Mass thefts do not count as "looting"

ABC News’s San Francisco affiliate KGO-SF has aired a segment several times over the past two days with experts saying the latest mass th...


ABC News’s San Francisco affiliate KGO-SF has aired a segment several times over the past two days with experts saying the latest mass theft series in Bay Area retail stores including a Louis Vuitton store Friday, should not be called “looting”.

Thousands – sometimes tens of thousands – of dollars’ worth of goods were stolen from stores, according to media reports, most of which described the mass thefts as “looting.”

“Experts warn of using ‘looting’ in describing Bay Area eruption and seizures,” read the headline. KGO-SF report, which was naturally ridiculed through Twitter.

Personally, I sympathize with this mockery. Some of the arguments put forward by the “experts” at KGO-SF regarding the racial connotations of the word “plunder” are silly.

Looting has a clear dictionary definition, and large-scale smashes and seizures like those that occurred in San Francisco clearly fall under the common definition.

But the report makes a good point: California law States that looting occurs when “an affected county is in a ‘state of emergency’ or ‘local emergency’ resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot or another natural or man-made disaster.

Mass thefts did not take place under any of these circumstances. Under California law, they are not considered looting.

At a press conference, the San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott used the term to describe what happened: “The Louis Vuitton store was broken into and looted. The Burberry at the Westfield Mall has been broken into and looted.

However, the sergeant Christian Camarillo, public information officer for the San Jose Police Department, dismissed the language when responding to a similar incident over the weekend in Lululemon, where $ 40,000 in merchandise was stolen.

“We are talking about two incidents, we are not going to call it looting,” he said. “It’s organized theft. It is what it is.

Martin reynolds, Co-Executive Director of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, told KGO-SF: “It appears to be an organized armed robbery. It doesn’t look like looting. We are thinking of scenarios where the first responders are completely overwhelmed. And people can often be alone.

“People draw their own conclusions if the terminologies you use relate to people’s understanding of how they have been used in the past,” he added.

Lorenzo Boyd, professor of criminal justice and community policing at the University of New Haven, told KGO-SF, “Looting is a term we usually use when people of color or city dwellers do something. We tend not to use this term for other people when they are doing the exact same thing.

Boyd also rejected the idea that the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse could have caused the thefts.

“These types of massive, organized smashes and seizures were happening before Rittenhouse’s situation, because it happens in a cyclical fashion,” Boyd said. “It’s a false equivalence. These are people who are trying to politicize crime.

Aside from claims by experts that the looting should be withdrawn on the grounds of racial prejudice, the backlash against the KGO-SF report is flawed. These are experts citing California law, not seeking to impose the language of activism on journalism, as is too often the case. If one has a problem with the definition of looting established by California law, it should be addressed with California law.

Although the looting, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to steal especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption”, journalism requires that reporting on legal matters use words that conform to legal definitions, even if they may confuse or confuse readers and Twitter.

Watch above, via KGO-SF.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Mass thefts do not count as "looting"
Mass thefts do not count as "looting"
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