Friday, May 06, 2011

Somewhere along the evolutionary line...

...that leads from tapeworms to lampreys and eventually to personal injury attorneys, you will find looters.
Capps, 41, said he returned to the site the day after Wednesday's tornadoes, leaving his parents in the hospital. Walking up Dogwood Lane, he saw a man carrying a rolled-up power cord that looked familiar. Then he noticed the cord had his own name on it.

"I said, `If your conscience will let you live with what you just did, then you've earned that cord.' And he kept on walking," Capps said.
No sooner did the debris stop blowing around in Alabama than thieves started stealing it. That's real classy, right there.

There was also the usual spurt of disaster-induced economic illiteracy:
Marauding thieves aren't residents' only concern. The attorney general's office in Alabama has received nearly 1,800 phone calls complaining about price gouging, Barnes said. The complaints include $2 bags of ice being sold for $5, $400 generators being sold for $1,600 on the side of the road, hotels jacking up their prices and unfair gasoline prices.
Every single one of those eighteen hundred yahoos deserves a good pimp-slapping from the Invisible Hand.

(H/T to EmmaPeel.)

32 comments:

docjim505 said...

Hey, why don't they go whole-hog and complain that necessary supplies (ice, generators, plywood, Playstations, plasma TV's) ought to be FREE after a disaster?

Bah.

GuardDuck said...

As you said, looters.

Some types will cart the stuff they steal on their own backs. Others want the state to steal it for them.

John B said...

power cord...
Hangman's noose...
I'm not the only one who thought of that.

Lissa said...

What goes around comes around, but I really wish it would come faster. With a horsewhip.

staghounds said...

As so often happens, the brilliant Saki has a story on the very subject.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, to most Americans, the American Way is 'Screw everyone else to get as much as I can for myself as quickly as I can'.

On a certain firearms community, a number of people were able to purchase unlimited items for $250 a few months back. I inquired about the cost recently only to be told they'd give me a 'deal' at $1000, but if I didn't buy it, the price would go up to $2500. I'm ok with a little profit, but HATE the 'screw you to help me' attitude (and I'll laugh when the price goes back to $250 in a few weeks).

tickmeister said...

Looters should be shot and traditionally are.

Prices of merchandise should be what the buyer and seller agree on. Tain't nobody elses business.

Tam said...

"Sadly, to most Americans, the American Way is 'Screw everyone else to get as much as I can for myself as quickly as I can'."

I see they got to you, too.

Since when did "Profit" become a four-letter word, ya frickin' Wobbly?

If something is priced too rich for your blood, don't buy it. If it's too ricvh for everybody else's blood, too, then the seller will drop the price or starve. If other people are buying it but you think it's too expensive, then you just can't afford it. Hey, sorry 'bout that.

But the minute you decide that the government can tell a man how much he can charge for his goods or services, you're not one bit better than Karl goddam Marx.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Tam, 1,000% right as usual. Too bad the Gooberment already is telling us what to charge for Goods and Services. Here in Ohio, we have State Minimum Pricing on Alcohol, Tobacco and a few other items. Then there's the Federales "Milk Price Supports" to keep Moo Juice prices down, plus all the Frackin' Gas Taxes, Excise Taxes, Minimum Wage, etc. Of course, when Disaster Strikes, too many Sheeple think that the Nanny State will just Air Drop New Housing, Food, Clothing and Money. Guess they forgot how well FEMA worked after Katrina, huh?

As for Looters, well, one could have too many eggs in one's basket, no? Never hurts to have some Self-Defense stuff stashed on the property, but not in the house. Amazing how much can be safely buried, yet still be relatively easy to be dug up and placed into service, just in case. And spare furniture, clothing, documentation, etc will fit into those Self-Storage places a couple of miles away just fine. No guarantee the Storage place won't be hit, but it sure beats having to live with the clothes on one's back for a couple of weeks, right?

WTSHTF, EVERYONE is on their own for awhile. Plan accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I hereby repeal the laws of supply and demand. So it is said, so it shall be done.

Signed,

Barack I
By the Grace of Myself,
Emperor of America
Prince of Chicago
Duke of Honolulu
Earl of Occidental
Sovereign Lord of the Kingdom of Media

docjim505 said...

Tam - [T]he minute you decide that the government can tell a man how much he can charge for his goods or services, you're not one bit better than Karl goddam Marx.

A-MEN!

Jim said...

Every single one of those eighteen hundred yahoos deserves a good pimp-slapping from the Invisible Hand.

I don't know if this sort of thing is the result of concerned effort or inherent talent, but... wow.

Jim

Robert said...

Every year before hurricane season US Virgin Island businesses have to fill out a form listing their product and/or service prices and file it with the local Dept. of Licensing & Consumer Affairs. Those prices are fixed until hurricane season ends.

Presumably if the community is struck by a disaster and said business is forced to raise prices, they get officially ban-hammered and fined...Oh and the local PTB just raised the gross receipts tax from 4% to 4.5%.

It's for the children...Who attend public schools with a 50% HS drop out rates, consistently bottom-rung national test scores, and yearly struggles to attain accreditation.

My Wookie suit is out on the clothesline.

David said...

I don't understand the " `If your conscience will let you live with what you just did, then you've earned that cord.' And he kept on walking,"

A thief with a conscience? No such animal.

A better response would be "drop it, or I'll shoot your ass".

Tam said...

David,

"A better response would be "drop it, or I'll shoot your ass"."

That could turn into a $50,000+ extension cord pretty quickly.

Ken said...

