Saturday, January 31, 2009

On Crime and Punishment

My brother's home was burglarized while they were at work on Monday. Jewelry, cameras and a computer taken. Oh yes, and the TV. You can read about it in his words at his blog:

One of the things "taken" was a photograph of one of the thieves, courtesy of the little video cam used to monitor the cats when Ian and Meda are away. It was almost as if the thief was mocking the camera. Although he had one hand across his face, Ian and Meda recognized the culprit. When the photo was posted on two of Ian's blogs, several other people recognized him, too. So did his mother.

Short version: The police picked the kid up either last evening or this morning, he reportedly confessed, supposedly blamed his friend, and his mother is working on getting back as much of the property as she can. This all happened as a community effort -- people talking, people observing, people taking responsibility. People besides Ian and Meda. It's a good example of a benefit of living in a small community where everyone knows everyone. Or knows someone who knows everyone. Where the rest of the community really cares about what happens to you.

The young man in this story clearly had not read the Ray Stevens Rules of Life. Rule #1 probably did not occurred to him until last night. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Ray used that almost as a mantra. He told our own kids. He told our foster kids. He told me. He told anyone he felt needed a reminder. Sometimes he'd grin. More often he was deadly serious. If you cannot accept the consequences of your action, don't do it. It's about the same as the Front Page Rule. If you don't want to see it printed on the front page of the local newspaper, don't do it! Then there's Christianity's version: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Rule #2 got missed, too. Don't burn your friends. Or in the case of the more youthful generations, or your parents' friends. Ian and Meda are not close friends of the kid's family, but they are friends. And they are neighbors. Bad decision on the kid's part.

Perhaps some good can come out of this. Perhaps the young man will begin to understand that there are logical consequences that go along with all behavior. "Good" behavior, behavior that is acceptable to the community, has positive consequences. "Bad" behavior usually has negative consequences. Given enough positive consequences (although I don't see many positive consequences coming from this particular action), perhaps he can focus on good behavior rather than bad.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Look for the good. Give thanks. Keep praying ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments remind me that I am not writing into a vaccuum, or simply for personal therapy. Please comment often!