Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Study in Human Behaviour

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is truly horrible. It will take years to rebuild and restore Biloxi and Gulfport. New Orleans will never be the same.

What interests me about the current mayhem there is watching how people behave during a crisis like this. How we all react to adversity, individually and in groups, is what really defines us as human beings. We are either at our finest or at our worst when we face calamity, depending in large part on what we have been taught and how we were raised. In the areas visited so violently by Katrina, we see some people helping each other and we see others helping themselves. As a staunch individualist, I am all for people helping themselves, instead of relying on 'society' to help them. I am not, however, in favour of people helping themselves, via five-fingered discounts, to things that don't belong to them. Yes, I'm speaking of looters.

There is a lot of panic in the area. No food, no drink, often no place to sleep. I can understand it if someone helps himself to a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. I would, wouldn't you? I would keep track of what I took. When things returned to normal someday, I would go back to the store and thank the proprietor for helping save my life. I would then pay him or her for what I took, or at least promise to make restitution when I was able.

Looters are scum and should be treated as such. Their actions are examples of the basest sort of human behaviour. All around them, others are struggling to survive, many still trapped in flooded buildings and waiting to be rescued. In the midst of all this, some morons are stealing everything they can carry. It's Christmas for them. They get something they didn't have to work for. Where are they going to plug in their electronic gadgets, if there is no hydro? What are they going to do with all of their new goodies if they are going to be evacuated out of New Orleans?

Judging by the video I've seen on TV, there are a lot of healthy young men and women who, instead of ripping off everything they can, might be better occupied trying to find ways to help rescue their fellow citizens.

Yeah, like that is going to happen.

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