Thursday, November 26, 2015

Things Technology Can't Fix

I had an unfortunate experience today that has left me depressed, and really feeling down on people in general.  I was watching my neighbor's home and feeding their cat while they went away to relatives' for Thanksgiving.  This morning when I went to take care of the cat, I discovered that someone had burglarized their home overnight.  I had the unpleasant job of breaking the news to my neighbor and doing a half-baked job of cleaning up some of the mess so they would have just a bit less to deal with when they got home.  By the way, the police department was nothing but cooperative and professional.

This is the first time in a while that I really just felt like ending my life.  Thankfully, I have a cat and a few people who give a damn.

I've been the victim of a home burglary, and it is not a "victimless crime" or just a "property crime."  It is a violation of the very place we look to for safety and security:  home.  When that place is violated, it rips at the very core of that safety and security.  I have a strong sense of empathy for my neighbor.  I can only imagine how they are going to feel when they come home and see the mess that the burglars left - both of their house, and their lives.

Technology can give us better alarm systems and ways to monitor our homes, but it really can't make us feel safe.  When something like this happens, it affects a whole community.

Years of therapy has told me I need to think of why the person or people who did this did what they did.  It's supposed to be part of the forgiveness/understanding process, and trying to cope with the idea that this wasn't personal.  Perhaps the people were victims of the recent flood and now have no place to live and no money for food.  Maybe they have fallen victim to drug addiction and are having problems finding money to pay criminal enterprises for their next "fix."  It is possible that this person feels that the people in my neighborhood, being somewhat affluent, are the cause for whatever dire straits they are currently experiencing, and they feel entitled to take back what they feel is rightfully their's by force.  Yes, I get that there may be a reason.  But.  The ends do not justify the means.  In spite of their reasons (and I use that word loosely), what they did became personal when they violated someone else's home.  The reason why theft is against the law is because it is a fundamental violation of someone else's rights, regardless of the reason.

I'm really tired of living in a society of entitled people who think they have the right to disrupt other people's lives whenever they fall upon hard times or disagree with someone else or their lifestyle.  Yes, I do understand that things can seem futile and sometimes desperate times can call for desperate measures.  As human beings, though, we are quite resourceful, and there certainly is a better way to handle a crisis without resorting to destroying someone else's life.  Without making a community feel unsafe in their homes.

I suppose we'll all go out and install a security camera system and beef-up our alarm systems.  That seems like a technological stopgap measure to a series of larger, more fundamental, problems.  Some people would say that if we lived in a socialist economic system that it would remove the incentive for people to steal from others.  I disagree.  While that works in theory (and really, only in theory), in reality there will always be someone who is a little "better off" than someone else, and there will always be that entitled prick who thinks they have the right to bring that other person down to their level.  I do believe a contributing factor is that there are too many people (and more on the way) and not enough jobs.  Voluntarily not having more kids for a while would help, but not entirely solve, this problem.  Another contributing factor is the way that we equate success with quantity of things.  This requires a societal shift in thought, and to do so would mean moving toward a more simple lifestyle.  That would result in less consumption of things, and as a result mean that there would be less jobs.  Unfortunately, there is not a single solution to the problems, and even this is an overly simplistic view.

Again, this is a situation that technology just can't fix.

On that note, I will try my best to find a happy place to retreat to for now.  Before I do that, though, I need to console my neighbor, who just called and said they were almost home.

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