14 June 2017

I Am A Robber And A Loser. But Do I Deserve This?

I'm all for trying to reform and rehabilitate offenders--until, of course, the offense is against me.  Then I want to throw the book at the offender!

All right, that's an exaggeration--but only somewhat.  Even the most fervent advocate of capital punishment does not believe it should be used against, say, thieves.  (At least I hope and assume that's the case!)  But, hey, when someone steals from us, especially something we love and depend on--our bikes,  that person becomes Jack The Ripper, John Dillinger and Willie Sutton all rolled up into one.  And we want to see that person punished--and get our bikes back.

Now, of course, we have different ideas as to what constitutes appropriate punishment for a bike thief.  A relative of mine believes that "we should do like they do in Saudi Arabia" and cut off the hands of thieves.  

(By the way, that practice, as barbaric as it is, actually isn't as common as my relative and others seem to think it is.)

Of course, I don't advocate anything like that.  At least, I haven't favored it since I calmed down from the last bike theft I suffered.  And there are some punishments that I think are too extreme even for bike thieves:

Now, I don't read Portuguese, but I understand enough French, Spanish and Italian to figure out that the 17-year-old boy's forehead tatoo reads something like, "I am a robber and a loser."  The AP translated it as "thief and loser", but the tatoo artist fancied himself as a bit of a poet:  "ladrao" rhymes with "vacilao", which is why I chose "robber".

The "branding" was indeed done by a 27-year-old tatoo artist, one Maycon Wesley Carvalho dos Reis. (Say that three times fast!) His friend, 29-year-old bricklayer Ronildo Moreira de Araujo, caught the boy trying to steal a bike in a city near Sao Paolo, Brazil.  When de Araujo and dos Reis were arrested, they said they were trying to teach the boy, and all thieves, a lesson.

The boy has been unnamed because Brazilian law prohibits the press from identifying minors.  Jurisprudence in the land of Ordem e Progresso also defines torture--the charge against de Araujo and dos Reis-- as a "heinous" crime, meaning its perpetrators cannot be released on bail. 

They were caught thanks to someone who captured them on a cellphone video when they apprehended the teenaged would-be thief.  As for that boy:  Volunteers have set up an internet funding page to raise money for his tatoo removal.

Now, I think what those men did was just a bit much.  Just a bit.  And I suspect that I'll feel that way--at least, as long as I don't lose another bike of mine to some thief! ;-) 


  1. Sadly there is nothing which justifies the name "punishment" handed out to criminals which goes anywhere towards deterring them. Meanwhile we live in a world burdened with excessive security and the enormous cost associated with it...

  2. Coline--Isn't it interesting that those countries (and cities) that spend the most on security are the least secure?