Thievery and worse

This blog is on a new site, under a different name, after problems with the previous website losing a lot of my work. Let’s hope that this one will be better.

I’ve had nearly a week without writing anything. I was beginning to feel withdrawal symptoms, which included dreaming that I was writing something very funny, and sitting in a cafe daydreaming about what I could write about.

What I’ve decided to write about is prompted by two things I was told about today. The first was about a very elderly man, Norman. Norman lives alone in his childhood home. I think that it probably is quite an impressive house to look at from the outside, being quite large. Norman, however, has locked up most of the house, and he lives in a couple of rooms. He is in his nineties, very independent, walks to the shops and post office every day, cooks his own meals, having fish one day, chicken the next, and red meat the third day. He then starts over again. He’s a man of routine, is Norman.

In 2010, he bought himself a very nice car, a Jaguar. He didn’t recognise a lot of the modern features, such as air conditioning, or electronic doors, and he paid extra to have everything he didn’t want taken away. The car sits in his drive most of the time, though once a month he drives it to visit his sister in law, as long as the weather is good.

The other day, he went out to get into his car, only to find that somebody had been into it. He was convinced that he had locked the car, but still, someone had got into it. Their haul? Three fifty-pence pieces that he keeps for car parking fees.

My reaction was anger that someone had so little regard for someone else’s property, that they felt they had the right to steal. It didn’t matter that the owner is a very old man. The fact is that he should be able to leave his car in his drive, and know that it is safe. How dare the thieves take something that someone else owns, has worked for? Norman may have a big house and an expensive car, but he only has them because he worked all his life, and that is not to mention his service in the war, when he flew Lancaster Bombers.

The second thing I heard about, was a young woman, a very talented guitarist, who was murdered, along with her mother, by a homeless man who had asked for ten dollars and had been refused it.

This was a horrendous crime, a terrible end to two lives. As far as I understand it, Camila’s mother was in the habit of helping where she could. Again, it seems the man felt he had a right to their money. Why? Why should he have something that had been earned by someone else?  In this case, they paid the ultimate price for doing what was their right, and saying no.

Over the years I’ve heard lots of stories, of burglaries, car thefts, muggings. All of them because somebody thought he had the right to have someone else’s property. What sort of upbringing did these people have? How many of them had parents who stole to fund their lifestyles? How many of them are the offspring of decent, hard working people who are no doubt horrified by how their children live?

I know that it’s easy to point the finger at people who we perceive to be bad parents. There are families with several decent kids, and one who seemingly had the same upbringing, but has been trouble almost from the start. Perhaps it’s not down to them being inherently dishonest, but often  having a feeling of being the odd one out in the family, or of not having enough attention. Certainly if you end up in a police cell, that will force your parents into giving you attention, even if it’s of the negative sort.

But chip on your shoulder or not, feelings of being left out, of being neglected as a child, or having suffered abuse, nothing gives you the right to abuse others in return, even if it’s stealing £1.50 from someone you think can afford it. And when do the excuses stop? When do you reach the time in your life when you say “OK, I had a rough time as a child, but this is now, and I can’t blame my behaviour now on what happened then.”

I think the time to take responsibility for your own actions should come as soon as you can recognise your feelings of being unfairly or unkindly treated…and that is a long time before you are an adult. If you’re old enough to blame someone else, you are old enough to know when the blame is your own.


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