Thursday, September 15, 2011

Journal topic: Crime

If you saw someone commit a crime, what would you do?

On the surface, this seems like an easy question.  A responsible citizen would call the police, right?  Well, that's the first position I took.  People shouldn't break laws.  Period.  But then I thought about it.  Jaywalking is a crime.  Speeding is a crime.  I do these pretty regularly.  There are some things I think are probably against the law that don't actually hurt anyone.  So maybe the better question would be, what kind of crime warrants your involvement?  What kind of crime would prompt you to call the police or intervene in some other way?

So here's my answer to that one.  If someone is committing a crime that violates the rights of other people, then I would intervene.  I would absolutely call the police.  There are no reasons to commit these types of crimes.  I understand in these difficult times that some people will turn to a life of crime to make money or get groceries for their children.  That's crap.  There are enough agencies out there who are dedicated to helping people in need that nobody needs to steal from someone else in order to get food for their children.  There is no reason to injure or kill someone, even if they really ticked you off.  There is no reason to assault or rape someone.  Even if you think they "wanted it."  

I've never understood people who say things like, "it was the only choice I had."  No, it wasn't.  Call the food bank to get free food for your family.  Call Catholic Social Services for help paying your bills.  Call a housing authority for help getting housing, especially if you are homeless.  

Or better yet, avoid getting into these situations at all by getting an education and a job that will allow you to live above the poverty line.  Oh, I understand that sometimes things happen and we lose our jobs and can't find another one right away.  That's what these agencies are for - to help with emergencies that cause you to be unable to meet your obligations.

I don't want to sound judgmental or whatever, especially considering the Judge Anita journal topic earlier.  But after working with nonprofit organizations for more than five years, I know what's out there for people and there is no reason for them to steal copper from other people's phone lines or air conditioning units so they can buy food.  They can get it free from an agency.  But that's not why they are doing it, is it?  Let's be real.  It's for drugs.  And I'm not okay with violating someone's rights to get a fix.  

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