Monday, December 15, 2014
They Shoot Looters, Don't They?
While the general public probably views looting as no worse than a traffic violation, incredibly they are actually debating in the archaeological blogosphere whether execution is an appropriate sanction for disturbing archaeological context for personal gain. To be fair, the author is opposed to it and even has sympathy for subsistence diggers, but the fact that some in the archaeological lobby have supported the ultimate sanction in the past should give everyone pause. The death penalty was imposed selectively in Saddam's Iraq; while those associated with the regime apparently looted with the Dictator's blessing, others without connections forfeited their lives if caught. The same kind of selective prosecution also apparently lives on in today's Iraq, but at least no one is getting executed for looting in areas under government control. And isn't that a good thing?