Saturday June 22, 2013

Is it just me or does it seem as though we are seeing more and more break-ins, burglaries and crime happening?

It seems like not a day goes by when there’s not a story in the paper alerting us to a crime involving a break-in.

As I’m typing this I’m reading the June 5, 2013 edition of the Rutland Herald. Here are the headlines from the "Latest Updates" section:

"Man sentenced to three to 10 for burglary" - (that’s good news)

"Woman gets deferred sentence for morphine sale"

"ATV stolen from Chittenden home"

"Trailer and tools reported stolen"

"Man charged with assault on officer"

Three out of five of the above crimes have to do with something being stolen. One’s a drug sale and the other is beating up on a cop. I mean, what the hell? Has Vermont now become the place where we steal from each other?

One generation ago this would have been unheard of. The idea that you would steal something from your neighbor (or anyone else for that matter), if it happened at all it was very rare. Maybe it was because back then everyone knew everyone else and that today we are drifting further apart.

Or maybe it’s drugs. This is the standard scapegoat. Or maybe it’s the economy. Times are tough so you have to resort to stealing stuff to survive. Or maybe we can blame it on education; the other handy scapegoat. Those darned expensive schools with their high-paid teachers could be the problem. They aren’t doing enough to help our kids to be better citizens.

All of these things could be factors, but have you ever stopped to think that it might just be your fault? Do you have kids? If so, how did you raise them? Were you there for them or did you turn your back on them when they needed you the most?

Human beings are not born bad, but they sure do have the wherewithal to become bad if the circumstances are right. My wife has been a teacher for 25 years and is about to retire from this profession. She has seen it all. She has witnessed really smart, nice kids born to parents who could seemingly care less about putting in the time, effort and energy into providing the much-needed nurturing all young humans need if they are to turn out OK.

There was a time when the community played a much bigger, and arguably more positive, role in raising our kids. There were fewer people generations ago and people relied more heavily on each other for survival. You were expected to participate and carry your weight in your community. If you were down on your luck then others were prepared to come help you out. If you weren’t willing to make the effort then you very likely would end up in a tough place; living amongst friends who may have given up on you.

That still wouldn’t give you a license to retaliate against the community and your neighbors and for the most part people didn’t. They may have crawled into a bottle and lived a low life away from others; perhaps doing more harm to themselves than to their friends.

Today there appear to be more predators out there. There are people who think nothing of invading the homes and privacy of their neighbors and taking what does not belong to them. Sure, they may be justifying this behavior, because they have to support a drug habit, but that’s just a front. It’s not the real problem. The real problem is deeper and it’s not ever going to be fixed by the state, by teachers, by cops or by anyone other than the parents.

If you don’t think you can give the child that you are thinking of having 100 percent, unqualified love and support from the day he/she arrives until the day he/she can live responsibly on their own, then don’t have kids.

There’s no harm in not having kids. There’s no shame in not having kids. Some people are cut out to be parents and some are not. Just like some people are cut out to work 40 stories in the air walking on skinny metal beams. I’m not about to do that work and I’m glad for those who can.

Look, the planet already has way too many people. We’re over 7 billion and counting. There is no doubt that most, if not all of the problems facing mankind are related to over-population. It’s the one issue that no one ever seems to want to talk about, but talk about it we must if we are to survive.

In the meantime, read the papers. Read the articles every day about another break-in; and another and another. If you’re OK living in fear of someone ripping you off, fine. Ignore what’s happening around you. If you’re not OK with it then what are you waiting for? Maybe today is the day that you decide to do something positive about it. Help those who are thinking of having kids make the right choice.

Bob Stannard is a Banner columnist.