Looters-19th Century Style

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I got sucked into a History special last night. Lincoln’s assasination is fascinating in and of itself, but this studied the elements of the 12 day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth.

Obviously, though, before there was a manhunt, there was a murder. In the days before text messages, E mail and phone lines, people would just gather on the street corner to hear the latest news. Can you imagine how inaccurate their news had to be? It’d make today’s bias in media look like child’s play!

After Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater, he was carried across the street to a boarding house to live out his last hours. Outside the boarding house, a crowd had gathered to get reports of his condition. From the first BANG of the assassin’s gun, they knew the bullett would be fatal-it was just a questionn of how long the President could hold onto life. That turned out to be less than 12 hours.

As the crowd outside Lincoln’s makeshift hospital received the news the President had expired, they began tearing planks off the building, grabbing any momento they could find. Morbid? Yes…and not so different than what we saw going on in New Orleans two years ago.

Is there anything lower than a looter? Looting seems the most dispicable form of human behavior. Looters take advantage of a bad situation to better their own existence through underhanded means. Whether it was jusst getting a souvenier off the house where Lincoln died, or it was the citizens of N’Orleans stealing televisions from their friends and neighbors, still, looting is just pathetic behavior.

About the only thing lower is stealing from a family while they’re at a funeral. Some thieves will comb the paper for obits, find out when the person’s burial service is held and, conveniently, show up at their home to steal stuff while the family mourns. Awful.

A layman’s idea is that looting isn’t something we only see in the emergencies of modern day America. I’m sure there are more examples throughout history, but this showed just how ridiculous people can behave in the time of tragedy.

When tragedy strikes, there are two types of people who emerge: those who step up to the challenge to hellp fix it, and those who stick their head in the sand. Which are you?

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