whatever.

 

At first I worried about the little details but in the end they did cut my parents a check and then I went out and rebought stuff I lost. There's no way I could tell you ever CD and all that. Most of that stuff I never bothered to replace.

 

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To the "why" the punishments should be stiffer,...

 

I think it's because during a crisis such as Harvey and Irma, looting diverts critical resources (i.e. law enforcement and rescue personnel) away from vital rescue and recovery efforts at a time when we need people working together and behaving themselves like decent human beings. It doubly victimizes people who have already lost property to damage. It increases the risk of injury or death as some try to take and others try to fend off--again at a time when local society is least equipped to deal with it. It feeds the risk of civil unrest.

 

Now people taking a bag of groceries from the corner store to feed a hungry family that couldn't evacuate is one thing. I would hope the courts and police would be compassionate about that. (I'm sure there are instances where they haven't been. That doesn't change my point.)

 

But stealing a TV or computer or whatever because "hey, now's the time to get mine" is beyond ugly. Society needs to send a clear, unequivocal message that such behavior will not be tolerated, especially since failing to do so in a current crisis can embolden even more people to loot in future ones. Some might ask what the harm is or why not just ignore it. I think that's a dangerous attitude to take (not saying you have that opinion).

 

I don't care what the race of the person is. If you're using a crisis as an opportunity to score yourself stuff, you're a piece a cr@p. Price gougers and the scammy contractors who will be trolling after the fact are no better.

This is put so well. Agree so much with everything you said.

 

For me, the fact that someone's first thought in a natural disaster is to go victimize businesses or people's homes further by stealing non essentials and to not help fellow man just floors me. I have such a hard time even wrapping my head around that. I cannot imagine dismissing the behavior as not a big deal. Waiting to have an insurance check cut? Huh? It still does not give the right for a morally corrupted individual to freely steal from someone else. That is just flat out disgusting behavior. It is repugnant and said people should do serious time.

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After Harvey, it was mentioned that in Texas, there are stiffer penalties for looting (During a emergency? during a storm? Not sure about the details)

 

Here's an article:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/30/547296613/in-houston-authorities-are-toughening-penalties-as-warning-to-would-be-looters

http://www.kcci.com/article/video-shows-man-jumping-into-hoover-dam-and-swimming-across/12232722

 

Evidently the stiffer penalties include life in prison when committed in an area declared a disaster area by the governor.

 

Price Gouging is also illegal during this time (with fines of $25K per incident)

 

Looting of things like tvs, jewelry, etc is terrible, but I'm appalled that the punishment would be life in prison. WTH? Child molesters and rapists don't get life in prison. 

 

I think leniency should be given to people looking for food, water, and other necessities. 

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I am just :blink: that someone can't be bothered to care about people taking advantage of others by ROBBING THEM.....because insurance covers it anyway so who cares.

 

If my house is flooded, I'm going to assume that all my electronics are destroyed. If you can get some good out of them, more power to you, because otherwise I'm just throwing them out. You're not taking advantage of me. You're saving me the effort of hauling that stuff to the curb. (Likewise with my food, etc.)

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Looting would piss me off after a disaster because you never know if the item was sentimental or the family was coming back to gather up what they could. When you have to buy a new wardrobe maybe you did care about those jeans that didn't get ruined. But whatever. It wouldn't be my biggest focus, either. I walked through my home after Katrina and my parents told me it was not going to be our last visit to the home. I didn't grab everything, but I grabbed a few things like my guitar. I left behind my senior class ring. The sizing was off. But I guess I thought I would go back one more time and I'd get it then. Well, we didn't. So what happened to my unclaimed stuff? Who knows. A group from a church offered to clean up homes including ours and I assume if the helpers wanted something they kept it for themselves. Not sure anyone would want that ring with my name engraved on it. My name made the list for extinct names this year lol.

