We’ve got a Grinch around Bethlehem, according to Nextdoor.com. A guy driving around stealing boxes from porches, in broad daylight. According to home security cams, he wears a mask (which is more than many Republicans do). The understandable outrage in the comments is at least partially justified. A Covid-ridden populace is reluctant to go into shops, and shipping is easy. You pay for a gift for someone you love and a stranger steals it with impunity. There is anger there. It’s also troubling to me, however, how people react.
One commenter claimed this guy was stealing from working people instead of getting a job. Anger often speaks rashly, I know, but I had to exegete this a bit. Without knowing this masked man, how are we to judge his employment status? I mean people like Donald Trump have made entire careers of cheating other people for their own personal gain. Isn’t this the way of capitalism? And perhaps this man has a job and thieving is simply moonlighting. Or, more seriously, perhaps he had a job that was taken away when the Republican-controlled White House and Senate refused to do anything about the pandemic and can’t even agree on a deal to help working people out? Who’s the real Grinch here? Theft can take many forms, some of them perfectly legal.
This holiday news, of course, makes people paranoid. With many vendors trying to compete with Amazon’s (generally) first-class delivery system, packages are left on porches past bedtime. Even without a Grinch about, that makes me nervous. Just last night an Amazon package listed as “delivered” didn’t show up. I found myself on the customer service chat pouring out my soul to a stranger halfway across the world. Knowing my carefully chosen gift might be stolen to be resold by a faceless thief made for an anxious evening. Amazon assured me it would be replaced if it really wasn’t delivered after all.
So I’d be upset too, if my orders were actually stolen. Some people have medications or other necessities shipped, regardless of holiday seasons. Stealing boxes is wrong. It may not be the only thing wrong, however. Isn’t a system that forces people to desperation inherently wrong? A system that makes getting ahead almost impossible for most people so that a very few can control nearly all the wealth is hardly one that doesn’t involve theft. Those stolen from are rightfully upset. But who is really doing the stealing in the first place?