Yesterday, my neighbor made a shocking confession.
“What did you do this time?”I asked.
“I left the garage door open.”
I was contemplating whether or not to call the cops. Or if I would administer the appropriate punishment using the gardenhose I had in my hand. Twenty lashes were to be handed to the criminal. Ten lashes were taken from the 30 appropriate, as the defendant lied about the severity of her evil act.
The other punishment, though more severe, is the replacement or loss of the leaf blower.
“It was brand new. Don’s gonna kill me.”
Don is her husband. And she’s right. He WILL kill them.
The lesser crime of stealing the item has not been mentioned.
Acts of blatant theft in our current era are the fault of “the idiot”Who practiced what we used esteem but no more do: trust.
Why should you doubt anymore? “works” for us is the topic of today’s column. It is the conversation I wish that I could have with people such as my poor neighbor. Why don’t we blame the thief and leave it at that? Why is it so difficult to expect people to be good? A columnist for this newspaper recently stated that we are. “in a world of crime.”He gave the example of purse snatching. This victim deserves our sympathy. She hadn’t forgotten her garage key, but she opened her car window to let the thief get to her for the goods. It would be absurd for the victim to be blamed in this instance.
On the other hand, letting a creep con you online or otherwise steal something from you owing to your own careless and reckless disregard, well, that’s on you, right?
Wrong. Here’s where I disagree with my colleague. I suggest that he investigate this so-called crime wave deeper.
Though I’m not a religious person I do consider the Ten Commandments a pretty good set of rules to live by. They also prohibit theft. Another bans mendacity. What is not in The Ten Commandments “Thou Shalt Not Trust.”
For any rules to be effective, trust is essential. It’s not the other way around.
Yet this is the rule — “Thou Shalt Not Trust” — that my neighbor broke when she left the garage door open.
How did trust become a crime in 21st-century America Why is this? “on me”If I assume that people will behave themselves, and not take my stuff when I turn my back?
What happens to civil society when this happens? When social messaging says to us to protect our homes and gardens because no one is trustworthy When choosing not to encircle one’s home and garden with video monitors and blaring security lights is regarded as reckless and hazardous to the health and safety of oneself and others?
Ask yourself this question: Where would you find such an item? “precautions”Be provocative, daring anyone would-be “intruder” to show his true dark side because, hey, we’re all criminals at heart?
How many times can someone who is being scammed online demand that legal action be taken instead of blaming others? “so gullible”?
The exact same thing happened to me when a fake website for gardeners stole my identity. It caused me anxiety, inconvenience, and worst of all shame. I was a fool to be intentionally (and with malice priorthought) robbed.
And don’t think I didn’t blame myself for another evil thing: through my negligence I incentivized a bad business, in effect turning it into good business, one that any sharp Wall Street bank might want to take public for “proving the concept”It is very lucrative to con people online.
To find the people most likely to be swayed by your particular dishonesty, all you have to do is use the reliable internet. Once you’ve identified the people, set your trap and wait for the money to start rolling in!
Old people are the best “most likely,”According to the algorithms. They are the most trustworthy. This isn’t because of senility but because they grew up in a time when trust was a good thing and trusting someone usually paid off, not vice versa.
If trust is treated as a crime in a society or worse, it is time for us to ask the chickens and eggs question. This is what and who started it?
These questions aren’t just for gardeners like me but also for anyone who raises poultry. Experience teaches us how to find the root cause of a plant’s death. It is not a good idea for you to blame yourself. Beginners do this, professionals don’t. It’s a sign of insecurity stemming from ignorance about how nature works.
The sign of an experienced gardener, just like an experienced physician, is that he or she doesn’t waste time on self-recrimination because it is irrational and non-productive. As long as we’re not forgetful, we can all leave our garage doors unlocked occasionally. To commit a serious crime, you need to plan carefully. It is a conscious act, not an unconscious failure.
Similar, there are no “bad”Gardeners lack a magical green thumb. It wasn’t my fault that I forgot to water the oak tree, it was complications from the drought.
What caused the drought? Ah ha! Now we’re getting somewhere.
Turns out it’s the same darn thing that has caused people to lose their ability to trust. I am talking about the rule of law, and our failure to enforce laws on the books, specifically those that punish crimes committed by anyone who can hire an expensive lawyer to convince a less well paid judge that the law is ill-advised or just … inconvenient for their client.
