A few days ago, they grabbed a shoplifter in the local supermarket. That made me think, not because of his so-called crime, but it suddenly struck me that many people are driven to crime through the way this society works.
This particular guy is probably a junk-addict and alcoholic, but that doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t have anything. In this town, a fragment of the homeless people hangs out in the small park across from the supermarket. Recently their shelter, which is just a couple of bushes and a rundown shack, has been torn down. In other words, they don’t have anywhere to go.
I believe this guy was desperate, hungry, and half crazed. He tried to run for it, but the shop assistants ran him down without trouble. Then they forced him back inside and, more or less, pulled him apart to get at the things he’d taken. I noticed that some of his clothes was on the floor when they’d finished with him. He said, you can stop now, I haven’t got anything left.
Of course, it’s wrong to shoplift, but something doesn’t add up. We live in an unfair society. This person never had a chance. That much is clear. He has nothing, he may or may not have an education. Maybe he hadn’t much resistance and common sense from the beginning, but he is a victim nonetheless.
It was a hurtful experience. I can’t help thinking that people, who have hit rock bottom, shouldn’t be carted away by the police. They need help. They don’t need to be almost strip-searched by shop assistants.
So many people fall through the safety net these days. No wonder, when one considers that one percent of the world’s inhabitants have a staggering wealth. The middle classes find it increasingly difficult to get by, and there’s a vast majority of luckless people who become misfits or outcasts. The cardboard cities, the rough sleepers, the beggars, alcoholics, mentally disturbed, and the drug addicts, clearly show that something is rotten in the state of . . . you can fill in the appropriate country. This is a problem anywhere in the world.
Charity doesn’t help. It is merely a comfort for those who have too much. Once they’ve given something — and enjoyed the tax-relief — they sit back and tell themselves that they’ve done everything possible to sort out the trouble. It‘s easy to say that people don’t get to this state without reason. It’s easy to say that destitute people are lazy, so why should we worry. We’ve given enough.
I don’t mean to say that there aren’t people does what they can to help. There are people who ‘give’ a lot. The problem is that it’s all wrong. We need a living wage and that’s just the beginning. We live in an unjust society and it’s time to do something.