 

Yeah, I'm really thinking more of targeting stores. But honestly, even with homes - if it's destroyed, all that stuff is trash. I'm not spending hours of my life picking through trash to find my grandma's opal ring or my favorite pair of jeans. I've spent enough of my life digging through trash just cleaning my home. I'm done. It's just stuff. If somebody else can benefit from what is now effectively garbage, well, bully for them. It's just not my priority. That's taking care of people - not things.

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Well that's great Tanaqui, but because property is privately owned, the owner of the property should get to decide whether to try to fix (or see if it works, or donate it) their own electronics after a flood.  Jim Bob down the street does not get to decide what to do with his neighbor's electronics, or the local Best Buy's electronics, and neither do you - only the owners.

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Plus, who are these people going around stealing non-functional electronics?  What they are stealing is functional electronics and expensive shoes and jewelry and cash and etc.

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If my house is flooded, I'm going to assume that all my electronics are destroyed. If you can get some good out of them, more power to you, because otherwise I'm just throwing them out. You're not taking advantage of me. You're saving me the effort of hauling that stuff to the curb. (Likewise with my food, etc.)

That is a pretty broad assumption.   My TV is about 5 feet off the ground.  If there's 3 feet of water in my house, my TV is fine.  My camera equipment is on a shelf close to the ceiling.  My entire house would have to be completely flooded to the attic to destroy it, and not even 5 feet of water is going to do that.   Not to mention that just because something might be damaged by a flood, that doesn't mean it can't be repaired. 

 

And in the video of the the people looting the shoe store...there's no water in the store.  And as far as I can see, the only damage to the store at all appears to be from the looters themselves.  I mean I suppose there could be some branch or debris just inside the busted window that could have been blown in.  But it doesn't really appear that there's any reason to expect that the entire inventory of the store is destroyed.

 

Not to mention you are assuming people automatically have flood insurance.  Many don't. 

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Um, yeah, stay out of my home, flooded or not.

Seriously, yes, this! If you need shelter or food then by all means come in. If you want to make a judgment about how I will not want my water damaged stuff anyway? Uhmm...yeah...not your judgment to make. Sounds like excuses and justifications of times it is deemed ok to rob someone. Edited by nixpix5
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Is stealing non-essentials unethical? Sure. But in this situation, assuming you're not harming others, I simply can't be bothered to care. It's definitely not on the same level as, say, price gouging.

 

Sorry, I'm disagreeing on this one.  Stealing non-essentials is wrong and does harm others.  It is exactly the same as price gouging, taking advantage of a disaster to profit for one's own self.

 

It is also wrong, I think, to condemn and vilify people who are taking necessities out of need.  It is also wrong to call it different things depending who is doing it.

 

All those things = wrong.

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We did try to see if our computers worked after Katrina. Believe it or not, you may have some electronics with things on them you wanted to keep. Like when your photo albums are destroyed and not everything is digitally saved. Or maybe it is saved, but not on a harddrive in a dry place. People deserve the opportunity to investigate that if they want.

 

Have you had a home destroyed, Tanaqui?

 

 

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Property rights do not change just because property is damaged. This is not rocket science. Stealing is stealing, regardless of the condition of the property or the circumstances surrounding it.

 

Condition doesn't matter, but location can because location informs us of ownership. If it's on my property, it's assumed it is my property, personal or commercial. What people usually do if an item is on their property but is available to others for free is to set it out by the curb (so as to not clutter the street) and (this part is important, read closely!!) write a note with FREE STUFF or FREE or FREE TO GOOD HOME.

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When i hear "looting" I think about homes being invaded and robbed. That's illegal regardless of color.

 

What is wonderful: after Hurricane Matthew hit, some home owners happened to have video camera up around their home so they got footage of the robbers.

 

Alley

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Insurance adjusters in our area after the flood need to see phots of everything in place before removal and want access to appliances, electronics at side of road to determine damage. So, people aren't getting reimbursed by insurance typically if it is not there. I know if you are bringing the race topic into this you were not effected by Harvey. We are not super impressed by that nonsense.

