I was in the bicycle shop recently. Although you can't tell from the state of my waistline, I enjoy cycling - it's good exercise, and easier on the joints and heart than jogging (just ask Jim Fixx).
I had bought the tyres I needed, and was looking over the new bikes and gadgets when the store manager wandered over to chat - things were quiet.
I picked up a bike-lock to take a closer look, which elicited the following comment from the manager.
"Those things only stop the honest people. You need a better lock than that to protect your bike."
Now, this guy knows my bike. He knows how much it would cost to replace it (lots), and he knows how pissed I would be if it was stolen, but some of that statement is flat-out wrong.
It's a common mis-perception, but it irks me.
Honest people don't NEED locks to stop them from stealing. To an honest person, other people's property is, by definition, not to be taken.
What he should have said is "Locks of pretty much any sort only stop the casually dishonest, and a better lock will only deter those with slightly higher levels of dishonesty."
I have been victim of the slightly dishonest before - I've had pumps and water bottles stolen from my bike, usually when I left it briefly unattended outside a café while I bought a snack inside.
What I have trouble with, is this: Where do these low-lives get the idea that it is OK to simply take something that they KNOW, without ANY doubt, is not theirs? Who is it that is failing to educate these scum-bags about honesty and their commitment to the social contract?
I've concluded that the feeling of entitlement engendered in little Johnny Miscreant by years of unfailing ego-stroking and pandering to desires by parents, teachers, and politicians causes a failure-to-develop in the "that's not mine" complex in the juvenile brain. Unfortunately, the lack of development of this complex is hard to treat successfully in the adult brain without heavy and repeated doses of a very expensive and potentially lethal remedy called "consequences".
In some cases, the application of "consequences" can be instantly fatal - just as in the case of the South African rapists who gang-raped a young girl, and infected her with HIV. From the news reports, her rugby playing father killed three and decapitated two of the four with an axe. (see Axe Wielding Rugby Player's Retribution)
I can't help but wonder if a little bit of discipline and a little less ego-stroking when younger might have saved those rapists from themselves - and from the rape victim's father.
... and I'm not sure that I could refrain from a similar response if the rape victim had been MY daughter. I just hope that I would do a better job, and not leave witnesses that would lead to me getting caught.
UPDATE: I infer from the article now found at that link that there were FIVE rapists - and three are dead, one was attacked but not killed or seriously injured, while the fifth has so far avoided his dose of "consequences".