More on looting and self-defense
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, David Kopel floats the idea of shooting looters (pointing out a citizen's arrest is hardly feasible under the conditions), and Orin Kerr points out some hazards (need to discern who is looting necessities to stay alive, risk of "friendly fire" between two good guys each thinking the other is an armed looter.
It goes without saying that these problems would be minimized if there was any organization of the militia. I'm not talking military training, just organization at the level of an armed neighborhood watch. Even if not organized in advance, in future disasters where there is some warning, why not see if one can be hastily put together?
Now, that would be an interesting project for shooting groups in disaster-prone areas! If order were being restored in NO by something like Southern Louisana Rifle and Pistol Ass'n, divided into squads and improv companies, it'd do more for the right to arms than fifty law review articles.
Exactly. Even something as simple as tying a solid-colored cloth of a designated color around your left arm and patrolling in a small, armed group with the purpose and intent of keeping order.
Individuals carrying arms without a uniform or ways to tell good from bad are a recipe for confusion and risk for mistaken identity, especially if anyone feels justified in shooting first. Individuals fighting individuals quickly descends into "the war of all against all". But if you wrap the effort in some simple organization, it's no longer man-eat-man; it's the return of civilization.
See the first 2/3rds of The Postman by David Brin to understand what I'm talking about.
Posted by: TriggerFinger at September 1, 2005 03:23 PM
During the LA riots the shop keepers did organize. Stopped looters cold. Looting escalates into general lawlesness in short order.
It's too bad, the NO police let the situation get out of control. It started when their emergency radio system went down at the first sign of the hurricane. How you can have an emergency radio system that is the first thing that fails is beyond me. Of all things it was powered by green natural gas, so when they cut the gas they cut the backup generators to the radio system. But hey at least it was enviro-friendly.
The Mayor of New Orleans sure isn't a Rudy Guiliani clone.
Posted by: From the Swamp at September 1, 2005 07:24 PM
The government officials have announced that the priority is protecting lives not property. Bad idea. An unintended consequence of this approach is that it puts more lives in danger than the other "no-tolerance" approach. Kopel has the right of it. Too bad the same "appeasers" on so many other issues of this ilk have the megaphone of the press.
Posted by: RKV at September 2, 2005 07:37 AM
The shooting groups I'm aware of are too thin on the ground to organize for this sort of thing.
I belong to a gun club with 800 members - in a metro area of 2.5 million.
The nearest member I know the home address of is six miles away, in a suburban area with 3000 people per square mile.
This sort of effort would have to be organized around neighborhoods.
But in most bedroom communities, people don't know their neighbors.
Seems to me the best defense against this sort of anarchy is the traditional 4th of July block party.
Posted by: Jeff Dege at September 2, 2005 01:25 PM