Friday, January 14, 2011

Queensland looting reaction "hysterical" and "psychotic"

Queensland police and public officials have reminded would be looters that anyone convicted of looting faces double the penalty for normal stealing offences – up to ten years in jail.
LNP shadow attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie has called for looters to be named and shamed, and ordered to perform public clean-ups.

"Its bad enough that flood-hit Queenslanders have to contend with the heartache of their losses," Mr Bleijie said.

"No one needs to suffer the double whammy of having valuables stolen."
Looting can also have deadly consequences in that people will be very reluctant to leave their homes unoccupied if there is a history of looting that makes them fear their unattended valuables will be stolen. The harsh penalties and public revulsion are therefore understandable.

Melbourne gamer, barrister, serial litigation-threatener, perpetual whiner and part-time online vigilante Jeremy Sear can't grasp the seriousness of looting, however, deeming the reaction of Queenslanders a "hysterical" and "psychotic" overreaction. In fact, looting can be a good thing:
If their house has been destroyed by flood already, does it make much difference that someone’s stolen their video-camera? Particularly if that means it can be claimed on insurance as theft rather than just damage by rising water?
Cool, looting is a public service, provided the victims can afford theft insurance.

Editing note: Looting typo in title corrected. (Jeez, getting that right was a struggle.)

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Anonymous ar said...

It's just like recycling... (or maybe precycling) stuff you haven't finished using yet.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Adrian of Adelaide said...

I very seldom agree with Sears and don’t entirely on this one either – certainly can’t go along with his moral reasoning that looting is anything other than an abhorrent crime worthy of higher penalties.

However I have to agree with his more general assertion, supported by research, that the perception of wide-spread looting is usually much inflated when compared with what is actually happening on the ground.

Sure it’s understandable that people are very sensitive to the idea of some low-life taking advantage of a disaster to steal, but the reality is that it’s much rarer than you might think. Sears is probably even correct in saying there would be less stealing during natural disasters than normally.

I experienced this as a police officer during a number of similar events, notably the Katherine floods in 1998. Like most of my colleagues I was hyper-alert for looters and we patrolled the streets on a mission from God. Believe me, I would have liked nothing more than to have collared a looter! The closest we got was a kid who had found a muddy book of stickers from the local newsagent floating down the street. And there was barely a living soul we didn’t stop and investigate.

I might even have posted this on Sears’ site – he needs the support because it’s obvious from the comments most don’t agree with him on this one. However whilst he insists on contributors ‘registering’ and their comments being screened I will not do so on principle.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sear is the one who personifies "hysterical" and "psychotic".

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

ar: "precycling" the word of the year!!

I also liked Mr. Pisasale's comment to the effect that looters should be used as flood height markers.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Minicapt said...

Perhaps barristers, on the basis of personal behaviour, might be classified as 'putative' looters?


11:42 AM  
Blogger Minicapt said...

Oh dear, I said 'personal' when 'professional' might have been more suitable. Or should that be 'unprofessional'?


11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How fast can you pedal backwards.

Reminds one of the Grods Days or PP.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He and his m8s just don't understand how "big business" and "big insurance" work.

So what if a business is insured and will "barely notice the crime"?

Most responsible adults also have home and contents insurance, which means it's okay to steal from them, too?

And when insurance premiums have to go up to cover replacements for all this shit that it's really okay to steal, especially if you feel that you deserve it more than the person who actually paid for it in the first place?

Oh, well then Jezza and m8s will whinge about how evil insurance companies are.

Srsly, they have the real-world financial nous 9-year-olds, this lot!

3:53 PM  

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