If you're not there to see it all you see is what the media is sending up as images. No, I cannot explain why the woman cop acted stupid when she was approached by the camera, but they had Walmart permission to take from that store.
Now, I've posted two articles below... yes, there is looting, yes it's bad, but NO the COPS are NOT participating. Two articles, two times its mentioned that the police can take what they want because they have PERMISSION from WALMART.
Read this (pay attention specifically to where I added bold and underline, k?)
New Orleans police ordered to stop saving lives and start saving property
By Patrick Martin
1 September 2005
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New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered nearly the entire active police force in the flood-ravaged city to abandon rescue operations Wednesday night and focus on efforts to halt looting. The decision came in response to mounting pressure from sensationalized media coverage which is increasingly placing emphasis on the property damage done by looters, suggesting that it has become nearly as significant a social problem as the virtual destruction of the city by Hurricane Katrina.
Nagin said that looters "are starting to get closer to heavily populated areas-hotels, hospitals, and we're going to stop it right now." He assigned 1,500 police to anti-looting duty. The Associated Press reported, "The number of officers called off the search-and-rescue mission amounts to virtually the entire police force in New Orleans."
The order came only hours after Nagin warned that the death toll in New Orleans might rise to the "thousands" once the bodies of those trapped in their homes by the flood waters begin to be recovered. Thousands of people have been rescued from rooftops and attics over the past two days, but efforts to save other survivors will be drastically curtailed as a result of the new focus on saving property.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said she would order National Guardsmen redeployed to stop looters as soon as federal emergency personnel were on scene to take over evacuations and rescues. "We will restore law and order," the Democratic governor declared. "What angers me the most is that disasters like this often bring out the worst in people. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior."
The media focus on the looting escalated throughout Wednesday, with the cable television networks, in particular, broadcasting and rebroadcasting the same footage of looters, mainly young black people, emerging from flood-damaged stores, goods in hand.
There is a definite social significance to such coverage, which grossly distorts the reality of the worst natural disaster in American history. It demonstrates that under the profit system, private property counts for far more than human life.
The sensationalized press coverage has an obvious political purpose: to demonize the victims of Hurricane Katrina and whip up the basest sentiments, including racism. In this way, the media helps justify the policy already decided on by the American ruling class and the Bush administration-to carry out only the most perfunctory recovery efforts and leave the vast majority of working class victims of the catastrophe to fend for themselves.
It is noteworthy that only 12 hours before he ordered the police mobilization, Mayor Nagin brusquely rejected a question about looting from Matt Lauer, host of NBC's Today
program, telling him the media was grossly exaggerating the significance of a relative handful of people taking television sets and other electronic goods. The bulk of the "theft," he pointed out, was desperate people taking food, bottled water and clothing to meet their immediate needs.
In a subsequent press interview, Nagin said, "It's really difficult because my opinion of the looting is it started with people running out of food, and you can't really argue with that too much. Then it escalated to this kind of mass chaos where people are taking electronic stuff and all that."
A report in Wednesday's New York Times
confirmed this account, describing the scene at the Super Wal-Mart on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans, where dozens of people were taking goods from the store with the consent of both the store management and local police and firefighters.
The store initially opened its doors to supply food to the rescue workers, but was then invaded by local residents, most of them in search of food and clothing.
One woman, accompanied by her teenage daughter, told the Times, "Ain't nobody stealing anything. They said, 'Take what you need,' because the levee is a-busting. It's about to flood and everything is going to be ruined anyway." A young man told the newspaper, "We need clothes and food. The police are letting everybody go in and get what they need. They're not letting you get TV's and stuff, but the people are overpowering them."
Like all such events, the hurricane disaster has an enormous social component, revealing what American society is made of. Contrary to Governor Blanco, however, the "worst in people" is shown in the lack of preparation by the authorities and their relative indifference to the suffering inflicted on several million people by the high winds, storm surge and flooding.
