Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Looting No Laughing Matter

This Santa has been standing by the side of the road in Pearlington for most of this year as a warning to looters. The looting signs are prolific and often quite creative around here, and for good reason. Hurricane victims were left with nothing but rubble. You'd think they'd be respected enough to at least salvage their own broken dreams out of that rubble without interference from thieves. Not so.

My friend who lost her home to Katrina also lost the very last of her possessions to looters in Laurel, Mississippi, including the tools she and her husband were using to clean up the mess.

Still, there've been enough tears, and sometimes it's time to laugh at our own expense.

By now most are probably familiar with the beer looter, now known as "Lootie" in what has become a real internet phenomenon.

The picture of Lootie that hit the news last August has now been photoshopped in what must be hundreds of ways by now. There is even a Lootie game.

We can laugh, yes. But that doesn't detract from the seriousness of the crime, and in Louisiana some looters are learning that the hard way as a judge has recently sentenced them to 15 years in prison.

There is also the way looting plays into the more serious issues related to hurricane preparations and recovery to be found in one of the other internet phenomena of the "black man looting, white man finding" news articles.

It is hard to judge people who steal food in the height of an emergency. It's a little easier to condemn people who steal their neighbors only remaining hope of keeping a few tokens of their homes and memories in the aftermath.

Any way you look at it, looting is a serious problem. I wish I had an answer, but I don't really see that there is one.

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