Some years ago, during a crime wave like the one we now seem to be experiencing, a bumper sticker appeared that said “Fight Crime Shoot Back.” It expressed the frustration many felt at the time that criminals were mostly getting away with their crimes. That feeling has multiplied recently as some prosecutors go soft on criminals and harder on those who defend themselves and others.
I thought of that bumper sticker when I saw a video of a looter in a California convenience store scraping merchandise off the shelves into a large trash container on wheels.
The looter was confronted by two store employees. He said the men shouldn’t worry because “insurance” would pay for the loss. Instead of letting the looter escape, as so many are allowed to do for fear of lawsuits – let me stop there – law breakers can file lawsuits against law-abiders and win. What does this tell you about how far we have sunk into the moral abyss?
Now to continue. The two employees grabbed the man. One holds him down while the other begins beating him with a large stick.
What lessons can be learned from this incident? First, the man is less likely to be a repeat offender since he has experienced consequences for his actions. Second, other store owners should take note. If looters and other criminals believe they can get away with stealing things, they will. It’s the dark side of human nature. But if they believe they will be confronted and stopped, they might be deterred.
Here’s my suggestion. Every store, especially those in high crime areas, should put a sign in the window that says “looters will be shot.” Staff could be trained to use mace or even big sticks to fight off those who ignore the sign. People put up signs that say “beware of dog,” and “forget the dog: beware of owner." Signs announce some homes are protected by security alarms. The purpose of these is to act as a deterrent.
State legislators should write laws that allow merchants to protect their merchandise and staff without having to experience a kind of double jeopardy – losing their goods and lawsuits from the criminals.
The new mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, isn’t helping. He’s enabling. Mayor Johnson responded to a reporter who referred to recent and continuing violence in the city as “mob actions.” Johnson rebuked the reporter, insisting they be called “large gatherings.” He said labeling them otherwise is “inappropriate.”
The mayor is engaging in euphemism. To make my point, here are some of the more popular euphemisms we use to either hide the truth or soften it: The car isn’t used – it’s certified pre-owned. She isn’t sick – she’s under the weather. He’s not poor – he’s economically disadvantaged. He didn’t break up with her – he needed some space.
Last Saturday’s large “gathering” in New York City followed an announcement by YouTube streamer Kai Cenat that there would be free PlayStations handed out in Union Square. Thousands of unruly teens showed up.
Everything begins in the home with the application of appropriate and loving discipline, especially to boys by their fathers. But what if fathers are no longer around, as is too often the case? Peers then become the major influence on young people who frequently join gangs that wreak havoc in a city.
Putting up signs, training employees to confront looters, passing legislation to protect business owners from lawsuits would be a start.
One more thought: Did we ever think our country would come to a point where we routinely killed each other in the streets of our major cities?