Floridian Governor Ron DeSantis warned would-be rioters in the Sunshine State that they could be shot if they decide to take advantage of Hurricane Idalia to steal other people’s property. At a press conference, the Governor said he had previously seen signs in people’s yards saying, “You Loot, We Shoot,” and reminded potential criminals that people “have the right to defend their property.”
Hurricane Idalia was a powerful category-four storm that hit Florida in the closing days of August. It caused widespread damage as buildings and infrastructure were destroyed, airports were closed, and the region suffered intermittent power cuts. Maximum winds reached 125 mph, and National Hurricane Center director Michael Brennan said he had not seen “a hurricane landfall of this intensity in many, many, many years.”
While reiterating his tough stance on looters may go down well with many Republicans, Governor DeSantis, who is running for the GOP Presidential nomination, was booed at a vigil in Jacksonville by people who believe he promotes a gun culture and, therefore, gun violence.
Critics say DeSantis has made it easier to own guns in Florida and blame him for causing racial strife and division. Mr. DeSantis was clearly not welcomed by some who attended a vigil in memory of three people murdered in a racist attack in Jacksonville on August 26.
Ryan Christopher Palmeter, a 21-year-old white man, shot three black people in a dollar store in the city before ending his own life. A Nazi symbol was emblazoned on his rifle, and he left a “manifesto” explaining his extreme beliefs.
Footage from the vigil showed crowds booing DeSantis, with some people shouting, “Your policies caused this.” The Jacksonville police chief, however, disagreed and told reporters after the shooting that guns don’t harm people, people with guns do.
DeSantis is still running in second place to Donald Trump for the Republican White House nomination, but his support has fallen dramatically since the start of his campaign.