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I phrase the question like that because in some situations, the question of whether to loot food and water is as critical as the question, “To be or not to be?” But regardless of the situation, you still have to ask yourself if it is morally acceptable.

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Looters Taking Food We’ve all seen the videos of looters after hurricane Katrina, people running out of stores with stereos and televisions. This is clearly theft. They were taking things they didn’t need because they knew they could get away with it. But what if those people were running out of stores with water and loaves of bread? It’s still theft. After all, they probably weren’t that hungry only one day after the hurricane hit, they could have waited a little bit longer for relief, and they probably should have evacuated or prepared themselves better in the first place.

But the more you think about it, the more you get into morally gray areas. Let’s say it’s been several days and there have been no supplies from FEMA or anyone else. What if some of these looters have children who are starving? Is it still wrong for them to steal bread and water? Perhaps. If the shop owner is there trying to defend his supplies and people take it by force, then it’s clearly wrong. Now what if the store is abandoned and there is some leftover food in the back? Is it still wrong?

I’m not going to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong in these types of situations. I believe it’s up to everyone to examine themselves and their personal convictions and decide where to draw the line. But I bring it up because I think it’s worth thinking about. Of course, it’s better to stock up ahead of time so there’s no need to loot when the SHTF, but that brings up another concern.

What if you’re the one with the food and water and people are trying to loot your store or your home? Personally, I think some guns and a large banner that says “Looters will be shot” would help. I’ve also seen big signs with a picture of a gun and the words, “We don’t dial 911.”

But even with these deterrents, if people know you have food and they’re hungry enough, they’re going to come for it. People who normally have scruples about looting will usually do it anyway after 3 days without food. After a week, many of them will kill for food. This is why you shouldn’t tell anyone that you’re stocking up on food. And I mean anyone except for trustworthy family members.

So what do you think? Where is the line between right and wrong when it comes to looting? How far should one go when defending his or her own supplies? Think about it these things now so you won’t be frozen in a moral dilemma when the time comes. And feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section below.

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  • Solidsnake1

    Great info  good site

  • Naturopathyworks

    Should we really follow you on Facebook or twitter if we don’t wan’t anyone to know we have food? Plus I’m LDS so people will assume I have LOTS of food. Some survival sites recommend the LDS Preparedness book since it’s free and good, so even more people will think I have food and am generous. Great site though. Especially since FerFAL convinced be the country is usually no longer safe in economic collaspes.

  • Anonymous

    Just because you follow me on FB or Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you have food, or that greedy hungry people would even notice you’re following me. However, you do make an interesting point. It’s your call. BTW, yes, Ferfal is awesome! The Modern Survival Manual is my favorite survival book.

  • Dmd07301981

    As to the moral question of looting, I do believe the owner of the food (supplies, etc.) has the moral right to decide to what extent they will go to protect those supplies. If the argument for looting is that the looter’s children are starving, wouldn’t then the converse argument be that the original owner’s children (family members, self, etc.) might also starve due to the loss of said supplies?

    Anyone considering whether or not to loot should first ask themselves “Would they be willing to kill or die for the items which they are about to loot?” It may in fact come down to that!