[T]hose with guns and the force of law behind them, are too often more concerned for property than human life. In an emergency, people can, and do, die from those priorities. …
Two things go on in disasters. The great majority of what happens you could call emergency requisitioning. Someone who could be you, someone in the kind of desperate circumstances I outlined above, takes necessary supplies to sustain human life in the absence of any alternative.
Rebecca Solnit in her Guernica essay Covering Haiti: When the Media Is the Disaster.