Thursday, September 29, 2011

Theft by any other still theft.

Confiscate = theft

Keeping (something that you know belongs to someone else when they have stated a desire to have it back)= theft

Finders Keepers (when you know full well who lost the item)= theft

Holding for you (when you are available so that the item can be returned)= theft

Borrowing (without having asked first and without ever returning the thing!)= theft

People have a lot of fancy words for theft and a lot of justifications for it, and even cops steal, and they get away with it. Some theft is apparently legal. But, it is still theft. In my mind, if you know that something which is in your possession belongs to someone and they want it back or would like it back if they knew you had it, that's stealing, and that's wrong.

The one exception to this is when the item would be intended as an instrument of violence against another person in the near future. Not potentially an instrument of violence (i.e., it is not OK to take my baseball bat, when I have no plans of harming someone with it) but imminently and I have shown intention to use the object in that way.


The item belongs to a child who is either not picking it up or is misusing it and the item is being put on time-out by the parent. Unless that item is terribly dangerous or the child has violent tendencies and the item is such that it could be used in that way, the item should be returned as soon as practically possible. And, there should be some kind of plan for returning the object to its owner from the moment it is taken into custody by the parent. If the item is dangerous, etc, it should be sold and the money given back to the child.

I was thinking yesterday about one of my favorite teachers...the one I had for 8th grade. The man was very nice, but he confiscated my sizable Garbage Pail Kids card collection and my charm necklace...both of which I had spent a LOT of time accumulating, trading up for, etc. Both were collections that meant a lot to me. He said that they were toys, and it was not allowed to bring toys to school, so he took them and he never gave them back. Those charm necklaces are really expensive now, and none of them hold a candle to the quality of the collection that I had amassed. is just stuff......and stuff doesn't matter that much...but that isn't the point. In order to get along with other people on this planet, we need to be able to trust one another, and stealing stuff erodes that trust. Stuff can be replaced, but broken trust is very difficult to repair.

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