When it comes to theft, the looting of consumer goods from a few retail stores in impoverished New Orleans can hardly compare with the profiteering already under way on the part of big business. The price-gouging on gasoline sales alone-the retail price has jumped $1 a gallon in some areas-has robbed billions of dollars from working people all over the United States. But no oil company executives or gasoline distributors are being vilified on the media, let alone hunted down by police and National Guardsmen.
Or how about this one...
Police, residents loot New Orleans stores after storm
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Published Wednesday, August 31, 2005
NEW ORLEANS - At first it just seemed that the Wal-Mart in New Orleans' Lower Garden District was doing a very brisk post-hurricane business yesterday: The parking lot was full; people were leaving with brimming baskets; and city police and firefighters were there as if to oversee it all.
But people weren't going through the front door. They were squeezing between boards meant to protect the now-shattered glass from Hurricane Katrina's winds. One man was packing his van so full of computers, televisions and DVD players that he had trouble closing the rear doors. One woman was carrying three jugs of laundry detergent in a city with no power to run a washer.
As in other cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as in so many past disasters elsewhere when crisis and chaos have replaced order and normalcy, an already beleaguered New Orleans was beset by looters.
The widespread plundering started before Katrina had finished its onslaught yesterday. That afternoon, looters broke into an emptied sporting goods warehouse in Mid-City, a grocery store in Treme and a hardware center. In one instance, witnesses said, police were called but did nothing until one man shot another.
People said they'd heard that Wal-Mart had opened its doors to provide supplies for law enforcement agencies sheltering the 10,000-plus people in the Louisiana Superdome. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Sharon Weber, said that law enforcement, emergency management teams and relief agencies have "unwritten permission" to help themselves to whatever they need from Wal-Mart stores in times of crisis but that standard procedure is for the police or aid officials to "leave us a list of what they take, so they can pay us later."
At the Lower Garden District Wal-Mart, among the items seen being loaded into police cars were dozens of T-shirts, DVDs and dog food.
But when law enforcement officials went to get their goods, others - people of all ages and races - followed. "They just came, and no one could stop them," said David Brown, 38, a Port of New Orleans employee.
Brown and a co-worker were filling their vehicle with dozens and dozens of canned goods - stews and chilis and Spaghetti-O's. Brown said the food would be used to feed the port's police and its employees, many of whom, such as him, had worked nonstop since Saturday.
They were only taking essentials, he said, although a copy of Queen Latifah's "Beauty Shop" movie had apparently made that list.
Brown said the work showed no sign of easing up soon.
"It's pretty bad," he said, "They've been calling for body bags all day."
Most streets in New Orleans were empty yesterday except for the hub around the Wal-Mart, in a section of the city that remained dry. People were everywhere; in cars and trucks, pushing goods in carts and baby carriages, dragging full trash cans and laundry baskets. The steady stream of cars caused a traffic jam on the streets near the store - the type of traffic jam last seen here when people tried to evacuate.
"Is everything free?" asked a woman who pulled up in a red car. Hearing "yes," she started to chant, "TV! TV! TV!"
Inside, a teenage boy held up a pair of blue lacy panties and snickered, "I want to see somebody in these so bad," before tossing them in his basket.
Another man used a table to break into one of the last unscathed jewelry cases. A little girl balanced atop a cart filled with cases of beer.
A rumor that the National Guard had arrived sent people running toward the store's exit, shouting, "Come on! Come on!" But no one put down any merchandise, and the Guard rumor turned out to be false.
Some shoppers were oddly selective. One woman said she was taking only facial-care products. Another was pushing a cart filled with silk roses and baby's breath. In the pharmacy aisle, she leaned over the handle, pushing it slowly as she read labels the way a paying customer would.
But the overwhelming feeling was one of chaos - angry shouting, carts ramming, fast grabbing. When a teenage girl passed out face down between the baby clothes and a women's sock display, people pushed past or stepped on her.
Joseph LoCascio, of Picayune, Miss., stopped to try to help the girl. He rolled her over, and she vomited pink liquid all over her face and hair. He then rolled her back. "This is" messed "up," he said. "People just walking around like they don't care. All they're worried about is getting free bulls-- instead of a human life."