J. D. Heyes
Oct 30, 2012
Scores of people are using the social networking site Twitter to plan looting sprees in the wake Hurricane Sandy, though many of them – if they decide to follow through on their threat – could wind up facing the business end of a firearm.
In fact, the New York National Guard is already preparing for any eventuality, including civil disobedience and looting, according to reports that say the state is planning on deploying nearly 1,200 soldiers for those, and other, purposes.
NY Guardsman will “provide command and control and logistical support” in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier, and will also be on hand to “protect against looting.”
In fact, tens of thousands of National Guardsmen are being alerted to respond to emergencies and other duties related to Hurricane Sandy. As of Monday, according to one official source, as many as 60,000 have already been notified in states all along Sandy’s path along the Eastern seaboard.
Whether the looting will take place individually or in gangs remains to be seen, but given the fairly recent phenomenon of using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to plan and execute “flash mobs,” it’s something authorities are taking seriously.
The word is out on Twitter – Time to loot!
According to one report by Fox News, teen flash mobs are on the rise. Worse, they have transformed from “the mostly benign and goofy” kind “in which groups suddenly break into dance at a mall or stumble around like zombies at train stations” into “bold robberies” and other criminal activity.
“Police say the suspects select a time and place and enter the store in droves taking what they want and leaving before security or police can catch them,” the report said.
“Over 90 percent of crimes committed by young people are done so in a group,” Scott Decker, a professor of criminology at Arizona State University, told the news service.
Of 129 retailers that were surveyed by the National Retail Federation recently, almost 95 percent of them reported being victimized by organized criminals over the past year, with 85 percent saying the problem had only grown in the past three years.
Now, the social sites are being used to plan looting sprees in the wake of what many forecasters and meteorologists are saying could be a storm of “historic” proportions, especially in terms of the damage Sandy may leave behind.
Here are a few of the tweets seen thus far, as assembled by InfoWars.com:
“Bout to do some looting when this hurricane finally hits….gonna get a new laptop and tv…this hurricane might be the best thing to happen.”
“If this hurricane gets real bad I’m looting stores! i always wanted to do that.”
“I’m gonna go looting once this hurricane hits Utica.”
“Has #HurricaneSandy made landfall yet? My bitch a** is ready to go looting!”
“helllll yeah I’m gonna go looting after the storm hits.”
“Who wants to go looting with me when Sandy hits?! I need some new s**t!”
Armed and ready?
Those who are seriously planning to loot – an unbelievably callous thing to do at a time when a community and its residents are at their most vulnerable – may stop to consider what police in New Orleans were instructed to do in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction in 2005.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the local newspaper:
In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, an order circulated among New Orleans police authorizing officers to shoot looters, according to present and former members of the New Orleans Police Department.
The paper went on to quote some current officers as saying they were explicitly instructed by higher ups to do whatever was necessary to “take back the city,” which included not-so-veiled instructions to “shoot looters.”
One man – Henry Glover – was actually shot and killed by police while looting during Katrina.
From the NOLA paper:
In one instance captured on a grainy videotape shot by a member of the force, a police captain relayed the instructions at morning roll call to cops preparing for the day’s patrols.
“We have authority by martial law to shoot looters,” Capt. James Scott told a few dozen officers in a portion of the tape viewed by reporters. Scott, then the commander of the 1st District, is now captain of the special operations division.
Following Sandy; however, looters may have more to worry about from residents and business owners keen on keeping their stuff. And National Guardsman assigned to help them do so.
“One hopes that we can look at what happened in New Orleans and learn from it, rather than just repeating the same mistakes all over again the next time disaster hits,” writes Doug Mataconis at the Outside The Beltway blog.
We’re about to find out.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 3:19 am