Feb 11, 2010

On Purse Thieves, Pangs of Conscience, and Sociopathic Thuggery

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A colleague of mine recently had her purse stolen on an area college campus. I cannot imagine the horror of having such an important personal item ripped off. While I normally avoid gendered stereotypes, I think it is fair to say that many women carry much more of their lives in their purses than most men do in wallets.

If my wallet were stolen, the thief would get little cash (I rarely carry more than $5.00) one debit card (useless without a PIN), one HSA medical account debit card (only good on prescriptions and office visits), plus some pieces of identification and junk like my Kroger card and my Red Cross donor info. However, most women I know have veritable home offices in their purses, and losing a purse would be a nightmare.

There should also be a special place in hell for those who victimize fellow human beings in this manner. Now, I am not one to encourage lawlessness, but I have a lot less antipathy for a criminal who robs a bank or defrauds the government, since these are impersonal entities that frankly build such losses into their operational models. But stealing a purse? Egads - that is some serious sociopathy.

I am tempted to ask how a person gets past the guilty conscience associated with an act like purse-snatching, but this of course assumes that the thief has a conscience to begin with. Sure, a drug habit or some other money-hoovering behavior explains the why of thievery, but how does this type of criminal look in the mirror each morning?

My difficulty in understanding such a crime probably lies in the fact that I do not think like a sociopath. While I am occasionally given to moments of self-pride, at no time have I ever deluded myself that I was somehow better than other people, or that I mattered more than the rest of the schmucks out there. Even at my worst moments of selfishness I retained an ulcer-producing awareness that there were better ways to lead a life, ways deeper than wondering about getting the best deals on Enzyte.

To the purse thief who caused my colleague such distress: I am a firm believer in the principle of karma, and no doubt you will one day suffer mightily for your behavior. But for now I will simply say that no life traumas you may have experienced in the past justify the harm you brought to this innocent victim, and I hope that someday you develop what most of us take for granted: a conscience.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lowdown scoundrel needs a beating if you ask me!!! (the mugger not you Mikey)

Middle Aged Woman said...

Personally, I hope the two guys who robbed me at gunpoint develop something other than a conscience. Like an incurable and/or disfiguring disease. Bastards got my Lyle Lovett ticket.

HeatherLynn said...

a guy tried doing this to my little sister when she went to paris, except for my sister held on to her bag and the guy and her got into a tug o' war over her valuables. He eventually let go and ran off, but not before he nearly yanked her arm out of it's socket!

She'd of lost her passport, travelers checks, etc...which would really put a damper on a VACATION!

What goes around, COMES around....and purse snatchers...well, they'll get theirs. Like in the movie Ghost....those bad guys all got what was coming to them! your friend's thief will too.

~hl~

microdot said...

Lyle Lovett Ticket?...these guys oughta get the hives or ricketts, neuritis, neuralgia or even the heartbreak of psoriasis!

I was stabbed in a robbery attempt back in the 80's. I had all the money from a gig and I was parking the truck at 4 am...
I was wearing a heavy jacket so it wasn't too bad, but I learned how loud I could yell!

I hope you both are thankful that it was only replaceable things you lost...

Mad Jack said...

From Anon.: Lowdown scoundrel needs a beating

What makes you think he's never had one? Another beating won't change him - or her. He's survived so far and the success of this theft is its own reward. He's not only gained wealth, he's struck back at the world which has seen fit to hand him the short end of the stick all these years.

He knows that punishment is far from certain or immediate, whereas the reward of his bad behavior is immediate and fairly certain. Even if you caught and punished him, you would only teach him not to steal from you, personally. The stealing will continue until somehow his heart is changed.

Anonymous said...

That had to be a scary situation for your friend. I am glad she is ok.

Mike, what are your thoughts on this piece of horror from Huntsville, Alabama:

http://chronicle.com/article/Biology-Professor-Charged-With/64194/?sid=bn&utm_source=bn&utm_medium=en

- MrsPhoenix