At a time of a city in dire distress, how could there be people who loot guns and TV sets when everybody is suffering? Why don't they all pull together in a humanitarian way?
Typical "good liberal" question. So let's answer it. Let's take a little tour around the NY Times today, to help you understand why there's looting in New Orleans. We'll be reading between the lines, children, because we start with this little fact: 67% of New Orleans is black, and accordingly, poor.
1. From a David Brooks editorial:
What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor.
2. Now, a story about the looting itself. Being the NY Times, they're too polite to mention that the looters are black and poor, but bear that in mind.
Owners Take Up Arms as Looters Press Their Advantage:
Across New Orleans, the rule of law, like the city's levees, could not hold out after Hurricane Katrina. The desperate and the opportunistic took advantage of an overwhelmed police force and helped themselves to anything that could be carried, wheeled or floated away, including food, water, shoes, television sets, sporting goods and firearms.
One woman outside a Sav-a-Center on Tchoupitoulas Street was loading food, soda, water, bread, peanut butter and canned food into the trunk of a gray Oldsmobile. "Yes, in a sense it's wrong, but survival is the name of the game," said the woman, who would not identify herself. "I've got six grandchildren. We didn't know this was going to happen. The water is off. We're trying to get supplies we need."
3. Now, what could be the explanation for people looting when they should be pulling together in a humanitarian way? Is it because they are too poor to care? Here's a NY Times article about the U.S. poverty rate being up last year. For U.S. poverty rate, read black poverty rate (we're reading between the lines, remember).
Even as the economy grew, incomes stagnated last year and the poverty rate rose, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was the first time on record that household incomes failed to increase for five straight years. The census's annual report card on the nation's economic well-being showed that a four-year-old expansion had still not done much to benefit many households. Median pretax income, $44,389, was at its lowest point since 1997, after inflation.