Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Shoot to Kill" in NOLA

There have been some astonishing reports that some people are advocating a "shoot to kill" policy for "looters" in New Orleans.

To be sure, the concept of private property is a cornerstone of organized, civil society. But there is no good reason for us as human beings to impose such standards on human beings in extremis: we let them down if they can't all come home again, and we should allow what it takes for them to make it, and do what we can to help them out. This is a cornerstone of compassion.

There is no potable water supply for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people. Any fresh water they can get will be stolen. Anyone who doesn't die of thirst will be a "looter". Anyone who's picking up such impractical useless stuff as TV's that they can't use - what electricity? - has their priorities wrong, and not just today, but tomorrow and for a long time to come.

They should still have the space to find a way home again, regardless.

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