Most Americans are acutely aware of potential consquences below, and this is one reason for the desire to own effective firearms.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, looting, violence and other criminal activity became serious problems. With most of the attention of the authorities focused on rescue efforts, public security in New Orleans degraded quickly. By August 30, looting had spread throughout the city, often in broad daylight and in the presence of police officers.
"The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked," City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. "We're using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops."
Incapacitated by the breakdown of transportation and communication, as well as overwhelmed numerically, police officers could do little to stop crime, and shopkeepers who remained behind were left to defend their property alone.
Looters included gangs of gunmen, and gunfire was heard in parts of the city. Along with violent, armed robbery of non-essential valuable goods, many incidents were of residents simply taking food, water, and other commodities from unstaffed grocery stores.
There were also reports of some police officers looting. Significant looting continued in areas of the city with few, if any permanent residents, such as the Lakeview, Gentilly, and the Midcity regions.
"Sniper fire" was also reported throughout the city, targeted at rescue helicopters, relief workers, and police officers.
Looting and "mayhem" was also hampering efforts to evacuate the Tulane Medical Center, as well. "If we do not have the federal presence in New Orleans tonight at dark, it will no longer be safe to be there, hospital or no hospital," Acadian Ambulance Services C.E.O. Richard Zuschlag told CNN on August 31. Several news sources reported instances of fighting, drug use, theft, rape, and murder in the Superdome and other refuge centers.