Once upon a time, in a kinder, gentler, and wiser America, looters got shot.
Shooting looters was official government policy. When the Great Flood of 1913 inundated cities in over a dozen states, the Sixth Ohio Infantry was called out. A newspaper reported at the time:
Following the discovery that men were looting stores and residences, Col. Zimmerman, commanding officer in the flood district, ordered that all looters be shot on sight, and to drive from the flooded section every man not engaged in rescue work.
The Sixth Ohio Infantry’s motto was not “you loot, we shoot,” but it should have been. History does not record whether Col. Zimmerman ordered his men to go for head shots or aim for center of mass.
Normal Americans in that normal era could defend themselves from scoundrels. A dispatch from South Bend, Indiana that week reported matter-of-factly: “Several more looters shot here. Citizens shot one robber and threw his body in the river.” If Kyle Rittenhouse had shown up with a Winchester Model 1894, newspapermen of that era would have complimented his marksmanship.
America’s no-nonsense policy of dispatching criminals did not stop at looters. A second article from Ohio that week said the order had gone out: “Shoot looters and shoot to kill. If sightseers will not get beyond the flood deadlines after one warning, shoot them also.”
In 1903, after the rising Mississippi River had burst through temporary levees, the city of East St. Louis, Illinois was submerged in up to 15 feet of water. Looting began. The Associated Press described the outcome succinctly: “Seven Negro Looters Reported Shot.”
That was a more honest time. Today the Associated Press has adopted a policy of excusing the mayhem in America’s great cities. AP reports from Philadelphia are careful to repeat the mantra of “peaceful protests.” AP writers are skilled practitioners of avoiding the dangerous topic of demographics.
Until recently, America enjoyed a simple shoot-the-looters rule. This was uncontroversial and non-partisan. It protected property and kept the peace. San Francisco innovated and decided after the earthquake it was okay to shoot rioters too. Today if a riotous mob was about to burn down San Francisco City Hall, city mothers would fret about engaging in racial stereotyping as flames engulfed the building. But plastic straws, microaggressions, masklessness, and expressing the wrong political opinions will be punished severely.
What’s remarkable is that the elites who den in municipal government offices seem content to let America become Somalia, only with better weather. Normally if Philadelphia were devolving into Mogadishu on the Delaware, the only question the police should be asking is .308 or 6.5mm Creedmoor. The answer is the ballistically superior Creedmoor.
Instead of denouncing the thousands of criminals pillaging the city, the Soros-funded Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner published a remarkable open letter on Wednesday denouncing “baseless, incendiary provocations from the Trump Administration.” The local newspaper repeated the same claim. We must give them credit. It takes creativity to deny reality by arguing that President Trump and those ever-useful white supremacists are responsible for looting this Foot Locker.
When a city erupts in riots and looting, the normal American response is to make sure police can do their jobs. Instead 14 of 17 Philadelphia City Council members signed a letter questioning the “legitimacy” of police, and then cut funding by $33 million. As looting resumed this week, the City Council could have restored order. But they spent their time debating how to cripple police. The 14-3 vote Thursday banned “the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray.”
Because police have been handicapped, their rational reaction when confronted by large violent mobs is to find somewhere else to be. The Philadelphia Police Department tweeted this week that: “A large crowd of appx 1000 is looting businesses in the area of Castor and Aramingo. Avoid the area.” Hundreds of stores were looted. This report says “more than 80” pharmacies were ransacked, with peaceful protesters heading “straight for the narcotics.” In Philadelphia, reparations come in pharmaceutical form.
Political malfeasance has treated us to videos like this one. It shows the aftermath of a shop that was looted in May, reopened this month, and was looted again. This article describes how a black brother-and-sister duo opened a boutique in North Philly two years ago. Looters “broke in through their front door and took everything… 30 young men rush[ed] in and snatch[ed] merchandise off the racks.” Of course it would be racist for these small businesses to relocate somewhere with less diversity.
It might be a stretch to say the custom of shooting looters is what made America great. But reviving this practice will help make America great again.
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