About 3,000 Chilean military troops now have a tight hold on the center of Chile’s second-largest city, located 70 miles from the epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake that devastated much of central Chile.
But food, water and medical supplies are still slow to arrive in Concepcion. And concern about one of the world’s worst earthquakes in a century quickly shifted to an even greater worry about the mass of fellow residents breaking into shops left and right.
Soon after the earthquake, many of the city’s residents began to pour onto the streets. Eventually, hundreds of poor residents in search of food broke into supermarkets on Sunday. But that soon swelled into mobs ransacking whatever they could get their hands on in the city.
On Sunday evening around 6 p.m., a giant Lider supermarket on the corner of Prat and Maipu streets was targeted. The police at first reluctantly let some looters take away food, but when some started lugging out widescreen television sets, even laundry machines, the police stepped in with tear gas and water cannons.
Does it mean that after they loot for food and necessities, they begin on the luxury items, TVs, sterios, etc. Then, the logical progression is breaking into private homes to rape and pillage. Is that the idea?
The truth is, I suppose if I lived in the suburbs of Concepcion, I'd feel better with a gun. But is this a reason to arm oneself. Even if those looters were to begin going door to door, which is not all that likely, how likely is this to happen to the average American gun owner.
Angelea Villalobos, 41, witnessed the ransacking of the Lider. As she sits amid the rubble of her 1932 home, which splattered into thousands of pieces, a coffee pot simmers over a small fire. She explains that her family has enough food to hold out for two or three more days.
Villalobos says she and her neighbors on Maipu Street remain vigilant 24 hours a day behind makeshift fences set up on each entrance to their street to keep the looters at bay. Last night, she heard bullets.
“Till yesterday, this was a lawless no man’s land,” said Villalobos.
Jose Gonzalez, 46, chief of a gas distribution service in Concepcion, shares a similar view. He and dozens of neighbors coordinate with hand-held radios and wield guns, knives and thick wooden sticks to protect their middle-class Valle Noble community about 10 minutes outside of town.
I'd say it's just about as likely as this.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.