I Fought the Law, and the Law Won, but the Law was Wasting its Time

I am a delinquent.

Yes, it’s true, I have broken the law. Several times. I have participated in underage drinking…um….vandalized a school bus seat when I was in the sixth grade…let’s see…I smoked cigarettes on and off for three months when I was sixteen…oh! And I have some overdue library books.
Out of all of those, right now I’m thinking that the one that I might have to worry about the most is the theft of library books. Because I have never been “punished” for drinking or smoking, and I was only suspended from the bus for three days for the vandalism incident (whatever, it’s not like those buses are in great condition anyway, what was the harm in a little permanent marker?).
But not returning library books? That can get you arrested.

At least, it can get you arrested in Iowa, possibly because there is nothing else to do in Iowa.

A woman in Iowa (obviously) was arrested for “stealing” a library book (obviously). The book is valued at $13.95, but she had to pay $250 to get out of jail. It’s not as though the arrest was entirely random; she checked the book out in April, was contacted repeatedly by mail and phone, and a police officer visited her home last September. All to no avail. This terrible criminal insisted on continuing with her evil ways, and clearly she got what she deserved.
Don’t worry, though, because this was only a fifth degree theft charge. See?

The theft of property not exceeding two hundred dollars in value is theft in the fifth degree. Theft in the fifth degree is a simple misdemeanor.

Yeah. That’s straight from Iowa law.

Let’s be serious for a moment. What aggravates me about this entirely idiotic course of action is how serious the theft of a library book was taken.
In my opinion, America does not deal with most of its criminals nearly harshly enough. I’ve heard of countries that take away your license after your first D.U.I., which seems entirely reasonable to me. And I’m pretty sure most other prisons don’t allow their inmates access to cable TV, pornography, and the Internet.
God forbid, however, that a woman who fails to return a library book go unpunished.

Is it just me, or is this a serious waste of taxpayers’ dollars?

Okay, I don’t have a problem with them sending the woman to jail. She wasted the time and resources of the library workers as well as the police. She could have simply paid the late fees/paid for a new book. Not that hard. She may have deprived other library patrons of the book. Clearly, this was theft. So I don’t mind that part. Except I still have library books that were due…oh….at least seven years ago.
My problem is that while police should be cracking down on people with slightly more pressing criminal issues, the only area I’ve seen a crackdown in is in library matters.

What have we learned?
Absolutely nothing, apparently.


In Georgia, the statute of limitations for simple misdemeanors is two years. So I’m a thief, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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History in the Making

I have never before seen an inauguration, nor have I ever had any wish to. Politics, until this past year, simply failed to capture my interest. I knew I didn’t like Al Gore, but I didn’t know why; I knew that I did like Bill Clinton, but I didn’t know why.

I didn’t vote for Obama – excuse me, President Obama -, and looking back, I still would not have: I do not entirely trust the man. Part of it was reading about Obama snubbing Hilary – an issue that is still in debate (intentional or not?). It made me afraid that he had a bit of a temper. And Googling this issue did little to ease my mind (although, really, can I trust Google?).
Then there are the people with whom he has kept company. That isn’t a huge problem to me. Some people can befriend troublesome or controversial figures without actually being trouble themselves. Some people can’t. I don’t know what type of man President Obama is.
And finally – and this may be a little unfair – I don’t trust Chicago. Chicago has always had a hand in dirty politics, and it seems incredible to think that this man who was completely immersed in the dirty world of Chicago politics would be able to make a clean exit. Of course, this remains to be seen, and we must accept that all politicians are almost certainly somewhat crooked.

In spite of my trepidations, I was pleased for President Obama today. I clapped for him, I cheered for him, and I listened to him until I had to leave for class (I was tempted to skip class, but it’s the second week, so no). I thought it was adorable that he stumbled over his oath, because I think that shows he is not just a leader of this great country, but that he is also human.
I imagine his wife is just as proud as he is. Perhaps prouder.

