Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stark warning on Friday to those who intend to take advantage of the devastation Hurricane Ian has wrought by looting and plundering.
“At the end of the day, we are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law-and-order state, and this is a law-and-order community, so do not think that you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune,” he said during a press conference held near Fort Myers.
To really drive the point home, he described a sign he’d seen while touring an affected community on Thursday, according to Florida Politics.
“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘you loot, we shoot,'” he said.
Similar signs can be seen on Twitter:
— Mrgunsngear (@Mrgunsngear) September 30, 2022
Also speaking at the presser, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno reportedly concurred with DeSantis’ tough warning.
“We are not going to tolerate — and I mean zero tolerance — when we say anyone that thinks they’re going to thrive on the residents of this county or state when we just took a horrific hit, I can guarantee you that is not going to happen,” he said.
During another event later Friday in St. Augustine, the governor “told Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie that the state could provide support in the event of people bringing boats to try to ‘ransack’ homes on islands that have been isolated from the mainland,” according to Florida Politics.
“I can tell you, in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home. I would not want to chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state,” he said.
Florida is also a Stand Your Ground state.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, meanwhile, posted a video of looters being arrested and doubled down on DeSantis’ warning.
“Florida will not tolerate looters taking advantage of #HurricaneIan to prey on vulnerable Floridians. They will be arrested and I have asked state attorneys to seek the longest pretrial detention possible to keep them locked up so they cannot commit new crimes,” she wrote.
Florida will not tolerate looters taking advantage of #HurricaneIan to prey on vulnerable Floridians. They will be arrested and I have asked state attorneys to seek the longest pretrial detention possible to keep them locked up so they cannot commit new crimes. https://t.co/ORw0qJ1TbB
— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) September 30, 2022
Individual counties are also taking matters into their own hands by issuing curfews.
“After a massive storm surge struck Naples well before the storm made landfall, Naples became the first city in Southwest Florida to issue a daytime curfew,” Florida Politics notes.
“Collier County issued a countywide curfew running from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. All nonessential Collier County services, including transit service, remain closed. In Charlotte County, a curfew runs from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.”
The destruction in Fort Myers Beach is extreme, with debris as far as the eye can see. There is a 6 PM curfew in effect for Lee county along with a boil water notice as well. Crews are working hard to get power restored across many communities in SW Florida. pic.twitter.com/iOSt2IKR0x
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) September 30, 2022
Looting is, unfortunately, a common phenomenon after hurricanes and other natural disasters hit. Indeed, there was widespread looting after Hurricane Ida pummeled the coast of Louisiana in the fall of 2021.
One victim, New Orleans beauty shop owner Mike Abdul, got hit three times.
“It’s bad. They were breaking in over and over, during the daytime, too. Taking expensive wigs, human hair, accessories, clothing, all the different glues. … We shouldn’t be going through this. They should have a better way to handle things,” he told local media at the time.
According to Nola.com, “Abdul’s break-ins were among the 118 looting incidents reported by the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office between Aug. 29 and Sept. 3. By Friday, those agencies had made 72 looting arrests in connection to post-storm burglaries, according to the NOPD, and issued 17 warrants.”
#NOPD has deployed anti-looting teams across the city in order to protect our citizens’ property as we continue the recovery process. Looting will NOT be tolerated and encourage everyone to be good neighbors and say something when you see something. pic.twitter.com/ANoBZk4GTv
— New Orleans Police Department (@NOPDNews) August 30, 2021
How did the national media respond to all the looting? By complaining, of course.
“As New Orleans Police Focus on Anti-Looting Measures in the Wake of Hurricane Ida, Some Residents Hear Echoes of Katrina,” a headline from Time magazine read.
Published in early September of 2021, the piece made excuses for the looters, saying in effect that they just needed a “helping hand,” and quoted far-left activists who believed the cops should have been focusing on other things instead of on stopping looters.
“It’s pretty atrocious that [the police are] jumping to protect property,” one activist said.
“If there were enough resources on the streets there wouldn’t be a need for anti-looting teams. They should be focused on other things,” another added.
Expect the same grievance-mongering to be directed at DeSantis as the number of tales of looters being arrested increases in the coming days.
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