Saturday, November 3, 2012

After Hurricane Sandy, Hunting Bow, Baseball Bat, Machete to Ward Off Looters in Rockaways, NY

From NY Daily News (11/2/2012), "Keone Singlehurst, 42, who lives in a bungalow on Beach 87th Street in the Rockaways, says he wouldn't hesitate to use a bow on a looter."

Queens residents arm themselves in the post-storm blackout from looters
Residents feel isolated and some use guns, baseball bats, booby traps — even a bow and arrow — to defend themselves.

When night falls in the Rockaways, the hoods come out.

Ever since Sandy strafed the Queens peninsula and tore up the boardwalk, it’s become an often lawless place where cops are even scarcer than electrical power and food. Locals say they are arming themselves with guns, baseball bats, booby traps — even a bow and arrow — to defend against looters.

Thugs have been masquerading as Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) workers, knocking on doors in the dead of night. But locals say the real workers have been nowhere in sight, causing at least one elected official — who fears a descent into anarchy if help doesn’t arrive soon — to call for the city to investigate the utility.

Further exacerbating desperate conditions, it could take at least a month to repair the the bridge that connects the Rockaways to the city subway system, officials said.

“We booby-trapped our door and keep a baseball bat beside our bed,” said Danielle Harris, 34, rummaging through donated supplies as children rode scooters along half-block chunk of the boardwalk that had marooned into the middle of Beach 91st St.

“We heard gunshots for three nights in a row,” said Harris, who believed they came from the nearby housing projects.

Carly Ruggieri, 27, who lives in water-damaged house on the block, said she barricades her door with a bed frame. “There have been people in power department uniforms knocking on doors and asking if they’re okay, but at midnight.”

And another local surfer said he has knives, a machete and a bow and arrow on the ready. Gunshots and slow-rolling cars have become a common fixture of the night since Hurricane Sandy.

“I would take a looter with a boa. If I felt threatened I would definitely use it,” said Keone Singlehurst, 42. “Its like the Wild West. A borderline lawless situation.”

City Councilman James Sanders (D-Far Rockaway) said he fears the situation will devolve into anarchy.

“We have an explosive mix here,” said Sanders. “People will take matters into their own hands.”

Walter Meyer, 37, lives in Park Slope but often surfs in the Rockaways. He said it’s not the place it was before the storm.

"After sunset everyone locks their doors,” said Meyer, as he loaded up a solar panel from a factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard to bring to local residents. "They're trying to find whatever weapons they can find. Some people are even using bows and arrows."

“If you are heeding into the Rockaway beach to assist, there is a request for firearms, hot food, and cold beer. These next 24 hours are critical for these folks, the government has really let them down,” Meyer posted on Facebook Thursday.

(Full article at the link)

It somewhat reminds me of the citizens of Cairo, Egypt in January, February 2011. With the open confrontation with the Mubarak regime breaking out, residents formed neighborhood watches throughout the city to protect themselves and the neighborhood against looters and thugs.


John Bernhart said...

Just really bothered by how people commonly misuse the word "anarchy" as a synonym for "chaos." The situation described in the story is not anarchy. Anarchy is a situation in which members of a community work together in a non-hierarchical way to meet their needs. Chaos means disorder. When we copy and paste news, we should always be ready to edit the misuse of such words that cause people to fear anarchy instead of understand anarchy. Moreover, I would speculate that it is not even chaos that is happening. The ruling class of the United States has purposefully created a wide wealth gap and refuses to tax itself (the only class with wealth) and refuses to invest in infrastructure. Not to mention, the ruling classes of every nation simply refuse to stop using fossil fuels or dirty nuclear power. They refuse to see the seriousness of global warming. And they refuse to see that their growth economies are not sustainable. So while I really appreciate this blog and read it every day, it still disgusts me to see the blogger unquestioningly quote a misuse of the word anarchy.

NYultrabuddha said...

Glad you found that one, I was about to send you a link.

Still no subway service from this part of relatively unscathed Bklyn. to Manhattan, even though the MTA is bragging about how the subways are 80% back. Ventured out to the supermarket today and passed lines at gas stations 10 blocks long. Police were stationed at every one to keep order, luckily too, because plenty of arguments were breaking out when people tried to cut.

But at least we have a supermarket fully stocked. Not far away it's a different story, speaking of which...where is the Red Cross?

From the Daily News;

“There’s been a lot of folks reaching out to offer help in every way … people have been incredibly generous with their time and other resources,” Red Cross of Greater New York spokesman Bob McGrath told the Daily News.

The Red Cross has been operating shelters, providing food and water and helping with medical response after the storm.

(Really? Where exactly? Haven't seen them on the news. No one I know has seen any.)

On Friday morning, the American Red Cross said it had received $35 million in donations from across the country.

(And how much of that will go to their notoriously fat overhead?)

Concerned neighbors moved by their neighbors plight in especially devastated areas like Staten Island and Breezy Point are encouraged to donate canned goods, blankets, socks, coats, shoes and pet food. But showing up to the hardest hit areas was not advised.