Hey, why don't they go whole-hog and complain that necessary supplies (ice, generators, plywood, Playstations, plasma TV's) ought to be FREE after a disaster?

Wait.

Kristopher said...

Tam: Shot looters who tried to sue homeowners in Florida after the last big hurricane found it impossible to do so successfully.

The local sheriff wasn't very interested in prosecuting people for shooting looters for some reason. This left them with no evidence other than a load of buckshot in the ass.

Local hospitals started referring to the wounds as Dade County Rash.

Graybeard said...

What Kristopher said.

My whole reason for finally waking up and getting my head out of my a...umm, out of my Obama, was the hurricanes here a few years ago.

Too many stories afterwards. Like the guys driving around and coming up to your door offering to cut up your fallen tree. If you answered, they either got work or didn't - they didn't care. If no one answered, they came back after dark to help themselves. We had much less destruction than Alabama.

A friend was carrying a generator down to his in-laws. Open bed pickup truck. Someone offered to buy it a light, he said no, so they jumped into his truck to take it. Messrs. Smith and Wesson convinced them otherwise, just by being present.

Tam said...

Kristopher,

"Shot looters who tried to sue homeowners in Florida after the last big hurricane found it impossible to do so successfully."

Busting a cap in somebody's ass is always going to be a huge gamble.

If it's one you're willing to take over a $20 extension cord, well, that's up to you.

I'd hate to think that my generator, ammo, food, and spare guns got stolen because I was down in the county hole trying to explain why I shot a dude over something so easily replaceable...

Robin said...

High prices when demand is high is how the market decides who really has a high enough need for the item.

These silly "anti-gouging" laws just mean that the goods are unavailable.

Triton said...

I'm in disagreement on this one. Your entire existence was just Hoover Vac'd and some ass wipe is swing his lucky dick in your face. America, don't be surprised when you get bent over.

- docjim505- Ice should be friggen free! Delivered to your cement slab accompanied with several gallons of water and a small cheese sandwich! Possibly a debit card a few hundred dollars on it as well.

Anonymous said...

There's something to be said for making caught looters assist in the cleanup efforts. Being forced to do manual labor enough to have paid for what you lifted seems to dissuade the larcenious but lazy.

I'd be curious what the cost of bringing in the ice and other supplies is and comparing it to before the storms hit.

Tam said...

"Ice should be friggen free! Delivered to your cement slab accompanied with several gallons of water and a small cheese sandwich! Possibly a debit card a few hundred dollars on it as well."

By who? The good fairy?

That stuff costs money.

If someone wants to be charitable, that's good, but nobody is OWED charity.

Larry said...

Same thing happened here in NC after the tornadoes last month, some oxygen thieves were poking around the rubble seeing what they could steal. Burning in hell is too good a fate for them.
Maybe I wouldn't have shot the extension cord thief, but I might have tried to beat him unconscious with the knotted end of it. In a natural disaster it might be needed and not be so easy to replace.

staghounds said...

Killing someone solves (and creates new) problems.

Fighting is stupid.

And PRICE SUPPORTS ARE TO KEEP PRICES HIGH, not low!!!

ALL "price controls" make things more costly than they would otherwise be.

Robert said...

staghounds: "ALL "price controls" make things more costly than they would otherwise be."

Amen.

After hurricane [Hugo 1989] trashed us, businesses that gouged were shunned and their owners became pariahs...Some still are. Unfortunately looters -a few of whom were prominent members of the community- were given mere wrist slaps.

Nowadays our community is far better prepared and civilly calm after being gaia-slammed than we were back then, which I suppose will last until memory of how to act fades away.

Matt G said...

There's an economic theory that says that "gouging" (made up word that in a capitalistic society should mean nothing. Kinda like "i" in algebra being a made-up concept for the square root of negative one) actually keeps goods from being stockpiled by one or two people, so that they're there for the masses to have access to when they're needed.

Robert said...

Replace "gouging" with "chiseling".I think most practicing Capitalists would get the concept and how it might relate to the maintenance of a civil society...That is if they consider a civil society to be good for business.

What is it the good books say? Thou shalt not f*&k over thy neighbor/customer.

Nolo said...

I am surprised you don't see the value in so-called "price gouging".

You're a libertarian, so I hear; they're supposed to be good at economics. Why, then do you see a problem with prices reflecting a rise in demand? Raising prices does two good things for the recovery effort: It encourages people to ship needed goods to the area, and it prevents waste of goods until the market is flooded with them (which it needs to be in order for recovery to happen).

In short, condemning price gouging is condemning the future for the present, and in the midst of a crisis no less.

Now, because I like your blog, my mighty Queen of Snark, I'll end on an agreeing note.

Looters, actual looters who would steal goods from those who prepared, are the very scum of the Earth and justly should be hung.

Tam said...

Nolo,

Um, where did I say anything bad about the fictional concept of "price gouging"? In fact, I said that the 1800 people who had called the government to complain about it deserved an, and I quote, "pimp-slapping from the Invisible Hand."

What post did you just read, anyway? :S

Divemedic said...

I love how some claim that a person freely selling a needed supply for more that normal is wrong and should be illegal, even if the sale is still voluntary, but at the same time, those same people see absolutely nothing wrong with the government forcibly taking money from me at gunpoint in order to give ice, water, and free money to people.

At least so-called "gougers" are not forcing me to buy their stuff. How is a government handout any different than looting? At least the looter has enough guts to steal the stuff for himself, instead of using an armed agent to do it for him.

Nolo said...

Well, that would explain why I was surprised you were complaining about it...

Carry on. Clearly I need more sleep.