Looters vs. Armed Homeowners after Tornado, Other Natural Disasters

By:  William F. Jasper
Looters vs. Armed Homeowners after Tornado, Other Natural Disasters

Natural or man-made disasters bring out looters as well as Good Samaritans, but business- and homeowners' armed self-defense can stop them in their tracks.

The tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20 left 23 people dead and destroyed hundreds of homes, schools, and businesses. But even while they were still grappling with the pain, loss, and suffering inflicted by Nature, the victims were faced with another affliction: looters.

The devastating Oklahoma twister demonstrated what almost every other disaster — whether natural or man-made — has shown: Some fellow humans respond as Good Samaritans, while others respond as barbarians. Looters come from near and far. According to a Reuters dispatch of June 13, police have arrested 17 looters, some of whom had come from as far away as Virginia, New York, and California to take advantage of the tragedy that had befallen Oklahoma residents.

"We are seeing people take everything from copper to pipes to scrap metal to all kinds of electronics," Moore police spokesman Jeremy Lewis said.

Jon Fisher is a Moore resident whose home was flattened and whose neighborhood has been among those targeted by looters. "The houses are still standing and looters are kicking in doors and taking TVs and appliances," Fisher said. "They arrested two guys in my neighborhood the night of the tornado who were carrying out a love seat and couch."

Similar looting sprees have occurred in conjunction with other disasters. Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 mega-storm that ravaged New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, unleashed widespread looting and violence. Large sections of devastated areas were left without police protection. Worse still, the New Orleans police were ordered to confiscate the firearms of homeowners and residents, leaving many defenseless at a time when they most needed the ability to exercise their natural right of self defense guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Last year’s Hurricane Isaac brought out the looters again in New Orleans. It was much the same story on the eastern seaboard as Superstorm Sandy caused the evacuation of huge swaths of businesses and homes. Likewise, the wildfires currently underway in Colorado, New Mexico, and California have brought on incidents of looting, the same as last year’s round of wildfires.

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Photo of tornado damage to neighborhood in Moore, Oklahoma: AP Images

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