“Don’t just go to a neighborhood that is still being serviced by first responders,” McGrath said. “There’s a lot of work, a lot of need and in some areas that’s still being assessed.”

(Cause the Red Cross is so darn good at this, no one else could possibly perform such a sophisticated logistical task as pulling up to a burned out area and handing out a bunch of blankets and food. Oh wait, they can, even a news van did that - see previous post)

If you want to help out with on the ground work, contact agencies like the Red Cross or New York Cares, the city's largest volunteer organization.

(Luckily for those poor freezing starving souls in need, that directive is being ignored. See below.)

From NY1's political reporter and Rockaway resident, Bob Hardt's NY1 Blog:

"There continues to be mounting frustration from other residents here. The Red Cross is quickly becoming the villain because it has been invisible. It's a bad sign for the world that Occupy Wall Street and a Sikh group from Queens are doing a better job at distributing hot food than the largest international relief group in the world."

(I happen to personally know the Sikh group he is referring to, United Sikhs, and they are doing a wonderful job throughout this disaster in Breezy and other hard hit areas. Thank heavens for them and all the other terrific organizations and individuals working so hard out there to help others)

Meanwhile, for the obscene list of "resources that would not have been diverted" from the city's relief efforts had the marathon been held, see below:

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Geez, now I have to be in the business of editing the editor of a major newspaper? I don't get any break do I.

Scott said...

You take away some basic necessities we take for granted like running water and electricity from society and it becomes a very scary place.

It's sad to see that opportunist mobs and looters are overpowering the regular people that just want to get on with their lives after the hurricane. Hopefully this doesn't escalate further.

Anonymous said...

They (news) dare not say who these looters are.

NYultrabuddha said...

John Bernhart, please see below:

From Mirriam-Webster online:

an·ar·chy noun \ˈa-nər-kē, -ˌnär-\

Definition of ANARCHY

a : absence of government
b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
a : absence or denial of any authority or established order
b : absence of order : disorder

Tell me how what's happening in the Rockaways (and elsewhere around our parts) doesn't satisfy the above definitions, including c since I'm sure for many of the looters this is all a dream come true. And I don't know how you can think it is not chaos.

Thank you to arevamirpal, the New York Daily News, and every other journalist, blogger, facebook poster, etc. who is shining a light on the reality of what is going on here so the people who need it can get help as quickly as possible. You are all doing an important public service. You deserve gratitude, not "disgust".

Anonymous said...

Interesting to contrast this to the Japanese, who, in the wake of a triple punch of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown (x3), got on with the business of their lives without devolving into anarchy.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Japanese resorted to quiet looting. The no-entry zone (20-kilometer radius) around the Fuku-I plant was extensively looted, as there was hardly anyone left after the residents evacuated with only a few things with them. It was not reported until after many months.

Maju said...

If the situation would evolve into Anarchy, i.e. people would get together to organize things collectively, that would just great!

However what is evolving if we are to believe the alarmist tone of the article (they did the same with New Orleans after Katrina: using some instances of looting, mostly in shops, to justify the police state and shoot-to-kill fascist policies).

The Egypt situation was totally different: they were working collectively, something that would be a collectivist miracle in the USA with their ultra-individualist mindset: instead they lock themselves in their holes and watch the door all night long as if they were in a zombie apocalypse... Too much Hollywood, too little community.

Also in Egypt most of the looters were groups sent by the regime to sow chaos, often police themselves. Much of the looting was solved once this was exposed to the media.

In the USA instead it's more likely to be a spontaneous thing caused by the ultra-individualist system and the extreme needs of many social layers specially when compared with the elite. I just read yesterday that the 20% wealthiest New Yorkers earn almost $400,000 yearly, while the 20% poorest is under $10,000. That alone fuels social disaffection and eventually looting and other kinds of crime. The USA is one of the most unequal societies of the World, with levels that are very extreme for the OECD.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Maju, Americans are self-organizing, too, from what I've seen and experienced.

Anonymous said...

One would think large corporations would be falling over themselves to get container loads of perishable goods to ports within range of afflicted areas,the likes of Fyffes and Delmonte could have scored a marketing coup.

Less so other industries,pornography and casino chips are probably less useful in a crisis.

farfromhome said...

The media does NOT want to cover too much of this chaos as it would reflect badly on Obama, their chosen one. Where is the outrage? I thought maybe it was Bush's fault for minute, but wait he hasn't been president for nearly four years. But is has to be someone's fault...

I do not doubt for a minute that it is worse than we are hearing considering where it happened. It is embarrassing as an American!

And the Red Cross - I stopped giving to them years ago! Go with local care organizations or the Salvation Army that truly care about those in need.

Thanks for covering this...along with many other worldly issues, all the while keeping your finger on Japan.

Anonymous said...


much love and respect -- I would not add a single word to what you are saying, complete agreement.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Obama should relocate to Japan, where he is adored for no particular reason. Good match.

Montana Elk Hunts said...

Nice. It's like the Wild West,' terrifying report of Rockaway residents arming with bow and arrow to fend off looters.

Anonymous said...

And... still no current pictures of the power plants. Nobody to trust...

Boss said...

WTF, that would be murder!!

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