Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Crime and Punishment, Sort Of

The strong will prey upon the weak. That is one of life's great truths. The Marquis de Sade talks a lot about how the powerful will do what they want. What he also says, though it gets little play, is how government is the weapon of the weak. Government and its laws are an impediment to the strong running roughshod over the weak. "Do what thou wilt," he might say, but adds "and don't cry about the consequences."

When I returned from walking my dogs this morning, I noticed a lot of broken glass in the neighbor's driveway. A cement planter had been thrown through a car window, but otherwise there seemed to be no damage. The radio was there, not that you can really steal factory radios anymore, and the glove box was closed. This car has been vandalized twice since she has lived here. Once it appears someone scraped the door with a can-opener. After that was fixed there was an attempted puncture through the door. Today, or last night, rather, the window smashed in. Each time the driver's door was the target.

I hate to bother people, but thought it best to let them know, so at 7:30 I am ringing their doorbell to let them know what happened, thinking it would be wise to get the cops there quickly in case there were fingerprints on the planter. When she called her mom to let her know (which would be my last thought), she said something about "I hope 'X' or his brother didn't do this." I am guessing 'X' is a former boyfriend. She comes from a little piss-ant town 30 minutes from here and is in college. She's quite the piece of ass, if I may be so crass, and knowing country boys I can see one obsessing over his loss. I am no detective, but I think he is exactly who needs to be talked to.

Well, the police show up and say it happens all the time. They were obviously going for the handbag. "We could get a crime scene team out here if you want," he said (emphasis mine). Having experience with Fayetteville's finest, I can tell you that within two weeks she will have a letter stating that there are no leads and they will not be pursuing the matter. Have a nice day. This is because as of the time I left, she did not want to name anyone as a possible suspect. I did not want to get into her business (read "drama") but did mention that if she thought she knew who was responsible she should tell the police, otherwise they will do nothing about it.

I am not a huge fan of cops or the law, but they are there for a reason, and protecting you and your property are at the top of my list of their responsibilities. Maybe this ex-boyfriend needs the law breathing down his neck. Maybe smashing a window won't be too much of a hassle, but next time something happens to her, you can bet any moderately bright detective will be knocking on his door. There is another reason to alert the authorities...

In American culture, a car is (despite your own beliefs) an extension of your self. You might not identify yourself with your car, but others will. Cars are extremely personal. The fact that the damage was always done to the driver's door indicates to me that the vandal wanted to be sure the owner saw it. The absent minded driver might not see the passenger door for a while, but you will see the driver's door any time you enter the car. The fact that the methods of vandalism are becoming more violent is clear, and it is violence. By attacking so personal a possession, or a possession you attribute a connection to the owner, you are attacking the owner. The escalation is troublesome, as eventually the car will no longer suit the attacker's purposes, and he will progress to the owner. By stealing the reportedly empty handbag the attacker is feigning theft as the motive, which also adds to the sense of violation felt.

Ladies. Hell, even gentlemen. While I maintain that government is the weapon of the weak, know that weakness is relative. You are not in a position (generally) to exact vengeance by yourself. If there is the potential for further harm coming to you from some disgruntled asshole, you don't owe them anything. I don't wish to be a fear monger, some some fears are rational, and nothing drives one to violence like hurt pride or a broken heart.

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