Looting in wake of hurricane reflects what part of human nature?

Looting in wake of hurricane reflects what part of human nature?

Sacramento : CA : USA | Aug 30, 2011 at 12:50 PM PDT
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Looting can come from a fire, a storm, or the wrong jury decision. How much looting would Sacramento have in the wake of a disaster? See, Police: Teen Arrested For Looting In Lincoln - Video - KCRA. Also check out the video, From The Field: Homes Looted During Lincoln Fire - Video - KCRA. Is looting universal? What would you do to prevent looting in Sacramento?

When there was a fire in Sacramento and its suburbs, looting happened. How much worse will the looting be when there's a widespead disaster here? Can looting be predicted from any location or demographics? Or is it random human behavior done by unhappy people? And is it only the poor? If so, why do some middle-class people also loot even when they have a job? Or can you blame it on human behavior as the area loses its middle class to the digital divide or the divide between richer and poorer?

Have you ever wondered why some people loot or assault victims of hurricanes seeking shelter or safety? Post-hurricane news reports on TV announced that an elderly woman seeking shelter from the hurricane was sexually assaulted. See the article, Top cop faces sex assault charges - Hurricane Relief Volunteer.

Also see the August 29, 2011 article, Hurricane Relief Volunteer Charged With Sex Abuse Of Woman At Shelter. The TV broadcast did not explain further details at that moment of the announcement.

In another looting incident in Virginia Beach, two men were arrested after they were caught on camera stealing from a storm-damaged home during or just after hurricane Irene swept through. See, Hurricane Irene 2011: Men arrested for looting.

See the news article, Hurricane Relief Volunteer Charged With Sex Abuse Of Woman At Shelter, NY. According to that article, a man was arrested on sex abuse charges after he inappropriately touched a woman who was seeking shelter at a hurricane relief center on Long Island. Also see the article, Hurricane Relief Volunteer Charged With Sex Abuse Of Woman At Shelter.

News broadcasts on TV also announced that in Vermont a former correction officer helped people to evacuate their homes in the wake of flooding and as soon as the people left, the former officer looted their homes. Also see the article, Man caught looting from home damaged by Hurricane Irene. What motivates behavior in a disaster for some people to volunteer with agencies that help people to safety and other people to loot any home or store that has been temporarily left vacant in a disaster such as a storm, tornado, flood, or hurricane? From the Philadelphia Inquirer see the article. Man charged with looting mail boxes after evacuation.

What Motivates Looting?

Is the motivation to loot or assault someone in dire need of help who is at the mercy of volunteers and other officials assigned to get people to safety about money? Is it the unhappy, the jobless, or the frustrated person most likely to loot or assault the helpless?

What power does such a person have over someone who is unable to help or defend himself or herself in a disaster? Have you pondered the motivation for such behavior?

Are some countries more honest than others as a whole? Or are people good as a nation, as the human species in general? Is it only the person with mental issues or character disorders who volunteers and then loots or assaults? To find the answer to this question you have to look not only at the country becoming divided between the rich and the poor, but the loss of middle-class values that arrived with the loss of jobs and small businesses.

Why is it in some countries if a reporter leaves a wallet filled with money on the sidewalk, the wallet is soon returned to the owner? Such an experiment was done, and at that time, only Denmark happened to be the one country where consistently the wallet was returned to the owner, with the money and ID cards in the wallet, not disturbed. See the article, Lost wallets: only one in five returned research says. Also see the article, Only one in five would return lost wallet - Home News, UK.

I tried this experiment in Sacramento in the past. I placed a wallet in a public place. It had a generic number to call and a post office box number to mail the wallet to. It also contained enough money to pay for postage and a container to mail the wallet to the post office box. The wallet contained a note that if found, there would be a reward of $25 to send back the wallet in whatever condition you found it.

Nobody mailed back the wallet. But to add insult to injury, while shopping in a Sacramento supermarket near a residential area, as I was buying fish, someone standing to the left side of me at the fish counter, walked to the right, passing the handlebars of my shopping cart and removing my tote bag containing a cell phone and an expensive MP3 player, a pair of prescription glasses that would cost $250 to purchase again, a pair of sun glasses, and coupons. But no money and no other identification.

It taught me a lesson, never leave a tote bag unwatched for a few seconds, and never bring items into a supermarket in a tote bag other than some facial tissues. Keep the cell phone, if needed, in your pocket. And don't take the glasses unless they're on your face.

The moral of this story is that no matter how safe you feel in your own neighborhood, somebody is out of a job and desperate for cash or to sell whatever electronic device you're carrying in a bag. If you can't wear your possessions on your clothing in front of you where you can see them, don't take them shopping. Money should be zipped in an inside pocket, even if it's a hot summer day.

Why are people who are in need of help most often victimized in a natural disaster? And why is looting so prevalent in the USA? Is it because of the divide been the haves and the have-nots? Or just that too many people are unhappy? It has been said that happy people don't tend to commit crimes.

AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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