Scientific American: Disaster Myths

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Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by dogbane » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:09 pm

"Contrary to what we’ve been led to believe, people tend not to panic during disasters, and looting is rarely widespread"
In fact, during disasters, the survivors themselves are the first responders, because they were already there when the disaster happened. The decisions survivors make can and do save their own lives and the lives of the people around them. It can take a while for help from the outside to arrive, but people don’t just sit around waiting. They begin to organize themselves into groups, identify the resources they have, and use those resources to help others. In fact, this spontaneous response is so reliable that research from around the world has found that people are often more likely to be rescued by these emergent, informal groups than they are by official search and rescue teams.
More here: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ob ... ter-myths/

Edit to add: I regret putting that one-line quote as the intro to the OP, because the box quote was my takeaway. I have italicized what I thought were the salient points.
Last edited by dogbane on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by woodsghost » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:31 pm

I find the "people gather rather than panic/scatter" part of this to fit with reality.

The second point, that looting is rare and the perception of looting is more an artifact of racism rather than reality....I take issue with this. I re-watched the video to which the author referred. There were items here and there which would qualify as "survival items" for "a town cut off." I am not convinced from the footage and the items list that it was just a community preparing to survive until rescue. My memory of the many images of looting posted on the internet don't suggest much weight for this claim.

One might look at crime data to determine if looting happens or not. I expect that is a bit of a data issue. For one, unless police are arresting people, then crime reports don't happen, and police are busy rescuing people and dealing with a disaster. Further, one might look for crime reports post-disaster. But are you going to bother to report a missing TV when everyone was gone from the neighborhood for the last 3 weeks? I would not. Also, it might be more advantageous to report a TV destroyed by a storm and get the insurance money rather than fill out a police report and hope they find/recover the TV some day.

Thank you for sharing. I liked some of what the author said, but I'm rather skeptical of other parts.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by flybynight » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:31 am

She has a PHD in Disasterology? Hmm.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by MacWa77ace » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:36 am

Insurance data for claims of looted stock might work. But I bet there would be fraudulent related looting claims, inflating the reality.

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by teotwaki » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:37 pm

Notice how the author whitewashes crime by substituting "taking"or "leaving" for STEALING or deflects by invoking a laughable "moral equavilent" of minimizing theft.

A second incident during Hurricane Florence exemplifies a second issue with the looting myth. In Wilmington, a city described as being “cut off” by floodwaters, a group of people were seen leaving a dollar store with food, water and other supplies. A local news crew arrived and the resulting, jarring footage shows a reporter chasing people down while screaming. The fact that these items might have been needed for survival didn’t seem to occur to anyone. Taking food and water from a dollar store is hardly the moral equivalent of taking TVs or jewelry.

Personally I hope for the best behavior of my family members and neighbors and I prepare for the chance that others in the area may not be on their best behavior. :mrgreen:
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by Stercutus » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:44 pm

Most people are not going to loot. The people that are criminals are going to take advantage of an overstressed system. Criminals are not exactly known for their wisdom and foresight and therefore the expectation that they might prepare for a disaster is somewhat laughable. If they are simply entitled to take whatever food and water they want then there is no incentive to prepare as well.

This is not to say that no one commits crimes during disasters. Certainly, there are confirmed cases of people stealing luxury items at such times, but it is nowhere near the widespread problem the public believes it to be.
The "researcher" is attempting to change the definition of "looting" to "stealing luxury items". Then without evidence posits that "the public" have a particular belief and that belief is incorrect.

The last time the tornadoes blew through here there were a few cases of looting. I should say some were "attempted looting". Gunshots tend to discourage looters.

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/04/ala ... rrest.html

And just because something is not widely reported and on the TV does not mean it didn't happen:

https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/ ... storm.html
According to Assistant Police Chief Bill Wineman, there has been looting from damaged local businesses, so a curfew will be imposed tonight and until the buildings can be secured. The curfew will be in place north of Mountain Street, starting at 7 p.m.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/tornadoes-sto ... d=13474955

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... abama.html

https://www.wvtm13.com/article/possible ... y/10208460
Police said there was some looting at the liquor store, but authorities have since secured the scene.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by woodsghost » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:50 pm

Stercutus wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:44 pm
Police said there was some looting at the liquor store, but authorities have since secured the scene.
I don't think you understand. Those are "survival supplies," and a necessity. A Human Right, if I may be so bold.
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*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by Stercutus » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:59 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:50 pm
Stercutus wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:44 pm
Police said there was some looting at the liquor store, but authorities have since secured the scene.
I don't think you understand. Those are "survival supplies," and a necessity. A Human Right, if I may be so bold.
Good point. Triggering a round of DT's could be life threatening under the right set of circumstances. If you are running daily at a maintenance BAC of .22 then you really are going to need a bottle to make through the day.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by grumpyviking » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:35 am

the "London Riots" proved differently. at least this side of the pond anyway.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by majorhavoc » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:44 am

grumpyviking wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:35 am
the "London Riots" proved differently. at least this side of the pond anyway.
I wasn't aware the London Riots were in response to a disaster. I thought they were due to social, political and racial tensions. If so, we really shouldn't be talking about that incident here on a disaster forum.