 

Edit:spelling

Edited by Silver Brook
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Looting is not limited to the USA after disasters. They are having terrible problems, with looting and mayhem, on St. Martin, and also I believe in the British Virgin Islands. Possibly in some other places, in addition to the State of Florida.  In BVI about 100 prisoners escaped from their prison. 

 

Looting is very common after disasters. During January 1999, there was a massive earthquake in the Colombian city where my wife's mother and sister live. I told my wife, "when they can contact us, or when we can contact them, tell them to come here, immediately, for their safety".  When the communication was established, we sent a small truck to bring them and their pets and some of their stuff here. They lived with us for 2 or 3 months after the earthquake as I recall.

 

After that earthquake, people who looted TV sets (there was no electricity at that time) said they had no food, but one cannot eat a TV set.

 

This has nothing to do with race. It has to do with taking advantage of people after they have been the victim of a natural disaster and is more serious than a typical burglary would be in normal times.

 

Do I believe that all Looters should be shot and killed?  NO

 

Do I believe that Looters should be subject to longer prison terms than a Burglar who steals in normal times? YES

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Looting is not limited to the USA after disasters. They are having terrible problems, with looting and mayhem, on St. Martin, and also I believe in the British Virgin Islands. Possibly in some other places, in addition to the State of Florida. In BVI about 100 prisoners escaped from their prison.

 

Looting is very common after disasters. During January 1999, there was a massive earthquake in the Colombian city where my wife's mother and sister live. I told my wife, "when they can contact us, or when we can contact them, tell them to come here, immediately, for their safety". When the communication was established, we sent a small truck to bring them and their pets and some of their stuff here. They lived with us for 2 or 3 months after the earthquake as I recall.

 

After that earthquake, people who looted TV sets (there was no electricity at that time) said they had no food, but one cannot eat a TV set.

 

This has nothing to do with race. It has to do with taking advantage of people after they have been the victim of a natural disaster and is more serious than a typical burglary would be in normal times.

 

Do I believe that all Looters should be shot and killed? NO

 

Do I believe that Looters should be subject to longer prison terms than a Burglar who steals in normal times? YES

Yes and during wars anywhere doesn't looting happen? This is not about race. This is about criminal behavior. taking a loaf of bread is not looting--still wrong, but not looting. I could see myself taking bread or something if I was hungry. But I would make efforts to reimburse the business later. Taking a TV is looting. Taking anything not necessary for life is looting, and it's worse than regular stealing because the reason you go do it is because you know the home or business is not locked/defended as it usually is. But then I'm the sort of person who will leave a note on a car if I ding the car with my car door in the parking lot. It's not about race. It is about behavior.

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I

And honestly? All that stuff is a loss anyway. On the list of things I am going to get worked up about, "somebody got a new TV after a storm" is just not in the top ten, or even the top thousand. Your store is flooded, your house is flooded, you're just going to shovel it all out into the trash and wait for insurance to cut you a check.

 

Um....no.

 

For starters, not all "looting" occurs in the worst hit areas. It often happens in areas where people evacuated but there was relatively minor damage.  The shoe stores that were robbed (looting seems like the wrong word imo) in Florida were not flooded.  It is also important to remember that many homes/businesses have inadequate insurance coverage for these situations so yes, the money does end up coming out of the pockets of the victims directly (and indirectly from us all when they do have insurance).

 

People who couldn't evacuate a hard hit area and then have to get supplies via "looting" (again seems like the wrong word) are in a different class as there is no other way for them to get supplies.  Those who break in business and homes to enrich themselves and take advantage are simply common criminals.

