Looting will not be tolerated
As the cleanup operation begins in earnest after Hurricane Ian devastated Florida this week, Governor Ron DeSantis has been highly visible and present with his citizens, issuing regular updates to the people of Florida, and ensuring they know that help is available to them.
On September 30, as well as offering words of comfort and encouragement to those who've been impacted, he also had stern words of warning for those who might be tempted to steal from those have suffered so much already.
Looters shouldn't even think about it, unless they want to suffer potentially lethal consequences.
Governor DeSantis was keen to make looters think about what could happen if they stray onto others' property with a view to stealing:
“Don’t even think about looting… I can tell you, in the state of Florida, you may never know what is lurking behind someone’s home. I would not want to chance that given we’re a Second Amendment state.”
"You loot, we shoot"
The governor also made reference to businesses that have been boarded up, with the warning "You loot, we shoot" spray-painted onto it.
Christina Pushaw, the governor's Rapid Response Director has been similarly vocal in warning off potential looters, and reposted images of a sign seen on a lawn in Naples, Florida - one of the areas worst-affected by Hurricane Ian.
Floridians have a legal-right to defend their homes with guns
As a Second Amendment state (as DeSantis put it), Floridians who own guns legally are entitled to defend their property with the appropriate force, using their weapons if necessary.
While permit-less gun ownership (so-called 'Constitutional Carry') is not yet legal in the state in spite of DeSantis having promised to make it law within his time in office, defending ones-own property using force, is a legal right that doesn't just apply in times of crisis following a natural disaster like a hurricane either.
Earlier this year, Sheriff Bob Johnson of Santa Rosa county gave a press-briefing following the capture of a serial criminal, and actively encouraged citizens to take the law into their own hands if confronted by an intruder in their home. In that particular case a homeowner had fired shots after a burglar entered their home.
"We are not going to allow lawlessness"
The main priority for all Floridians right now is of course to restore normality and to repair the damage and loss caused by the hurricane, as much as possible.
It's shameful that some will seek to exploit the situation by stealing from others during the clean-up operation, but Governor DeSantis appears determined to discourage lawlessness as much as possible. As he put it:
"We are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law and order state and this is a law and order community – so do not think you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune.”
Hopefully the instances of looting will be minimal and Florida can get back to normal as soon as possible.
Do you think the Governor is right to implicitly encourage gun owners to take the law into their own hands? Would you use a gun to protect your home and property if you had to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.