My main question: Why do people steal? Why do people take away (forcibly or not) things that don’t rightfully belong to them?
Today, I was robbed of $100. This is not the first time that something has been taken away from me. One time was in the airport, when I briefly removed my watch because it was beginning to cause great discomfort to my carpal-tunnel stricken hand. I placed it in my bag. It was gone by the time I had left the airport. I lost another watch given to me on my birthday. I placed it down briefly in a safe place on my desk. It was gone when I returned. Then before today, I had lost a clay Totoro calendar, which I purchased just as the store was about to close in Singapore. I placed it in my check-in bag. When I got home, it was no longer inside. I am quite sure that other things have been stolen from me in the past (paper, bags), but they were fortunately not as valuable as the dollars I lost today. Yes, I was careless with the watches, which is why I have not had more than one watch ever since. But for the other times that I was not careless, something definitely went wrong.
I cannot understand this. Some people are natural kleptomaniacs, no doubt about that, but those who aren’t and seriously get money and items from others because they believe they need it, are just horrible. I know times are hard, but are we not all suffering? Aren’t we all desperate to get some money to live by? I thought about why it has come to this point, even in a first-world country. Why do people steal? Why do they think that when times are hard for them, the best resort is to take away what others have worked hard for?
It boils down to greed. Greed led to the global economic crisis. Greed is what leads to businesses laying off people. Greed is what leads to the imbalance. This is just one side of the coin. The other side is laziness. Laziness is what leads to many of the poor stealing from others, even their fellow poor. Some of these people think that just because we have clothes to wear and seem plump enough, we can afford to lose some cash. Little do they know that the hard-earned cash will be depleted by the end of the month, paying rent, buying food and other necessities.
I realized that some people are driven to hard times, but because of the greed of those who have money, and the laziness of those who don’t, the ones who did their fair share of the work suffer. Spiderman 3 and John Q, for example, remind me that some people need money for healthcare that is just too expensive for anyone, even the rich, to afford. I understand that some people’s poverty leads them to live unhealthy lifestyles, which causes their need for healthcare. But there are those who don’t seem that way, like the one who robbed me and the many others who continue to steal things from people today. I have a friend whose mobile phone was taken from him twice in a span of 2-3 weeks. The first time, it was stolen from him at work. The second time, he was held up. All for a silly mobile phone that he would use to contact his family and talk to his bedridden sister. And no, he was not rich. His family had come into financial problems because of hospital bills, and he was the breadwinner of his family.
I’m sure there are better ways of getting the money and goods that one needs, like getting a job (I met a woman who refused to take on a laundrywoman job to buy medicine for her son’s asthma just because she did not feel like it) or asking help from charities, or selling decent goods and services. Not gambling, not drinking, not selling drugs, not dealing illegal items, not blackmailing, not kidnapping and certainly NOT stealing or robbing. You could even ASK NICELY, go down on your knees, or do what you can to get the money you need. I’ve seen people pledge to work for years in debt, just so that their children have something to eat at home. It’s not the easiest and most convenient way, but it sure is better than threatening another person, traumatizing an innocent passerby and giving them sleepless nights, in fear that you might stalk him or her for more money. The morally right options are easier said than done, but good things do come to those who work hard. It may not come immediately, but it will come.
So to those pitiless beings who believe that it is rightful to steal, I do hope you use the money and goods you get for a genuinely good cause that you did not even bother telling me or your other victims about. I hope it is used to save you from hunger or pay your child’s medicine or make sure your family has a place to stay for the month. God bless you and your soul for being driven to such desperate measures. But if I see you spending the money to buy your chums drinks, or to get the hat you always wanted, or to buy a fabulous new car, or to get some kind of social status, or to buy cigarettes or drugs or what-have-you, I tell you, the money will definitely not be enough to pay for eternity in the fiery pits beyond, or the bad karma that will strike you one day. One day.