Categorized | Opinion

Legal Looting?

By David PeelDavid Peel

In the midst of the government shut down, something even more troubling occurred at a few Walmarts in Louisiana: legalized looting.
When one says, “looting,” most picture youths with television sets under each arm in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That was overlooked, many cases, by the overwhelmed New Orleans police force.
However, in this Louisiana looting event that occurred on Saturday, October 12, 2013, the police simply kept order as shoppers simply gathered as much as they could carry—for FREE!
Of course, nothing is free. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards are government food stamps cards with a set limit to spend. However, due to a computer glitch, the limits disappeared for a few hours. The result? Legalized looting. Some piled their carts high, until the announcement that the problem was corrected. Then carts, overflowing with coveted items, were cast off and abandoned throughout the store, as those disappointed they did not steal fast enough, left the store.
Was it looting and thus stealing? Of course, it was.  The issue is the justification we, as sinners, we go through to justify violating, in this case, at least the 8th, 9th and 10th Commandments. Coveting leads to lying and then to stealing.
These losses must be absorbed, either by the federal government itself, or even possibly by Wal-Mart who realized the error quickly, but did nothing to stop it. Do these folks not realize that the “government” is all of us? Are they ever taught there is no free lunch? Do they acknowledge that every loss must be paid for by someone, somewhere?
I have had this experience in a small scale myself, and I suspect you have, too. Have you ever had a vending machine that gave you drinks for free? I had that happen when I was young, and I know at whatever age I was, I took more than one with the “justification” that I had put money in before, and it had shorted me a drink. So, while that is not equivalent to taking say, $700 worth of groceries (a felony), the human nature aspect is the same.
No doubt, these opportunists were thinking that “Wal-Mart is a big, rich company and they can afford it.” Which, while true, has no bearing on their actions’ morality. Today, many are justifying the EBT cardholders’ actions, saying, “They just wanted food!”
What if we have a real shutdown and the government defaults such that the 47 million EBT cards stop working for a week or two? This was a two hour-long glitch and it left two Wal-Marts in shambles even with police presence.  What will “illegal looting” look like? We have all been warned.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.

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