Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Disturbing thread on KOB story

KOB TV has run a number of pieces on a college student who stole a pumpkin. One of the latest has a profoundly disturbing comment thread. The folks that get it are outnumbered by the ones who don't; the one's whose kids probably shoplift. If they think all they have to do is pay for it if they get caught, why not shoplift? But only under two bucks.

I went to their site after watching one of the pieces that I thought portrayed the young adult as the victim and the victim as unnecessarily strident. Points were made in defense of that argument; after all

  • she didn't mean to steal it, and
  • it's only two bucks, and
  • other people get away with far worse, and
  • she offered to pay for it when she got caught.
  • and, and, and.
There are only two kinds of stuff in the world; the
stuff that belongs to you and the stuff that doesn't.
If it doesn't belong to you, you can't just take it.

There is only one line on stealing; either you do or you don't.
Every other line is as indefensible as it is completely arbitrary.

If not at one cent, then when does stealing become stealing?
10 cents, ten dollars, ... Wherever the line is set, other than
at zero, it will creep. If its ok to steal a penny one day, it will
be ok to steal two pennies the next. There is no other place to
draw a line other than at zero and, "because I said so".

It is a pity that KOB took down all their previous coverage.
I was going to ask you to take a look at it and determine
whether you thought any children who had watched them
had been corrupted; convinced that there are a lot of good
excuses for taking something that isn't yours.

Eventually, they will take down this link as well. In the mean
time there is a bold record of why an awful lot of kids have
no idea where the line is between between right and wrong.

If we really want children to grow into adults who embrace
character and courage and honor, someone has to show them
what they look like.

Someone has to show them what it looks like to overcome two
dollars worth of temptation. The fact that she was willing to
sell her integrity for "only" two bucks is a far greater outrage
than that she was prosecuted for stealing "only" two bucks.

Someone has to show them what it looks like to step up and
admit having done something wrong and then accept the consequences; it's the whole point in the fable about George Washington and the cherry tree.

Apparently as long ago children first heard that story, they
were unable to point to people who children actually knew and
who could serve as examples of people willing to hold themselves honestly accountability for their conduct.
The best time to influence the character of a child
is 100 years before he is born. W.R. Long
Character counts.

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