Looters and the right to keep and bear arms

There are reports of looting in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. The National Guard has been mobilized to help stop the looting but what I don’t see or mentioned are people defending their homes and stores like what we saw after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Most people in New Jersey and New York probably do not have a firearm which would give them a decent chance against the supposedly planned “flash mob robberies”.


I wonder if this will change any opinions on the right to keep and bear arms. Will more people purchase a firearm and get some training so that next time they will be better prepared? Or will government workers with guns do such a wonderful job that people will see no need for private citizens to own guns?


A search of Google news for hurricane sandy gun turns up nothing of interest. I wonder why that is.

7 thoughts on “Looters and the right to keep and bear arms

  1. Compare and contrast: looting following the hurricanes Katrina & Sandy, and looting following the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

    In ‘Frisco, the Army and militias shot looters on sight, and when that word got around, looting ended. The looting in ‘Nawlins went on for days, as will the looting after Sandy, because there are no consequences for the looters, only for those who try to interrupt their predation.

  2. In New Orleans there was some confusion about who exactly needed shot, and who needed to have their firearms removed by force.

    People going about their lawful business, escaping from floodzones, ended up getting shot and little old ladies ended up getting taken down by police for possessing, in their homes, revolvers for self defense.

    I would guess that with the level of gangs and corruption and organized crime in NJ before the hurricane there were plans being made, with shopping lists of where and what to hit.

  3. Also, almost goes without saying that there will be less REPORTED problems with recovery from this hurricane – not only because of improvements and changes to FEMA operations, but because there is a Democrat running for re-election in the White House.

    I’d not be surprised if every problem caused by Sandy was completely fixed, or reported to be fixed, by about Friday, just in time for a weekend of OBAMA RECOVERY SAVES US coverge.

  4. This may raise a few questions in a few quarters about the value of firearms…but nothing serious will come of it. Too many people in that part of the country have been indoctrinated to believe and have fully bought into the idea that a common person cannot “engage in self-help” and that the best bet when accosted is to surrender immediately.

    I don’t see this changing that a whit. As you’ve pointed out repeatedly, people who’ve been steeped in that worldview have serious issues with separating their philosophical (almost religious) beliefs from the realities of the physical world.

  5. “Flash mob robberies”

    Don’t you need cell phone service to plan a flash mob? No cell phone service, no flash mobs. Problem solved.

    Seriously, my business survived a “national disaster” with extensive damage. My sole looters were two old WHITE grandmother-types who tried to steal something through a broken window according to the neighbors (but the neighbors stopped them). I don’t think Americans are ready to see grandmothers shot on the street for looting.

  6. @ubu52, flash mobs aren’t the only way to loot. And the risk/reward ratio of having/disabling cell phone service in a disaster such as this probably weighs heavily on the side of having good communication even taking into account the potential for abuse.

    And you don’t necessarily have to shoot someone to stop them from looting. But you may have to have the ability to. The grandmother with an AR-15 and a stack of loaded 30-round magazines can discourage a mob of young male thugs far better than a couple overweight middle-aged guys with baseball bats.

    The first line of defense is merely presence. If someone is there “watching the store” the chances of looting drop dramatically.

    The second line of defense is verbal. Tell them to go away. This will work better if the person demanding they leave has an implied “or else” response that gets the respect of the looters. Two adults males in good physical shape can inform a single unarmed looter to leave and be pretty certain “the discussion” is over. If it’s a grandmother telling two young male looters to get lost there may be “further negotiations”. If communication is available and the police are not over taxed the “or else” can be calling the police. But looting is enable precisely because communication and availability of the police is impaired.

    The third line of defense is non-lethal force. This can could be any number of things including arrest, pushing, striking, or the use tools such as pepper spray.

    The final line of defense is lethal force. This is unlikely to be needed for the grandmothers (of whatever color) looting the store but almost for certain will need to be a least implied when dealing with a large mob.

    “Watching the store” needs to be a relatively safe activity and it should be a task that can be shared with as many people as possible. Large, tough, trustworthy adult males may be in short supply. Giving the proper tools and authority to a wider set of people will reduce the chances of widespread breakdown of civic norms.

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