American laws are based on a Judeo-Christian ethic–the Ten Commandments form the basis for our legal standards. They are rather simple–don’t steal, don’t kill, honor your parents, etc. Admittedly they are old standards, but they have served humanity fairly well over the years. However, every now and then someone comes along who thinks they have a better idea. Generally they don’t, but they think they have.
Mr. Mitchell stated:
“I just don’t think they should be prosecuting cases for people who steal from Wal-Mart. I don’t think that. I don’t think that Target, and all them other places – the big boxes that have insurance – they should be using the people that steal from there as justification to start engaging in aggressive police behavior.”
Let’s just stop a minute and take this statement to its logical conclusion. Such as, “I don’t think people who steal from houses in X neighborhood should be prosecuted. The people in those houses have insurance–there is no reason to aggressively pursue the people who steal things there.” Doesn’t that make you feel safe?
The article goes on to explain that there have been cases where shoplifters who fled have been pursued and the shoplifters have been injured by the police. Again, what responsibility does the shoplifter bear for their own injuries sustained while fleeing police?
Theft is theft. It really doesn’t matter what is stolen (other than the jail sentence will be decided based on the value of the item taken). If someone consistently is not prosecuted for shoplifting, what incentive do they have to stop stealing things? Will they graduate to bigger and better things? What about jewelry stores, banks, etc?
When he was mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani instituted what has been known as “Broken Window Theory.” The basic concept of the theory is that if you deal with the minor crimes, the major crimes will decrease. There is a whole lot more to the theory–if you deal with the minor crimes, people will care more about their community, they will be outside more, and the crime rate will go down. If you ignore the minor crimes, the criminals will continue to commit them, and crime will become a standard feature of the community.
I don’t like the idea of police shooting people for any reason, but all of us need to understand that if you don’t obey a police officer, you run the risk of having force used against you. Failing to prosecute shoplifters at Walmart or Target does not move society in a positive direction–it takes us many steps backwards.