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by grumpyviking » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:00 am

majorhavoc wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:44 am
grumpyviking wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:35 am
the "London Riots" proved differently. at least this side of the pond anyway.
I wasn't aware the London Riots were in response to a disaster. I thought they were due to social, political and racial tensions. If so, we really shouldn't be talking about that incident here on a disaster forum.
well they were certainly a disaster for the people who got burnt out of their apartments with only the clothes they stood up in!
same with the Grenfell Tower fire more recently.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by flybynight » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:09 am

If they are just securing needed supplies to insure survival, why do the insides of the stores always look like a worse disaster than the outside ?
As of now I bet you got me wrong

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by grumpyviking » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:21 am

flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:09 am
If they are just securing needed supplies to insure survival, why do the insides of the stores always look like a worse disaster than the outside ?
because its called looting! and they trash everything they dont want, and as in London they set fire to the place on the way out to destroy any evidence of their crime.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by flybynight » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:31 am

grumpyviking wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:21 am
flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:09 am
If they are just securing needed supplies to insure survival, why do the insides of the stores always look like a worse disaster than the outside ?
because its called looting! and they trash everything they dont want, and as in London they set fire to the place on the way out to destroy any evidence of their crime.
Are you sure? They might just be sloppy procrastinating survivalists. Kind of a accident prone non prepared prepper.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by grumpyviking » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:43 am

flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:31 am
grumpyviking wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:21 am
flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:09 am
If they are just securing needed supplies to insure survival, why do the insides of the stores always look like a worse disaster than the outside ?
because its called looting! and they trash everything they dont want, and as in London they set fire to the place on the way out to destroy any evidence of their crime.
Are you sure? They might just be sloppy procrastinating survivalists. Kind of a accident prone non prepared prepper.
nope, you are now offending real survivalists.
that lot were nothing but inner city trash, they were stealing big screen tv's and mobile phones, not food and camping gear.
opportunist thieves nothing more.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by flybynight » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:15 am

grumpyviking wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:43 am
flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:31 am
grumpyviking wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:21 am
flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:09 am
If they are just securing needed supplies to insure survival, why do the insides of the stores always look like a worse disaster than the outside ?
because its called looting! and they trash everything they dont want, and as in London they set fire to the place on the way out to destroy any evidence of their crime.
Are you sure? They might just be sloppy procrastinating survivalists. Kind of a accident prone non prepared prepper.
nope, you are now offending real survivalists.
that lot were nothing but inner city trash, they were stealing big screen tv's and mobile phones, not food and camping gear.
opportunist thieves nothing more.
Don't be so judgemental . I'm sure they needed those big screen tv's to start a fire to keep warm.
As of now I bet you got me wrong

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by grumpyviking » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:48 am

oh your just taking the wee-wee now :lol:
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by teotwaki » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:56 am

flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:15 am
Don't be so judgemental . I'm sure they needed those big screen tv's to start a fire to keep warm.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by grumpyviking » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:42 am

that's straight out of "Terminator".
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by teotwaki » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:39 pm

grumpyviking wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:42 am
that's straight out of "Terminator".
Bingo!!
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by flybynight » Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:52 pm

teotwaki wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:39 pm
grumpyviking wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:42 am
that's straight out of "Terminator".
Bingo!!
Oh , my bad. Since you're from california , I just figured that was your living room . :clownshoes:
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by teotwaki » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:59 pm

flybynight wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:52 pm
Oh , my bad. Since you're from california , I just figured that was your living room . :clownshoes:
Ah, this asshole again :rofl:
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by raptor » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:10 pm

I cannot say I am impressed with the author. The conclusions are often opinion pretending to be fact. The real life examples were in fact looting.

Yes there is a difference between looting potable and booze (luxury items). However it does not alter the fact the acts are both theft. Generally by unprepared people with a lot of advance warning.

The statement that bystanders often aid people is logically understandable...it take a while for 1st responders to arrive...so yes bystanders will offer aid. Not all will, some will panic, some will run away in fear and yet others will help.

BTW some looters will simply vandalize a place.

My $.02.

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by teotwaki » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:05 am

raptor wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:10 pm

BTW some looters will simply vandalize a place.

My $.02.
Yes. They have no shame and often think they are concealing their crime by vandalizing the place. Probably assuming there are no cameras or witnesses.
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