The Paradoxical View with Illegal Immigration
by Andrew Tuttle | Eternal Affairs Media
Years ago, a friend’s television set finally died. He was in the poor house at the time so he had little to no means of purchasing a new set.
But he wanted one.
The current crop of televisions proved far superior in every way to his old square box and truth be told, he was glad when it finally sparked out. He could now get a brand new flat screen that brought to life on-screen characters in a way he only dreamed of…or at least saw at other homes.
He quickly realized after a price check he had no way, anytime soon, of replacing his old set with what he wanted. Buying a used one, that in some cases proved better than his old one, at a thrift store was for some reason out of the question.
Well, he discovered a local store provided the best prices and the best service on new televisions sets. After checking it out, he was amazed at the low prices compared to other stores but also learned everyone, it seemed, wanted a television from this particular store. The wait list was a mile long. He could hold-out, he thought. In fact, that might provide him enough time to save the necessary funds and when the call came, he’d be ready to buy.
No, that wasn’t good enough. He wanted one and he wanted it now. I remember our conversation and how he came across. Almost entitled to this television. It was as if, since he was alive and simply wanted a television (located conveniently just down the street, no less) he was owed this TV even at the expense of someone else. Besides, that store owner could afford to hand-over one TV, he actually said. My friend mentioned he’d worked hard his whole life and could never get ahead. It was time he took matters into his own hands! So he came up with a plan. Illegal as it may be.
He told me while he was at the store he noticed the lax security and after talking with others in his circle of influence, indeed that store got ripped off, profusely, because it was easy entry, easy take, easy exit.
I told him it wasn’t a good idea. And regardless of where he was in life, he should acquire the television like everyone else. Get in line and pay for it. He told me he’d think about my advice. I didn’t hear from him for about six months when he called and invited me over to watch a football game. When he opened the door, his smile stretched from ear to ear.
His TV was awesome.
“You finally got it!” I said.
“Oh yeah. Several months ago,” he said.
“See, aren’t you glad you waited,” I said.
“I had to,” he said. “I took me a bit to come up with a plan and the nerve to follow through.”
Huh? As it turns out he stole the TV. Indeed, the security was little to none at this store. The poor owner apparently believed in the “good” of people which everyone it seemed, who wanted a new TV, took advantage of. Though in recent years he had hired a security guard who, it turned out, was just a hopeful deterrent. Evidently, the store owner didn’t want to come across like a man with an iron fist.
Anyway, my friend hopped a worn fence, jimmied a lock open and walked right into the store unbeknownst to the just-for-show security guard who occassionally walked the perimeter. On cue, the guard left his car, walked around the store and returned to his car. He either slept or read a book until the the next hour. My friend watched for several nights, got the routine down and settled on a date.
He couldn’t believe his good fortune. He already knew where to go once inside so he grabbed the TV box and upon realizing how easy it was to fence, picked up a second one and on his way out put a DVD under his arm, took an extra remote control and some batteries, too. There were so many of everything, he said, no one would be the wiser.
My friend went on to tell me the first couple of months after the theft it was nerve racking. He expected the cops waiting when he came home from work. Every time someone came to the door, his heart jumped. Apparently, on the weekends, he hung out with others who stole from the same store. They all assured one another to lay low and before long everything would be OK. They even snickered at the foolishness of the store’s owner.
So, by the time he called me his nerves had settled down and life normalized. A few weeks after I saw him I drove by that television store and a big sign out front said “Going out of Business” and “Bankruptcy Sale.” I shook my head. Gee, I wonder how that happened? Furious, I decided to turn my friend over to the authorities. I called one of those anonymous tip lines and left a message.
Nothing ever came of my phone call as I heard from my “friend” from time to time. He was living large and loving his new TV. He eventually got married and had a kid. But a funny thing happened. He finally got caught.
Turns out, some fuzzy surveillance video landed on an aspiring and very determined young detective’s desk. That, along with my friend’s big mouth, sealed his fate. Cops showed up and hauled him away in handcuffs. He pleaded with them. It’s been three years. I haven’t hurt anyone. What’s the big deal? Why can’t you just leave me alone? His wife and kid, in tears, pleaded too. “Don’t take my daddy away,” his child said.
The cops had him dead to rights. He also wasn’t alone. He was one of many who finally got caught stealing from that particular store. Some had multiple charges and others recent criminals, stealing even from the store as it held its “Bankruptcy Sale.”
In court, my friend asked for leniency. In fact, some groups came to his aid demanding his release. Why his arrest, along with the others, bled the hearts of so many in the nation was peculiar. He was my friend and I thought he deserved jail. He broke the law. Their argument was he didn’t hurt anyone, it had been so long since the theft and he’d been a productive member of society since his crime – well then – the court should just look the other way.
During the trial, Mr. Store Owner testified how he inherited the business from his father who worked himself into an early grave keeping his livelihood afloat. The owner said he was to carry on the his father’s legacy of low prices, quality customer service and a belief in the good of all men. When he learned what was happening he called the cops. Their hands were tied.
Thus, he turned to elected officials who never returned phone calls or emails. When he tried to put a stop to the thefts himself, it was too late. He was in debt and could no longer stay open. All the thefts, he said, led to his demise. He was now living in a small apartment with barely enough money to put food on his table. Ironically, just like my friend when he stole the TV. The creditors were on his back day and night. The thefts killed his business, he said.
He had nothing left.
But no one cared about the store owner. When he would leave court people yelled and threw things at him. Crowds demanded the judge release my friend. He had a family, after all. (So did the store’s owner.) What’s a few electronics and a handful of batteries? Celebrities even weighed in, if you can believe that. It seemed everybody in America was for my friend the thief and against the store owner who worked hard and played by the rules his entire life all to hopefully realize the American dream.
On sentencing day the judge told my friend the store’s popularity was well-known (everyone wanted to shop there apparently) but so were the issues in deterring theft. The judge rebuked my friend telling him the store was so popular people in neighboring states wanted to shop there but no longer could because the store close. He asked my friend what made him so special?
“Simply because you live down the street, you felt permitted to ostensibly pillage,” he said.
Finally, he asked my friend, who as far as I was concerned was showing little to no contrition, if he discovered that his wife had engaged in a three-year affair with another man 10 years after the fact would he forgive and forget. But most of all, would the two live happily ever after? My friend pondered for just a second before saying, “Of course not. But what’s that got to do with my case?”
The judge sadly lowered his head.
“Unfortunately you’re never going to get it. But public pressure forces me to wipe the slate clean and let you free.”
The Judge looked at Mr. Store Owner and mouthed, “I’m sorry.”