The Badger

The footpad badger moves at night
And has no need of money.
He is well equipped for any job
And robs beehives of honey.

He trounces toads or snails and moles
And stores his swag away,
Where in a safe set underground
He snores throughout the day.

Le blaireau furtif se déplace la nuit
Bien dépourvu mais sans fiel.
Il est équipé pour toutes les tâches,
Et vole les ruches de miel.

Il prend des taupes, et des crapauds
Puis il met tout de côté,
Où dans son sous-sol tanière
Il ronfle toute la journée.

Maybe we all qualify, to a relative extent, as thieves. Not generally in any extreme sense of the word, but often in the sense of using ploys as a means to obtain what we might desire.

Certain politicians use demagogy. All too often in order to gain what they want, they make promises that either they know they cannot possibly keep, or at best they are never totally convinced of their tenability. Isn't this a form of theft? To obtain what is desired dishonestly? Or they might be tempted to fabricate a mask in order to project an image which they believe will be more effective in gaining the confidence of the people, which means that they might have reason to believe that what they are trying to hide is not worthy of such confidence. Isn't such subterfuge also a form of theft?

One might over-value one's possessions, or what one produces, to sell, whenever deemed possible, to gain an extra profit. Or inversely, one might under-value one's property in order to avoid fiscal responsibilities. Surely such examples also qualify as theft.

Most modern day beggars try to portray an exaggerated state of misery and hopelessness to win the sympathy of passers-by, but in reality they are often well organised, and clothed well enough. None of them look as though they are seriously suffering from starvation or ill health.
And most of those who are seen accepting free meals supplied by the Red Cross, or the Restaurants de Cœur hardly look as though they have no other choice. If this is indeed the case, would it not be an even worse form of theft? Certainly, when those who are truly in need of help, are often too proud to demean what they still value as their self-esteem, by accepting such charity.

There are of course the big time, professional robbers, but more often the petty thieves, who organise themselves during the hot summer months to rob tourists. One ploy used is by first puncturing the wall of a tyre with a knife (always the back wheel, driver's side) and then as the tourist is jacking up his car to change the wheel, one distracts the passenger, whilst the other leans through the open window (passenger side) to grab the bag. And they know exactly where to find it. (This alludes to a particular, personal experience in Milan..).   

Or one might be tempted to use false charm and flattery in order to seduce and finally gain someone's favour. To steal a kiss, and more. But perhaps in general this is a less harmful form of theft. Although certainly there are times when it can be extremely harmful indeed.

Most of us are inundated each day with unasked for email messages informing us that we have won an Ipad or Ipod. Or we have been selected to win a new car (we are even invited to choose which colour we would like), or a fabulous voyage, or a million euros or dollars. We are solicited to go through certain motions that are bound to turn such dreams into disillusions. False labyrinths to ensnare the naive, would-be-clients. This is yet another, more insidious form of theft.

Perhaps one could argue that nature's laws decree 'controlled theft' to be a necessary means of survival for all life forms, from ants to antelopes, sharks, snakes, rats, raccoons, magpies, mockingbirds, vultures and hyenas, Cheetahs and gazelles, bees or badgers.
But should such laws necessarily apply to the human species as well; to paupers, prelates and presidents; knaves or kings, labourers or lawyers?
 Lawyers as vultures,
Had soared up and down;
Prelates, like magpies,
In the Air had flown. 
(Howel's letters: Lines to the knowing reader)

There are many names qualifying theft : forgery, cheating, soliciting, blackmail, abuse of confidence, duplicity, fraud, swindling, embezzlement, larceny, felony, extortion, appropriation, and even murder. They all come down to the same thing. And the worst examples are of those who claim to represent us, and the law itself, whether constitutional or even religious.

Those who use the Gods they claim to worship, to gain what they desire, thus abusing them to diabolical extremes in order to violate, subjugate, plunder and murder. Aren't these the worst cases of all? They never hesitate in selling their souls to the devil, insulting their Gods in the worst possible way. Surely they are unworthy as human beings, and even of life itself. 
Doggerel, text and image © Mirino (PW). August, 2012

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