'Hate crime laws' add an extra layer of punishment for crimes committed against individuals solely because they are members of various religious, ethnic, or racial groups, etc. Maybe it's time to try something similar for crimes committed during a national disaster. Maybe there are some things that even the most humane societies don't have to put up with.
How about tacking another 5 or 10 years onto the sentence of anyone convicted of committing a crime in any place declared to be a disaster area. Think that this is too harsh a penalty, especially for crimes that are merely crimes against 'property?'
If you think that, take another look at those pictures of people refusing to leave the wreckage of their homes after Sandy passed thru, living without electricity, heat, or hot water, because they wanted to protect from looters whatever was left. Take a good look and see if you still feel the same.
Or talk to the business owner who's just lost his or her life's savings and maybe a business that took a lifetime to build. Is there any punishment too great for preying on people in a situation like that? Not everything in life is 'covered by insurance.'
Think the problem is just poor mothers stealing food for their kids? Think again. Very few of the stores vandalized during hurricane Sandy were grocery stores. Much more likely to have been sporting goods, jewelry, or appliance stores. What was that recipe for 'Sneaker Fricassee' or 'Toasted Flat Screen TV a l'Orange?'
A disaster 'hate' law? Maybe an idea whose time has come. The price of living in a civilized society is, or at least ought to be, living like a civilized human being.