Disgusted and furious with the lawlessness of looters who have put fear into citizens, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared Martial Law in the city and directed the city's 1,500 person police force to do "whatever it takes" to regain control of the city.Opportunistic thugs are obviously taking advantage of the lack of police protection. As I recall, the situation in Somalia back in the early 1990s was similar. In that case, efforts to provide relief were negated by gangs of armed thugs directed by warlords. All that appears to be missing in New Orleans are the warlords.
Nagin said that Martial Law means that officers don't have to worry about civil rights and Miranda rights in stopping the looters.
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Officials tried to balance security needs with saving lives.
"We're multitasking right now," said New Orleans Police Capt. Marlon Defillo. "Rescue, recovery, stabilization of looting, we're trying to feed the hungry." New Orleans' homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, said looters were breaking into stores all over town and stealing guns. He said there are gangs of armed men moving around the city. At one point, officers stranded on the roof of a hotel were fired at by criminals on the street.
The Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart had been cleaned out by looters.
Authorities said an officer was shot in the head and a looter was wounded in a shootout.