When I worked as a cashier or bookkeeper or office manager or any other money handling position in a company one of the first things I would do is figure out how to rip them off. Would it be better to do one large chunk or small pieces? How was I more likely to get away with it? How many other people could/would have access to this money and therefore the blame? How cleanly could I do it? How long would it take to be discovered? And was there a way to do it where it never would be?
I could say I did it to be better at my job. If I know how to rip you off I can more easily prevent others from doing it. But that would pretty much be a lie. I did it because it amused me to do it. I liked figuring it out. But one little thing always kept me from my devious plans. I am shockingly honest. I am the person who goes back in to the grocery store to settle up when I find the item in my cart I didn't pay for.
If I do find myself in a situation where my ethical buzzer is going off and I try to ignore it I get ill. Tried working for NutriSystem while I was in college and the things they asked me to do to sell their plan made me quit the best paying job I had ever held up to that point. I just can't do it. Once I've decided something is wrong I am stuck. And if I try to do it anyway I am sick. Physically ill. And stealing is one of those things that falls squarely in to the wrong column. But I'd still figure out how to do it.
So anyway, watching the whole Bundy Bunch round up today and reading the comments on the posts. People are squarely on one side or the other (in the posting, I would guess the people who are middle ground are quieter as middle grounders tend to be) and I keep seeing recurring themes.
Government overreach. That is the theme of the why the Bundy Bunch was there according to their supporters. It was supposed to be about the Hammonds and the unfair sentencing they got for setting fire to government lands. But the Hammonds said they would finish their sentences and asked that the Bundy Bunch leave. So then it came back around to the Bundy family's pet cause. The government doesn't have the right to charge them for grazing their cattle or to even own the land that the cattle was grazing on in the first place. So they were going to take back the land and give it back to the people. Not all the people, mind you, but the people. I have a few issues with this. Part being the Bundys themselves. They owe the government over a million dollars in unpaid grazing fees. Turns their political protest in to more of a trying to get out of debt ploy. Also the reason why most of those ranchers don't own that land is because when they were going broke they sold it. It would sort of be like you selling your house but insisting that the new owners let you come over and swim in the pool whenever you wanted to because you know, you used to own it.
So I don't really agree with them in their specific points. Or at least on the ones that it was really about. The Hammonds sentencing? Well that falls under mandatory sentencing and not allowing the judge (you know the highest legal authority in that room at the time) to have leeway in sentencing. I am not a fan of mandatory sentencing. I think it's stupid. I think the world tends to run a lot more gray than that. There should be room on either end. Sentencing guidelines. Okay. But mandatory sentencing and three strikes rules? Nope.
Which brings us to the next theme you see. People talking about Ferguson this and Baltimore that...the general theme being that riots, looting, and arson were allowed to run rampant in those places and they were "praised" for it. Not so with the poor maligned Bundy Bunch. Okay, let's start off with saying, you do know that the people who actually rioted, looted and set fire to things were arrested right? The peaceful unarmed protesters were not. For the most part. Though they were tear gassed, faced down with riot gear clad police driving armored vehicles while the Bundy Bunch was, well, left alone to their heavily armed selves until yesterday. So your argument doesn't work on that level. And nobody praised the people who broke the law. People talked about how something needed done to fix the underlying issues.
And it's silly to try to directly compare. Because they aren't protesting the same things. Or in the same way. Or have anything to do with each other. The Bundy supporters are mad now because someone died yesterday. I get it. Dead is horrible. Being gunned down is a great fear. But that was at the end (or near the end since there are still some at the refuge refusing to leave) of their protest. After they were asked repeatedly to leave. Even offered safe passage out. The Ferguson and Baltimore protests that you want to compare to? Those were started on the death of someone at the hands of authorities.
Here is where things get sort of surreal for me though. Reading through the comments about the death yesterday and there is a rumor that the man that was killed had his hands up when he was shot. Now there are conflicting stories, including reports from others that were there that he actually charged the police and that's when he was shot. But there are those who are screaming loudly about his hands being up.
While also talking about how "if this was Ferguson."
Hands up, don't shoot.
Sounds really familiar right. His hands were up when he got shot. Now when the rest of the story came out the hands up part didn't fit. The evidence fit the charge of Michael Brown charging the officer.
But here we are. Another case. Another group. The facts aren't out yet at all. But how easy is it for the Bundy people to believe that their man had his hands up and was gunned down? Because they feel that the government cannot be trusted to take care of the people.
That the police cannot be trusted to always tell the truth.
That people who are being mistreated by the laws in this country end up dead.
Now I am no more political schemer than I am criminal mastermind but if I were going to run a shadow government the first thing I would do is take the people on the edges of society and pit them against each other.
I would have them screaming at each other about color, class, privilege, yours and mine and I would just sit back and let them go.
Hell, if I found a way that worked on one group, I might even use it on the other knowing full well that instead of paying attention to me and what I was doing they would be looking at each other to see who was treated more fairly in their injustice. Mandatory sentencing. Three strikes rules. Hands up, don't shoot.
So what do you think would happen if these groups stopped yelling at each other about who has it worse and listened to the grievances from the other side? What if they finally heard that they were saying the same things? What if they realized that maybe the current systems weren't working for anybody? Or for just a very very few. Maybe 1% of us, say. What if they banded together and said, "Your unfair treatment is my unfair treatment. We are going to fix this!" What would happen then? Would there be change? Would there be a re-establishment of basic rights without a mountain of paperwork, red tape, unfair economic barriers?
Do I believe that's what is happening? That our government is pitting the people against each other so they can erode our current rights. So it can continue to benefit those that need it the least while watching entire cities, counties, people crumble under the strain? I'm not sure that I do.
But if I were going to do it, that's how I would start.