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Douglas Andrews / October 3, 2022

DeSantis Warns Looters While Harris Comforts Them

While VP Harris stressed that “equity” would help decide where hurricane relief funds were allocated, Governor DeSantis advised looters not to risk getting shot.

It’s a rare event indeed when we agree with Chicago’s incompetent leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, but she was spot-on when she declared during the George Floyd riots of 2020 that looting is “straight-up felony criminal conduct.” Same with the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who likewise denounced the “pillaging, robbing, and looting” as “humiliating, embarrassing, and morally wrong.”

Plenty of folks on the Left disagreed with their take, though, including a Chicago-based Black Lives Matter organizer named Ariel Atkins, who seemed to think looting was simply a matter of equity. “I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci’s or a Macy’s or a Nike,” said Atkins, “because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes. That’s a reparation. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.”

Call us skeptical, but we find it hard to believe that those who are naked and starving simply bide their time between riots to do their looting. Instead, we think looting is largely an activity during which envy and opportunity and lawlessness intersect.

We mention all this because looting and equity are back in the news again amid the widespread devastation of Hurricane Ian, whose death toll is still uncertain but at this point may remain below 100. The Florida Medical Examiners Commission issued an update Sunday that counted 58 hurricane-related deaths within the state, which bore the overwhelming brunt of the storm, especially in Lee County on the state’s southwestern coast.

On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum, couldn’t resist the opportunity to politicize the catastrophe: “It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions,” Harris said. “We have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity.”

Over the weekend, Harris chickened out of an opportunity to clarify her remarks, but Christina Pushaw, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s rapid response director, had heard enough. “This is false. [Harris’s] rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified,” said Pushaw. “FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.”

And that’s as it should be. When our elected leaders shamefully suggest that people should feel aggrieved and entitled to certain things because of the color of their skin, it sends a dangerous and destructive message. It might even be said — indeed, we’ll say it — that such rhetoric encourages looting and other lawlessness.

Contrast Harris’s remarks with those of Governor DeSantis, who spoke near Fort Myers on Friday in the blown-away community of Matlacha and mentioned one particular sight he saw in neighboring Punta Gorda a day earlier:

“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘You loot, we shoot,’ said DeSantis. "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.”

“I can tell you,” the governor continued, “in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home. And I would not want to chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state.”

DeSantis is right and Harris is wrong. People have a constitutional right to protect themselves and their property, but no one has a right to preferential treatment based on the color of their skin.

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