Friday, April 30, 2010

Never steal anything small

I watched the notorious Goldman Sachs gang testify to the Congress. I'm always amazed when I see a well groomed, cleancut group like this, knowing they have committed anti-social acts. All they need are pinstripe suits, black shirts, white ties, and tommy guns. A couple of gun molls would complete the picture.

In the past decade or so we've seen some audacious acts committed by business people, Enron, Bernard Madoff, Goldman Sachs. Not of the men who commit these acts would walk into a convenience store and at the point of a gun order the clerk to give them money. Maybe it's the anonymity of their victims that makes it easier. I think if I were a person who stole, I'd find it easier, more soothing to my conscience, to do it long distance rather than up close. That way I wouldn't have to see the terrified looks of my victims.

I'm not letting Congress off the hook. Too many members of this legislative body have used their seats to get money. Has there ever been a congressman or senator who died poor? I don't know, but I don't think so. They bear some responsibility for not passing legislation against the (legal but immoral) acts that allowed the crime to be committed.

I got conflicting messages from my parents about crime. My mom didn't want me to watch crime programs on television, or read books about criminals lest I become one. My dad, who was a businessman, told me, "Never steal anything small." I'm pretty sure he was joking. I hope so, anyway. But even Dad would have been aghast at what modern day criminals can steal. "White collar crime" is a misnomer. Crime is crime. I like the old Woody Guthrie song, "The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd." I don't care for him romanticizing a criminal, but there is a verse in the song that's appropriate:

Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

Here's a version of the song I like, sung by Tracy Clark:

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