The Ten Commandments have been replaced with a new code that basically says anything is possible as long as it’s legal. This includes lying about long-term effects of pesticides on agricultural production. It’s on the consumer to protect the planet, according to this thinking. It’s on the individual human, not the government or corporation, to prevent our own looming extinction.
A study by North Dakota State University found neonicotinoids in the bodies deer and pheasants. These neonicotinoids may be responsible for the deaths of these animals, according to researchers. They also seem to be killing people. Their effects on bees, butterflies, and other insects are well-established.
But it’s “on us” to stop using them, just as it’s “on the farmer”To make the hard decision to either withhold chemicals and risk his crop (and his livelihood), or to go with the flow and take the short-term gains and start the slippery slope to government-sanctioned criminality.
It is not an accusation that corporations selling and manufacturing such chemicals conceal their findings. I’m referring (again, just as an example) to Exxon Mobil’s studies on the climate effects of fossil fuels. Chemical companies don’t have the resources to conduct in-house studies. They only need to request USDA to conduct studies. They know that the outcome will favor corporations that fund campaigns by administrators who move between paid lobbyists and elected officials to secure control over our federal, state and land grant universities.
If you get cancer from exposure to any of these chemicals, or if humans become extinct due to the myriad ill effects of fossil-fuel burning, then maybe we all just left our garage doors open.
It is nearly impossible to resist the slippery slope of these days. Rationalizing has become the new way of living. The advertising industry feeds Americans lies every single day. We all know, at some level, that our food has been contaminated. And yet …
It’s so cheap and it tastes so good. Instead of blaming the criminals that lie and poison us we blame our actions for cancer, hypertension, or diabetes. Why did you eat the entire bag full of chips and drink the entire bottle of Coke? If I had more discipline, I wouldn’t have done this to myself.
Being overweight may be just as “bad” as being gullible in this day and age, but it’s not why people get cancer. Your cells will not go crazy just because you have a few extra pounds. Consuming food laced with toxic chemicals can cause problems. This includes corn syrup found in a gallon Coca-Cola.
I encourage people to grow vegetables along with pretty flowers. There’s nothing like weaning oneself from the propaganda machine to feel like you’re in control of your life, or part of it anyway.
I had intended to write a blog about a gardening tour but was held hostage by a leaf blower criminal. Regrettably, I’ll have to keep the garden tour brief.
Its owner had written to ask where the Frogtown garden was that I’d written about last month.
I then asked for his address, and a few days later found myself back in Frogtown, this time marveling at the things a boulevard garden can’t hide, the things it reveals about its maker, the things that make me love gardeners.
These are the signs that a person is resourceful, humble and curious.
James’s boulevard is “a mess,”James.
“Come have a look at mine,”I said it as a way to participate in the age-old ritual that gardeners criticize our gardens in inverse proportion of how much we secretly love them.
The boulevard gardens were once “all roses, but someone kept digging them up,”He said.
James now grows annuals and edible plants mostly, which for some reason people don’t dig up. They don’t even take the tomatoes.
You can clearly see the difference.
He has also created his private kingdom in the back, which he calls another “big mess.” He couldn’t stop grinning at the smile on my face as I took in the giant hot tub and the strand of lights above it, the giant garden bench made of cement blocks, and the 10-foot-tall sunflowers and cannas, and the giant zinnias.
James pretended to be embarrassed about knowing something I knew was charming, picturesque, but the squash was running rampant as squash always does.
If you asked me the style of this garden, I would answer “Simple.” “cubist,”Not as in “early Picasso” but because it is about the same size and shape as James’s small two-story house.
Fleet Farm’s handsome grid-style metal fencing was his.
“Two bucks a foot,”He said.
When a gardener brags about how little it cost to make his or her one-of-a-kind garden — in dollars, that is — I know I’m in the company of a kindred spirit. I do the exact same thing.
This is how to protect yourself from the common belief that money is a measure for merit. All of us want to get rid. “menial” work (by using leaf blowers, for instance, which is why I hope my guilt-stricken neighbor doesn’t buy Don a new one) so we can spend meaningful time watching TV.
When crime occurs, we’re not to blame. Except in the instance where we kill our messenger. It doesn’t matter if the messenger is us, it is still pernicious.
Repeat after me the next time crime happens to you, whether it’s the internet scam that gets your bank pin number or a common thief who takes the leaf blower: “I am not a bad person. I am a strong, kind, and good person. I am a person who trusts other people.”