There's an idea called The Broken Windows Theory. It's not about Microsoft.
"First expressed by political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist George Kelling in an article for The Atlantic Monthly in 1982, the theory holds that if someone breaks a window in a building and it is not quickly repaired, others will be emboldened to break more windows. Eventually, the broken windows create a sense of disorder that attracts criminals, who thrive in conditions of public apathy and neglect."
I think there's some truth to the theory, and I'm guessing that's part of what went wrong in New Orleans. Police let the looting go on, and the looters became emboldened.
Glenn Reynolds writes:
"When I was on Grand Cayman last month, several people told me that looting became a problem after Hurricane Ivan, but quickly stopped when the police shot several looters. That's because looters usually value life over property too. As I've said before, I don't think that people helping themselves to emergency supplies are to be blamed, but that's not what we're talking about here. Those who don't get this are either sadly uninformed or deliberately obtuse."
The descent into chaos that we are witnessing will be argued about for a long time.
The fingerpointing has just begun
And may never be done,
But I suspect it's best not to wait:
Stop looters before it's too late.