Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cautioned potential looters eyeing the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia as an opportunity. The hurricane struck Florida’s Big Bend region with fierce 125 mph winds, causing extensive damage such as fallen trees, power outages, destroyed homes, and flooding.
Belond Thomas, a resident of Florida, vividly described the situation, stating, “All hell broke loose,” as reported by the Associated Press.
In a video shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), DeSantis emphasized the protection of people’s property during this crisis. He vehemently stated that any looting in the aftermath of a natural disaster would not be tolerated. He said it is absolutely absurd to even contemplate such actions following the near Category 4 hurricane that has just ravaged the community. He further warned potential looters that they might face unforeseen consequences.
DeSantis highlighted an important factor: the right of individuals to safeguard their property. He pointed out that this region of Florida is home to many supporters of the Second Amendment, implying that residents are prepared to defend their belongings. DeSantis added that he saw many signs in people’s yards, basically stating that they were going to protect their homes. “It’s here,” DeSantis warned, “You loot, we shoot.”
The Governor underscored the peril that looters might unknowingly encounter. Attempting to burglarize homes could lead to confrontations with well-prepared homeowners who protect their families and possessions. DeSantis made it clear that law enforcement would hold looters accountable, and the consequences could be severe, depending on the circumstances.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody echoed DeSantis’s stance and asserted that enforcing evacuation orders includes preventing looting. She emphasized that Florida upholds law and order and won’t tolerate any looting activities. Moody urged unity and mutual support during emergencies while acknowledging the presence of malicious actors seeking to exploit the situation, either by profiting from essential goods or targeting abandoned properties.
In line with Hurricane Ian’s aftermath lessons, Moody advocated for a strict approach against looters. She encouraged police agencies to prevent looters from returning to the streets once charged, ensuring a strong response to such criminal behavior. The message was clear: Florida is committed to protecting its citizens’ well-being and property during times of crisis.