On the front cover of The Flint Journal, my home town newspaper, today, there was a headline I don’t think I ever thought I would see. “Woman allegedly pawned library DVDs”. I thought it had to be a misprint of some kind. Have people truly become so stupid that they would do something like this to make a quick buck? I have had my days where I was poor but apparently, I have never been this poor.
I remember when I moved to Dayton, Ohio and Dominick was in college. I was the stay-at-home mom while he worked and went to school. When he got hurt and had to quit school, our money situation was pretty touch and go for awhile. Luckily, we had the skills to change that, but I don’t think it ever crossed my mind to go knock off library.
A few years after his injury I decided to put my money where my mouth has been for a long time and enter college. Due to work and many other factors I decided to go online, like a million other people. I won’t mention the college’s name, as that is another post entirely, but I will say that I plan to go to another school and finish my degree eventually. I majored in criminal justice, forensics, and we often spoke about the desperation of the poor and uneducated criminal.
There were many issues that I disagreed with in discussions that I had with my professors and fellow students. Many of them believed that if you were below the poverty line and uneducated, it should be expected you would be a criminal. It was openly stated and believed that poor people always stay poor and since classes don’t mix it was in the poor person’s mentality to want to make the upper class individual suffer.
I disagreed with this. In fact, I disagreed so much that people thought I was arguing to hear myself speak. In truth, I just didn’t buy the bullshit they were trying to feed me. After all, if crime is based solely on social status, then why are there wealthy murderers out there? Better yet, why would someone like Winona Ryder get caught shop-lifting? I know her career hasn’t been the best lately, but I didn’t realize things were bad enough to consider her the type of person that would steal.
When it comes to Criminal Justice I do not believe in pigeonholing anyone. By picking on one class of people we just ensure that we will have a harder time picking out the really dangerous criminals. Furthermore, I believe it’s a matter of self-pity and personal responsibility and those things have nothing to do with social status.
Look at the crimes of passion. These are events, usually murders, committed by weak men or women who couldn’t live without the person they offed. Look at shoplifting and look closely, because many well-off people do it. It’s done for attention, not survival. Unfortunately, as a society we look to blame the underdog and while we want to convict them we also seek to give them a life they couldn’t have had outside of the prison system.
I mean, after all, in prison these people are getting three square meals, the opportunity to go to school, therapy, cable television, a job, and all the free prison sex they can stand. Sure, in many cases, it’s with the same sex, which might be a switch, but I’ve heard after awhile it’s all good.
However, I digress; my original statement had to do with the DVD bandit. This is a person who stole about 1,700 DVDs from a library in Flint, Michigan. You have to wonder what would make her steal them from a library first off. Secondly, you need to wonder why she would pawn them. You would think having a garage sale would have made her more money because it was the pawn shop that turned her in and they only gave her a buck a movie. In a garage sale she could have made $2 or $3 a pop, for sure.
It was purely an act of desperation or that’s all I can assume at this point. In this economy, many people feel the need to do things they would not have done before. However, it’s a very greedy mindset. It’s easier to be a crook and a beggar rather than working for a living. The problem is that in our society many people believe that certain jobs are beneath them.
I used to go to school with a guy who could barely read and yet felt Taco Bell was a job that was below his standards. I guess my momma raised me differently. If I was able to put food on the table for my baby by flipping burgers and that was the only work I could get, I’d do it. It beats becoming Chucky’s girlfriend in prison because I was looking for a quick fix to my problems.
In the end, the quick fix doesn’t exist. Criminals get caught, bad deeds get punished, and life goes on as it should. Now if only we could shove the humanitarians who believe in equal rights for prisoners in one of those cells, maybe prison would become harsh enough to show the criminals that they aren’t going to want to go back in, even if it’s for their girlfriend/boyfriend who didn’t make parole this time around.