We had a bad time in the 1960s, and in the New York blackout in the '70s, and in the Los Angeles riots in the '90s. But the whole story of our last national crisis, 9/11, was courage--among the passersby, among the firemen, among those who walked down there stairs slowly to help a less able colleague, among those who fought their way past the flames in the Pentagon to get people out. And it gave us quite a sense of who we are as a people. It gave us a lot of renewed pride.
If New Orleans damages that sense, it's going to be painful to face. It's going to be damaging to the national spirit. More damaging even than a hurricane, even than the worst in decades.
I wonder if the cruel and stupid young people who are doing the looting know the power they have to damage their country. I wonder, if they knew, if they'd stop it.
The answer is no, they wouldn't stop it. That's why you shoot looters.