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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Saturday, February 22, 2003
The Homeland Security Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Looting

Many citizens have asked if there is anything they can do to help their communities in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction. Their names and addresses are on file and, in any emergency, they can be quickly located and questioned concerning their liberal altruistic tendencies.

Others, more in touch with true American values as embodied by our President, have asked, "How can I profit from the coming apocalypse?" This guide is presented for them by the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with this blog. Readers should be aware that looting may be illegal in some states, but that is no reason to be discouraged. After all, you will only be doing on a small scale what the President and most of his associates have been doing for years.

The Department of Homeland Security is not responsible for crimes committed using this guide. Any such crimes are entirely the responsibility of the reader and, of course, the Clinton administration

Location: Location is the first key for any successful looter. Too close to the explosion, and you will just be another charred victim. Too far away, and there will be no breakdown of law and order to provide looting opportunities. The proper location depends on the size, radioactivity, and center of the explosion, but unfortunately cannot usually be determined in advance.

Shelter: If you are close enough to a nuclear explosion for society to collapse, a good fallout shelter can greatly increase your chance of surviving long enough to successfully loot your friends, neighbors, and local business district.

Disguise: The successful looter should see without being seen. A mask can make you unrecognizable to witnesses and security cameras.

Avoid Distractions: As you go on your looting expeditions, you will see extensive death and destruction around you. Do not be distracted, but focus on your objective of finding and obtaining unguarded valuables.

Take Opportunities: Although you want to avoid excessive distractions, dead or unconscious people on the streets around you can be a source of substantial profit. Remember that after the apocalypse, items such as jewelry or quality watches are likely to retain more value than cash or credit cards, but cash should retain most of its value if the disaster is strictly local. If there are still some police operating in your area, it is helpful to obtain an ambulance and/or appropriate clothing and describe your quick check of each victim as 'triage'.

Entry: When you have chosen a home or business to loot, enter carefully. Look and listen, and move on if there are signs that other looters have already picked it clean.

Avoid Fire: Burning buildings are to be avoided. The dangers are too high, and fire has probably already consumed most valuables.

Move Quickly: Don't be greedy. Looting should be done promptly and efficiently, with no wasted time. The more time you spend looting a location, the greater the chance of something going wrong.

Proper Exits: While it is often necessary to enter a premise you intend to loot through a broken window, leaving by the same route exposes you to broken glass that can usually be avoided, and will be particularly dangerous if you have been stealing bulky items. Most doors are locked from the inside, so after you have finished looting, it is fast, safe, and easy to exit through normal routes.

Hazards: If you smell tear gas or hear gunshots, either from police or your fellow looters, it is best to crawl for a while. Not only will this leave you less exposed to dangers, but you may notice valuable items that other looters have dropped in their haste.

Camouflage: There will probably be numerous victims lying about in the property that you are looting. In an emergency, often the best thing to do is to temporarily become one of them, by playing dead until the crisis has passed. If possible, you should hide your profits in a well concealed location, then get as far away from it as you can before you start playing dead.

Other Hazards: From time to time, you may encounter officious busybodies who attempt to interfere with your activities by notifying the authorities.

In an area where buildings have been heavily damaged by fire, explosion, or even earthquakes, it is often possible to arrange 'accidents' that will get such pests out of your way.

Mutants: After a nuclear attack, you may encounter giant mutant looters, some of whom will probably have unknown super powers. These looters are much stronger than you, so you should stay out of their way whenever possible.

Giant aerosol cans are often a warning sign that giant mutant looters are in the vicinity. It is usually advisable to leave promptly before you encounter the mutants themselves.

Hygiene: Before and after looting expeditions, you should wash your hands thoroughly, especially in the event of chemical or biological attack. Dialing 911 is an excellent way to determine if emergency services in your area have collapsed sufficiently to produce an optimal looting environment.

Success: While proper looting can be demanding and dangerous, the valuable goods obtained make it all worthwhile. After you have stored your new belongings in a safe place and gotten some rest, you'll be eager to try another expedition. Good luck, and happy looting!