Footage circulating far and wide this morning is being reported as showing a large number of individuals purportedly "looting" a merchandise stand for commemorative jackets in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
Many online were quick to call for a name-and-shame of those seen in the video, but one YouTube user who says he was there at the time tried to set the record straight by noting that the jackets were being actively distributed by volunteers in order "to comfort the injured or those who could not go back to the hotel."
"Yes, some people took advantage of it, what can you do," writes Sim Salabim, "but it's not looting what you see."
Indeed, the unhurried, casual pace of the crowd doesn't suggest that they thought the were engaged in an illicit activity. It's certainly possible, we suppose, that a large crowd of people could unanimously elect to browse, at a leisurely pace, a bunch of merchandise and steal it in full view of cameras and in the midst of an overwhelming police presence. But it seems far more likely to us that they were given the impression that the jackets were being made available for free.
None of the jackets — valued at over $100 a piece — have appeared on eBay yet, though several other items of questionable origin such as shirts and even finishers medals have been popping up.
Many of the items are being swiftly removed thanks to eBay's reporting system that allows users to flag a listing for "attempting to profit from human tragedy or suffering."
UPDATE: This article has been revised to clarify our position that it is unlikely that the video depicts looting.