Crooks, Thieves, and Basic Low-Lifes
Tell me I’m not the only one bothered. I know I’m not. I hope I’m not.
One of the first stories I read online this morning was about young people protecting and defending the museums in Egypt.
Defending them against looters. Against fellow Egyptians who would take advantage of a national breakdown in law and order to steal from their country. From their countrymen. From their country’s past.
Steal their country’s future.
I then read the most recent installment of a continuing series in our local paper about metro school systems in trouble because teachers and administrators—teachers and principals—are being investigated for changing test scores on the CRCT, the mandatory state tests for students in grades 1-8.
Students didn’t cheat. The educators did. To make themselves and their schools look better to those who will study the results. (I have no comment on the validity and usefulness of the tests. My shock rests on those who should know better than to cheat, but who so obviously failed that lesson in school—and in life—themselves.)
Then a friend e-mailed about a Web site that allows members to post whole e-books on the site—e-books that the members didn’t write. The site owners allow the posting of property for others to download by people who don’t own the property and who aren’t authorized to offer it to others. They provide a forum for people to give away what isn’t theirs and make the rightful owners of the property prove it is theirs before they make any move to take down the stories.
Then there are those who post YouTube videos of movies and TV shows, content that isn’t theirs. And they know what they post isn’t their property, but they do it anyway. Proudly. Defiantly. With no regard for the rights of others.
A few weeks ago, during an unusually tough snowstorm, looters broke into shops in town, carting off whatever moved them. They figured the owners and employees wouldn’t be there to stop them, that the police would be too busy elsewhere to come after them. And so they took what wasn’t theirs because the law was too distant to get in their way.
They didn’t police themselves. They didn’t act as people who knew right from wrong. They went with impulse, trusting they wouldn’t get caught.
They had no integrity, no ability to do the right thing when no one else was around.
They simply didn’t care that they stole what wasn’t theirs. Destroyed property that someone would have to replace. May have destroyed someone’s livelihood.
If you change test scores, you’re a liar and a defrauder and a cheat.
If you take something that’s not yours, you’re a thief. A self-centered thief.
You’re the bad guy. You’re in the wrong. You are a crook.
And no amount of posturing or posing or swaying other thieves and cheats to your side to bray about your rights will change these simple facts.