I know some people who refused to watch the inauguration, which I can hardly imagine. In spite of one’s feelings towards President Obama, today was truly history in the making, a day for America and Americans to be proud of, to remember, to celebrate.

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I Shot the Babysitter, but I did not Shoot the Bank Teller

I have a couple thoughts on my mind, which either means this is going to be a long post or I’m going to have two posts.
Or, let’s face it, I’ll just not write about both things. Obviously I’m lazy; if I wasn’t, then I would have updated this lovely blog while on Christmas break. Although I’m technically still on break for two more days, so I don’t feel too lazy.

Anyway, a few days ago I read about a 4-year-old who shot his babysitter with a shotgun after the babysitter (accidentally) stepped on the child’s foot.
Guess what? The child hasn’t been charged.
This story made me somewhat uneasy, not in the least because it reminded me of a recent Bones episode. Really, though, what troubled me was the fact that a child – no, a baby – could find a shotgun and operate it. Amazingly, the kid – who apparently shall remain unnamed – even told people that he was mad at Nathan (the babysitter) and was going to get a gun. People thought he meant a toy gun. Because how many 4-year-old kids do you know who would get a shotgun and shoot their 18-year-old babysitter?
My sister once locked a babysitter out of the house. That babysitter should feel blessed.
There are so many things wrong with the story. The kid’s anger problems – where did he learn to handle his problems with such violence? The presence of a shotgun in a home with a child present – I’m not sure, though, if the home was that of the child’s, but it probably was, since he knew where to locate the gun. The fact that guns are so easy, young children can operate them – would it really be a problem to make guns a bit harder to use? Sure, keep police guns and military guns easy to draw and shoot, but that’s about it.

Anyway, I was almost willing to let the story pass, as I really did think it was more of a fluke than anything. But today I read a story about a 6-year-old in Virginia who missed the bus. No, he didn’t shoot anyone, but he did take the family car and attempt to drive himself. Unsurprisingly, the boy crashed, but not before “made at least two 90-degree turns, passed several cars and ran off [a] rural two-lane road.” Miraculously, he survived with minor injuries, and was even able to attend school after receiving a check-up at a local hospital. Normally I would say that the kid was gypped, but let’s face it: he really wanted to be at school. After he crashed, he actually left the car and started walking. To school. That must be a really good school.
His parents were asleep, by the way, but they were charged with child endangerment. I have no idea why. Was it because he stole the keys and took their car? Or was it because the car was in the driveway? I think it’s a bit ridiculous.
Here’s something even more ridiculous: the child told police that he learned to drive from playing Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam. I don’t know anything about the latter, but I do know that no responsible parent would knowingly allow their child to play GTA.

What have we learned so far? Parents suck.

Oh, but it’s not over yet!

Have you ever wanted to rob a bank? I have. I wouldn’t, because I really don’t want to mess up my life, but sometimes I am pretty desperate for money. And sometimes I let my imagination run wild.

This genius, however, decided to allow his imagination freedom, and he actually did rob a bank.
Not a big deal. He was a 24-year-old, obviously low on cash, and he’s actually kind of a cutie.
Here’s the catch: he stood in line. Wearing a ski mask.
Here’s a bigger catch: he actually robbed the bank. Sure, he was arrested a few minutes later, following a brief car chase, but somehow, the bank security didn’t stop to think, “Maybe that character in the ski mask is trouble. Maybe we should ask him to remove his mask…” No, no, they actually stood by as the guy progressed in line to the bank teller, who had the brains to ask him to remove the mask. It was at this point that he pulled out a toy gun. I guess she couldn’t tell it was a toy (sometimes they really are realistic, and I’m assuming he didn’t use a water pistol), because she gave him some money.
Anyway, the happy ending is that he was caught, but still: he STOOD IN LINE. Wearing a SKI MASK. And NOBODY thought to stop him.

So, what else have we learned? If you’re at a bank next to a guy in a SKI MASK – leave. And maybe call the cops on your way out. And don’t go back to the bank, since the security is obviously terrible.

Published in: on January 10, 2009 at 12:10 am  Comments (3)  
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