With the city largely emptied of people — and war-stressed National Guard units lacking the numbers to make a forceful presence — looting has started to hit the devastated streets of New Orleans.
At a Walgreen’s drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers.
When police finally showed up, a young boy stood in the door screaming, ”86! 86!” — the radio code for police — and the crowd scattered.
Denise Bollinger, a tourist from Philadelphia, stood outside and snapped pictures in amazement.
”It’s downtown Baghdad,” the housewife said. ”It’s insane. I’ve wanted to come here for 10 years. I thought this was a sophisticated city. I guess not.”
Yes, the circumstances in New Orleans are somewhat similar to the looting that occurred in Baghdad in the wake of Bush’s poorly planned invasion. In both cases we failed to provide our military sufficient instructions to stop the looting… nor gave them the troop strength to do so.
Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by.
Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.
”To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society,” he said.
Now before anyone berates this man for his anti-social statement, one should remember that he is merely echoing the sentiments of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in response to the “untidy” sacking of Baghdad. Rumsfeld explained that free people “make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”
“And while no one condones looting, on the other hand one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression…”
So I guess we should celebrate the looting as evidence that we have finally succeeded in bringing freedom to the streets of New Orleans.