OKAY TO STEAL: Basic survival needs for one's self and one's family. Examples:
- Food, unless it is unhealthful junk food. Just because your city is underwater is no excuse to eat Chee-Tos.
- Drink, unless it is alcohol. Just because your family just drowned is no excuse to get drunk.
- Clothing, unless it is 'ghetto'. For God's sake, be tasteful and steal some modest, mid-range threads and not those awful, showy Hilfiger clothes.
- Medicine, unless it is from a children's hospital. That should be left to get ruined by floodwaters, out of respect for the sick children who aren't there.
- Shelter, unless it is in someone else's house. You have a moral duty to sit on your own roof, not the roof of someone who makes more money than you.
IFFY: These things may or may not be okay to steal, depending on your circumstance. If you are in doubt, ask a policeman or a fireman.
- Transportation: you can steal a car if you need it to flee the city, but not if you just want to joyride. Also, you should steal only a very basic automobile, not one with power windows or a DVD player or anything frivolous like that.
- Footwear: you can steal the following things -- hiking boots, waders, slippers, children's shoes or steel-toed work boots. If you steal designer athletic shoes you are no better than Stalin.
- Drugs: it's okay to loot drugs if they are for medicinal purposes or if you are really, really sad or have a learning disorder and need to study while you're waiting for a helicopter to pick you up. You should never, ever take drugs that make you feel good.
- Tools: it is acceptable to loot household goods, tools and other gear from a Target or a Wal-Mart. It is not acceptable to loot them from a small, independently-owned business, because even though they're also insured, they're smaller and thus have more moral fiber.
- Money: stealing money is okay only if you use it to flee the city or buy food, not if you keep it to try and escape poverty. Also, you should be discreet and only steal from cash drawers or abandoned banks, not from morally unimpeachable sources like churches or casinos.
NOT OKAY TO STEAL: Some things are never okay to steal, because they are frivolous, immoral or tacky. Examples:
- Pornography. If you are not imaginative enough to come up with your own masturbation fantasies and not attractive enough to find a sex partner in the floating dormitory on which you will be spending the next two months, you must sublimate your sexual desire into something constructive like prayer or art. (Note: do not loot art supplies.)
- Firearms. Guns are bad and all the people who use them are bad except for the police and the army. If your neighborhood is overrun by gun-toting hoodlums, it is the better path to allow them to shoot you, secure in the knowledge that you will go to heaven, than to steal a gun in order to defend yourself. Also, if you steal a gun from Wal-Mart, it is your fault for being a bad person and not Wal-Mart's for selling guns.
- Electronics. Only low-class Negroes steal electronics. If you cannot afford these things, you simply should not have them, and besides, it's pointless to steal them since there's no power and probably there never will be. It's also true that it's pointless to leave them because they're only going to be destroyed by flooding, but I urge you not to think about that.
- Precious family heirlooms. It is the lowest kind of vulture who would take advantage of a disaster by obliterating someone else's entire history. Whatever you do, do not enter another person's house and steal their precious family heirlooms. My heirlooms include my computer, my CD changer, my musical instruments, my marijuana, and my vast collection of teen Asian lesbian pornography.
- Police gear. Do not steal a policeman's badge, hat, and squad car and then drive around the French Quarter blaring the sirens and yelling "WHOOT! WHOOT! I AM THE MAYOR OF AQUATOWN, OBEY MY COMMANDS!". Sure, it would be funny, but it is wrong.
BTW, lest you think I exaggerate the ludicriously overblown coverage of the looting, herewith this report from correspondent Tom Block:
Just now Bob Woodruff of ABC News caught up with a black male young adult -- who we'd just seen taking all of a single Coke and one pastry out of a convenience store -- and began chiding him. "You think that's okay?" demanded Woodruff, and this is as good a point as any to point out that the looter was literally half of Woodruff's size. The looter looked confusedly at the sagging, baggy little backpack he was carrying and back up at the towering Woodruff, who added sternly, "You're stealing!" The camera cut away to some other example of unspeakable moral bedlam at that point...