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August 31, 2005


Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 31, 2005 08:41 AM

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Surely not the person who takes a bottle of water, though, or food for the child where there is no mechanism to get clean water or safe food. Or the lady I saw coming out of a store with only two or three packs of diapers - a product that the waters will destroy. There is natural right, too, as well as criminal law even in the Hobbsean world that these people may face until evacuated. So arrest them all - I am fine with that - and feed them all and jail the ones with cars filled with stereo equipment and make examples of them.

Interesting to note that two LA parishes asked for martial law to be imposed but the state's constitution barred it. This is when the wisdom of the calm thought of the past shows its strength.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2005 11:45 AM

Alan, you once again demonstrate a distressing capacity to assume that neither me nor the police are capable of making the same distinctions based on wisdom and common sense that you do. People are not in flight from mothers looting diapers. While it would be nice to "arrest them all" I am not certain how you propose this be done when it is transparent that the authorities are thus far incapable of finding everyone who has been swept up in the storm let alone rescuing them, feeding them and housing them. Perhaps you can lend the authorities your magic wand along with your pious and insulting pronoucements. Otherwise we must either rely on the Draconian measure I propose, one which too is grounded in tradition and necessity, or cede the streets to riot. In the meantime, looters are not only making off with perishables and diapers, or even jewelry and television sets, but with food and supplies the community as a whole may need to distribute in the days and weeks to come.

As a side point, my post says nothing about martial law. In fact, under Canada's constitution there is no provision whatsoever for martial law because there is no context in which the civil authorities can relinquish their power to the military. This same legal understanding may be reflected in the cases you mention but this wisdom has nothing whatsoever to do with the necessity of asserting the civil power in the face of rapine and pillaging.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2005 11:51 AM

I was actually being done yesterday and the police were making that distinction without shooting. There were rounding up people in boats and guarding them on the interstate - a makeshift detention centre that servec the civic purpose. Add SWAT teams and national guard on corners as they did last night and there is no riot.

I cannot but point out the implicit need for a martial law declaration if we were to follow through with your recommendation - as there is no reason otherwise to shoot a looter in law. This is especially the case when they can be treated as sensibly and civilly as has happened in New Orleans.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2005 12:19 PM

Only at the Flea can one find an entry starting with Levi-Strauss & Zizek and ending with a call to shoot looters!!

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2005 01:39 PM

Alan: You appear to be confused about the term "martial law", an expression that has different specific meanings in different specific contexts. As I have pointed out, no such condition exists in Canadian law and yet under certain conditions peace officers are not only empowered but obligated to use deadly force. This is certainly the case under the curfew in New Orleans or, should it prove necessary, the provisions for limited martial law that exist in the United States (see Ex Parte Milligan, 1866). But by all means continue judging the police services and public policy on the basis of Les Miserables if you wish. I can only hope your decision making is limited to the next terror attack on Kingston rather than being imposed on those of us in downtown Toronto who are rather more likely to have to live with your result of this sort of nail biting anxiety for the fate of those who feel no obligation to their fellow citizens, the law or simple compassion.

Varenius: That's why I make the big bucks.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2005 04:22 PM

Alan: Though I should say I am glad somebody is paying attention. I thought my calls for hanging would get the wind up some folk but it was as a pond on a summer day with no breeze. I am not certain what to demand after hanging and shooting but I imagine I will come up with something.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2005 04:28 PM

You do seem rather bloodthirsty these days, Nick. But then, Desperate times call for desperate measures.....

Posted by: Dr_Funk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2005 03:05 AM

We have a rich and interesting relationship, Maestro F., so you just remember that you being there making me think "can this be?" over porridge and tea is elemental. These are bleak times. I am a dreamy optimist and perhaps fear less having used up mine worrying in my teens when the world would be glazed.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2005 07:36 AM