Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Good News and Bad News

The good news first:  I adopted a cat this weekend from the local humane society, and there is a cat back in my life again.  I will report more on this in an upcoming posting.  I would like to get past the first vet visit on Thursday before writing more.  I was very surprised when I finally got the new cat home, and all the bad memories of what my previous cat went through were dredged-up.  I'm having a little bit of emotional issues as a result.  I'm sure things will get better.

The bad news is more a reflection on some bad news.  I have been receiving police updates via our neighborhood association, and have had an opportunity to spend more time hearing the news.  More and more I have been hearing of burglaries around the area, and that, too, has dredged-up some emotional baggage from several years ago when my house was burglarized.  The M.O. of said burglars are that they knock on the door, and if nobody answers, they kick-in the door, ransack the home (taking with them whatever they want), and leave behind a sense of being violated and not safe in your own home.  It never seems to end.  Law enforcement calls this a "property crime," but I don't agree.  The crime may be burglary, but this doesn't begin to address the emotional stress that the resident(s) of the home endure.

At what point do people feel entitled to inflict this kind of pain on another person?  I can understand where some folks who have been out of work for a long time may feel a sense of futility where crime appears to be the only option to make a living.  I can't understand how someone in this position can justify harming another person in this way as a means toward that end.  If this truly is the rationale for the increase in so-called "property crimes," then my sympathy toward those who are struggling to find work is starting to diminish.

I often hear the excuse, "Well, the victim will just collect the insurance."  That isn't entirely true.  I don't expect that any want-to-be criminals are reading this, but keep in mind that between deductibles, items that are more expensive than the insurance company feels they should be, and items that are either heirlooms or simply difficult to replace for whatever reason, the insurance doesn't really make one "whole."  It simply helps lessen the financial burden inflicted by the crime, and doesn't do anything to lessen the emotional burden of feeling violated.  It isn't just the stuff that's gone, but the safety and security in one's home along with the memories that went with the stuff that was taken or destroyed.

I don't really care if the home being burglarized is that of someone who earns $100 per year or $100,000 per year - all of us are working hard to get and keep what we have, despite what criminals may think.  To make a prerequisite of living comfortably be a home secured like Fort Knox seems ridiculous.  It seems ridiculous, but lately it may be the only way to provide some guarantee of security in one's home.

I try to remain surprised when I hear about these thefts, but I so often hear about both legal and illegal ways to effectively steal from people that I start to (completely) lose my faith in humanity.  It isn't putting a dollar in the Salvation Army collection pot during the holidays that defines humanity.  Sometimes humanity is recognizing that it is wrong to inflict pain on someone else either because you are in pain or because you somehow feel justified in doing so due to your circumstances or some ill-placed sense of entitlement.  "Peace on Earth - Good will toward man."  This is what this holiday season is really all about.  It doesn't mean you are guaranteed it, it means that you are the one who needs to make it happen.  It doesn't mean that people should give what they have to someone else, or someone should take what they feel is just from someone else.  It means that we recognize that the way we get support from others is by giving support in some way as we're able.  Burglarizing someone's house is a violent, extreme form of greed...and if it is accepted as "typical," then I have to question where humanity is headed...

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