As wildfires continue to ravage much of the West Coast, over half a million people have been forced to evacuate their homes in Oregon. Now, in addition to the fears that they could lose their houses and most of their possessions to the blazes, Oregonians have looting to fear. And although they are drawing the ire of their Liberal and Progressive neighbors, Oregonians are arming themselves in defense.
Police in Clackamas County have already arrested 13 people for burglary, criminal trespass and possession of burglary tools, along with an assortment of other charges. The widespread looting and burglary has prompted new signage to spring up throughout Oregon:
“Home and armed. You loot, we shoot.”
“Looters and arsonists will be shot.”
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“Looters will be shot.”
“We won’t call your family. Your body will never be found. Bang Bang!”
In Redmond, a group of 300 fire refugees tried to push through roadblocks Wednesday in an effort to return to their properties amid rumors of looting. Kassidy Kern, a spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service, had to urge displaced residents to respect closures for the safety of themselves and firefighters working in the area.
And yet, there are still those that do not understand why anyone would want to protect their homes using deadly force. One tweet in response to the signs read:
“1. Looters target businesses, not houses. 2. Looting tends to be limited to areas where looters are excluded from or have been attacked in (e.g. racist malls). 3. These people are being irrational and jumping at shadows. 4. Property is a lie. 5. Life has more value than things.”
And yet the reality of the situation is that home robberies are happening at an alarming rate. One couple, Tracy and Marvin Johnson, watched their home be burglarized on their Nest camera.
Complicating matters further, “Criminals are also making bogus 911 calls to divert patrols away from evacuated neighborhoods,” a law enforcement official told Fox News. “Now we are seeing armed homeowners and civilians coming back into evacuated areas and trying to enforce the law in their own hands.”
Residents across the state have reportedly begun setting up their own checkpoints and are said to be illegally stopping “unfamiliar” vehicles at gunpoint.
With emergency resources already stretched thin, these opportunistic criminals are diverting help away from salvaging lives and property.
In Jackson County, police are being forced to conduct “anti-looting” patrols. During these patrols, officers have found stashes of stolen property hidden along roadways.
Of the 13 arrests made thus far, at least 5 of the individuals had outstanding warrants for their arrest.
With so much of the state evacuated, looters are able to make off with truckloads of valuables, as well as vehicles like ATVs.
There will always be some people who don’t believe the lows that others will stoop to, but turning a blind eye to the atrocities happening in Oregon won’t stop them from happening. Oregonians should be focused on safely evacuating instead of staying behind to protect their property from opportunistic thieves. However, as one Twitter user put it:
“I support this completely. If these lawless criminals can bend the law and do what they want, so can everyone else.”