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OPINION | Barry Richard: Florida Looters Should Be Prosecuted to the Max

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There is little that is more despicable than people who will take advantage of a crisis in order to benefit themselves. Such was the case this week when dozens of people used the cover of Hurricane Irma to loot stores and homes in Florida.

The video images of more than a dozen people gleefully raiding a shoe store of its high priced sneakers should make everyone angry. It is understandable when people take things such as water or baby formula or food supplies if their families are in need during a crisis. But, these looters were lifting expensive sneakers. By the armload. They appeared to be loading their booty into some fairly nice vehicles indicating they may not have been destitute enough to justify looting for footwear. So, why would they?

Some, like independent journalist Sarah Jaffe suggest that cracking down on looters is “white supremacy.” That assumes obviously that all of the looters were black or brown. That in and of itself is troubling. Jaffe tweeted the following in response to a police tweet that attempted to discourage looting;

“good morning, the carceral state exists to protect private property and is inseparable from white supremacy 

Jaffe and others apparently believe that looting by minorities is justifiable and to question it is racist. That kind of logic is mind-numbing. No one has a right to loot. Period.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is promising to show no mercy to the looters. Florida law allows authorities to come down particularly hard on those who loot during a crisis.  Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister tells the FOX Business Network he intends to prosecute to the fullest;

“There’s no tolerance for looters. There’s nothing that I think I despise more than people who want to victimize people who are already victims and we won’t tolerate it.”

Perhaps the only thing more despicable than these looters were the people who left their animals outside in cages or fenced off areas while they fled to higher ground. They too should be prosecuted to the fullest.

Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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