Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » September 2005 » Looting...

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09/05/2005: Looting...

Here are two off-the-cuff piece from an anonymous Blogger called Alameida; Loot I and Loot II


Now, I'm going to say something that's going to maybe make you all think I'm a bad person or something, but that's what "anonymous" blogging is for.

Living in D.C. for much of my life, I've given a lot of thought to the post-apocalyptic, breakdown of society questions. What would I do? I was just talking about this with my sister today; what if we were at our house and the dirty bomb went off? Let me be totally honest. I'd have my babies in the sling, the SKS in my hand, and a 9-mm in my pants waistband. (Well, unless we couldn't get away; then let's say we'd divide the labor and leave the babies at home). Hell yes, I would loot the pharmacy on day 1. Diapers, iodine, formula, food, electrolyte solution, clean water, heavy-duty antibiotics, wound dressings, and oxycontin. Valium too.

Would I leave the liquid morphine behind for other, less enterprising looters? No. Fuck the bullshit, people. Would I go around and try to save everybody in my neighborhood, bring the old ladies in their houses to my place, get formula to those other people's babies? Yes. If somebody looked at me wrong, would I shoot them? Yes.

If I saw the 20th rescue helicopter pass me by would I fire in the air to say "here we are, assholes! Somebody get down here!" Yes. And now, just to mix things up--would I loot the local jewelry store? The bank, if I thought it was practical? Yes. I'm kind of an amoral person that way. But I'm white! So it's all good. Discuss.

Seriously, stipulate that you have guns and ammo at home, but you're worried supplies will run low, and you know from personal experience watching TV this whole fucking week that you are totally on your own. Are you telling me you'd wait there like a putz? "Oh the government will come soon." With your children? You wouldn't go down to crowbar the front off the CVS? You're lying. All these "shoot-to-kill" warbloggers can kiss my ass. They would be the first ones out there, if they had the guts to go outside. More likely they'd die with cheeto dust on their hands in the basement, having just won convincingly at Risk.

UPDATE: from the Washington Post:

Herbert J. Freeman arrived in a neighbor's boat with his mother, Ethel M. Freeman, 91, frail and sick, but with an active mind. She kept asking him for a doctor, for a nurse, for anyone who could help her. Police told Freeman there was nothing they could do. She died in her wheelchair, next to her son, on Thursday morning.

It was half a day before he could find someone to take away her body, he said. "She wasn't senile or nothing," he said. "She knew what was going on. . . . I kept saying, 'Mom, I can't help you.' "

Next to Freeman, Kenny Lason, 45, a dishwasher at Pat O'Brien's, a French Quarter restaurant famous for its signature "Hurricane" cocktail, took a long slurp out of a bottle of Korbel extra-dry champagne. He broke a store window to get it, and he is not ashamed. "They wasn't giving us nothing," he said. "You got to live off the land."

Would that first man's mother have been better off if he had looted a pharmacy for IV solution, water, the medication she was taking, an umbrella to shade her in her wheelchair, and so on? Would the pharmacy owner be any more likely to claim total loss with his insurers than he is now? Are any of you really mad at the second guy who's drinking the Korbel? With what he's been through, it ought to have been Veuve Clicquot, at the bare minimum.

Loot II

Look, my point is not just that I can have Mad Max fantasies that are more awesome than yours. My point is: much of the criticism of the people trapped in New Orleans has centered around the idea that they gave up on civilized norms too quickly, that they themselves hastened the city's descent into anarchy with their selfish ways.

In retrospect, though, the people who waited until day 5 without food or water from any authorities before they condoned looting were played for suckers. Provided that the decentralized appropiation of supplies were accompanied with reasonably fair distribution, everyone would have been better off with more looting sooner.

Also, as my speculations indicate, plenty of people have "looting" in their minds from day 1, and not just poor people, not just desperate people. If I'm ready to countenance being this much of a jerk from my dry chair, what might a person not do in all good conscience?

Karen on 09.05.05 @ 05:49 AM CST

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