Monthly Archives: December 2009

Justifiable theft?

I read this article a couple days ago after seeing it posted on the Drudge Report.

I’ll start off by saying that not too long ago, had I read this article, I would have been incensed. But when I read this article, my first reaction was “hmmm”.

Hmm because I obviously don’t blindly accept those in Pastoral positions giving the all clear for people to steal, but as I continued on reading the article, I understood exactly what he was talking about.

There is blatant theft going on at the government/financial level in the United States, as well as in other nations all over the world. This theft that was secretly enriching those powerful elite, who then SHOULD have gone bankrupt because of their poor decisions and the poor decisions of government, but didn’t, because the government decided that they would continue down the path of rewarding incompetence and destroying those who have little to no power outside of their “vote” once every couple of years.

But even without these things occurring, I believe that the Pastor is on to something.

Serious poverty leads to serious moral failures. Things that you wouldn’t otherwise participate in become your only options, some of those with consequences that lead to more poverty, more desperation, and death. Prostitution, selling drugs, joining gangs, etc are often times not what people WANT to do, but what they feel like they must do. Shoplifting is one of those things, but lets be honest, that is the least destructive to a human being. And being guided not to do so without abandon, but to take only what you need to survive and only in a situation where you have needs that you cannot meet otherwise, and to do so not from a small company that can barely survive but from a large corporate company who budgets theft, and writes off the losses on their taxes, it seems that the least immoral (and most just resolution of unjust situations) is clear.

So I agree with the Pastor. If you are unable to meet basic needs due to circumstances beyond your control, disciplined theft from large corporate stores of just what you need and nothing more, seems to me to be the right decision.


Untitled Song

This is not finished, but I got inspired at work the other day, and jotted this down

Paint in broad brush strokes

Right across the face of folks

Who look a little different than I do.

Black or white or gay or straight

Or poor or rich, whatever they

Fit neatly in the box that I’ve created

But life is not just right or wrong

Or yes or no but maybe.

So maybe I’ve had it all wrong

All along

The murderer, the common thief

They look a whole lot more like me

Than I ever realized

When I look with different eyes

Paint in broad brush strokes

Right across the face of folks

Cause facing all my prejudice is hard

Its easier to judge and pass

Them by with my self righteousness

Dripping from my lips; there’s something wrong with this


I know what I believe, yet I so often don’t act on it.

Last night, some friends came by. Folks that took care of our animals while we were gone.

Our friends are poor. Poorer than you’d like to think working people can be in the United States of America. They can barely afford 350 a month rent for a place with no heat (we gave them space heaters) and no protection from the elements. They live in an upstairs apartment that does have a door that locks, on their porch. It’s a covered porch, but its screened in. The doorway into their home has no door, so when its hot, its hot. When its cold, its cold. My friend Jim (not his real name) puts up plastic during the winter to try and keep the cold out.

A couple of months ago, there was a double homicide in the apartments below them. They awoke to gunfire from directly below them, and jumped in the tub cause as Jim likes to say, “bullets don’t got eyes.”

Jim paints houses, and mows lawns, and does pretty much any kind of work you could ask him to do. He’s nearly 50… has 5 kids, some grandkids, but he doesn’t see them as often as he’d like. They don’t come around as often as they used to. I’m not sure why, but I imagine I know.

Jim and Penelope have a hard life. But they are generally happy. We let them stay at our place while we were out of town for Thanksgiving. Well. Let isn’t really the right word. We asked them to take care of the animals while we were gone, and Penelope invited herself to stay at our place. Not very courteous, and kinda annoying. But that’s how she can be sometimes.

And we got back. The animals were well fed, and apparently had a fun time over the weekend. But dishes were left unrinsed, caked with crystallized sugar in some cases. I had a bottle of vodka and a bottle of gin that I bought to make drinks. They were emptied. The refrigerator had nasty handprints all over it, as did the microwave. We had a pound of sugar, that was used in 4 days. We had to throw out a bunch of food, because it was opened and not sealed (cheeses don’t do well in open air).

And I was mad. And Carrie was mad. We kinda still are mad I guess. None of this was done maliciously. I know that for sure. Its either ignorance, or a lack of respect. I’m a lazy son of a gun, so I know all about not putting stuff away or cleaning things properly. But I would never ever leave someone’s house the way mine was left.

But I can’t help feeling as though I shouldn’t be angry about this. One thing I’ve learned from living in our neighborhood is that the social norms that I learned growing up in middle to upper middle class white suburbia aren’t the social norms for the majority of the people in this country. So I don’t think anger is the right thing to feel. Maybe I should still talk to them about it, but at the same time, I don’t know if I’ll come off as condescending… Mr. Hoity Toity white guy telling folks how to keep stuff clean.

I’d appreciate any advice.