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Looting a damaged house or building is sort of like having a car wreck and the tow truck driver just decides to take your car onto his friends house to give him because it's damaged, right? You couldn't possibly want it, right? And he's got it on the truck and there you are in the hospital and not able to do anything about so it's okay, right? Nope. Same exact analogy. You and the insurance company get to decide if it's totaled. Not the tow truck driver.

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The issue of race comes into it when the same thing is described two different ways.  There were cases in Katrina (quoted upthread) where black people carrying groceries were called looters and other people were referred to as "scavenging" or "finding" items.  That's where race enters the picture. People of all races can be looters.  It has to do with who is given the "benefit of the doubt" versus assuming nefarious intentions.

 

I believe anyone scavenging for necessities or survival supplies should be given the benefit of the doubt.

 

ETA, this is comparable to people feeling threatened by black people doing certain behaviors but not feeling threatened by white people doing the same behaviors.  It's part of a larger issue that can end with black or minorities being shot.  So, the issue of perception is an important one for discussion.  I don't think many people think minorities can't be looters.

Edited by goldberry
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The issue of race comes into it when the same thing is described two different ways. There were cases in Katrina (quoted upthread) where black people carrying groceries were called looters and other people were referred to as "scavenging" or "finding" items. That's where race enters the picture. People of all races can be looters. It has to do with who is given the "benefit of the doubt" versus assuming nefarious intentions.

 

I believe anyone scavenging for necessities or survival supplies should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Nope. It was the second post in this thread .

OP asked if there were stiffer penalties for looting and next post was race bait.

Edited by Silver Brook
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Nope. It was the second post in this thread .

OP asked if there were stiffer penalties for looting and next post was race bait.

 

Nope what?

 

Whoa, wait a minute... bringing up the issue of different perception of the same actions by minorities is race bait?  You don't believe that happens?  It does happen.  Discussing it is not race bait.

 

Edited by goldberry
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http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-harvey-20170829-story.html

 

Now you've heard of it.  It happens.

 

The argument being the black person went into a store, while the white folks found food just floating by.  But the description of taking food in Katrina out of a store was "looting" by the AP journalist.

 

The caption about "finding" food in the grocery store seems an awkward way to word it.  Like they were trying to avoid the words looting or taking or anything they could have a negative connotation.  I would think "taking" would be the normal word to use.  They took food and water from a grocery store.  One that was probably closed so technically it's looting or stealing but if they needed food and water, its a necessity so I think "take" would be the most neutral way to say it.

 

Edited because I'm contradicting myself and should avoid posting withe a headache.

Edited by Where's Toto?
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The word scavenge is what comes to my mind, looking for something useable among the debris or damage.

But you don't scavenge TVs or things that have value. You scavenge boards to patch your window to keep the rain out. I have never lost my home in a disaster, but I have had to leave to evacuate from a hurricane and had to wonder what would happen after the storm hit. I have had to think about whether or not I should stay behind to protect my property from looters who might steal my stuff, but curiously I never worried about the poor souls who might need a broken board or a loaf of milk that was peeking out the broken window.

 

Loaf of bread, sorry.

Edited by MotherGoose

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You scavenge your own stuff.  If it is in someone else's home or store, it is looting.  

 

No, scavenge is not restricted to items you own.

 

I would say that when people are getting essentials needed for survival and they are doing so from a flooded store, "scavenge" is a fairly neutral and accurate term.

Edited by ChocolateReign
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Taking things that belong to someone else is stealing, period.* It seems obvious to me, however, that people taking items they need for survival should be shown compassion and leniency. And hopefully they in turn will endeavor to pay back what they took if they have the opportunity.

 

*Unless there is no way of telling to whom it belongs.

Edited by MercyA
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You scavenge your own stuff.  If it is in someone else's home or store, it is looting.  

 

not on The Walking Dead. That's not how they use the term.

 

I do think taking from someone's home is looting, though.

 

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Ten years ago I doubt I would have noticed racial overtones in some of the coverage of these incidents. I have been around enough racist people to see it more clearly now. :(  

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