Nation: Should Looters Be Shot?

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Life v. Property. New York's Mayor John Lindsay summed up the sentiment of most leaders and lawmen throughout the nation: "Protection of life, particularly innocent life, is more important than protecting property. We are not going to turn disorder into chaos through the unprincipled use of armed force; we are not going to shoot children." That drew down on Lindsay the collective wrath of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant merchants—both black and white—who charge that the mayor has been "soft" on rioters and insensitive to their pleas for city aid in repairing looted and burned-out businesses.

Upset by the furor, Chicago's Daley later tried to ameliorate the psychological impact of his kill-and-maim statement. "There wasn't any shoot-to-kill order," he said lamely. "That was a fabrication." In fact, Daley's tough new order still stood. Whether the "deadly force" he intends to apply in future rioting will serve as a goad or a preventive may well be tested in the summer ahead.

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