I've been robbed twice in the past eight years.
The first time was while I was living in overseas.
It was a simple, clean robbery.
I knew exactly when it began,
and when it ended.
Someone broke the door of my apartment off of its hinges,
walked in, found where I had stored some cash and some gold jewelry that I had bought
as a gift for my mother.
They took it and left everything else in my apartment untouched.
It was as if they had read my mind on where this stuff was.
They didn't even take my computer -- they went for what they could sell,
Coming home to that was very disturbing, it's true, but once the door was fixed, I could get on with the process of mending from that invasion. My neighbors and friends helped me recuperate my loss, and my life went on.
( cashforgold )
And then I moved (back) to the U.S.A., got myself a tenure-track job.
At the beginning of my second full month of work,
I left my purse in a drawer in my locked office,
went to teach,
and a few hours later when I reached into my drawer to get my wallet to go buy lunch,
it wasn't there.
My wallet wasn't there.
The purse was still there, just as I left it, but it had been opened.
That's right: at some point, while I was teaching,
someone unlocked my door, went into my office, and took my wallet.
Unlike my overseas thieves, these thieves were kind enough
to lock the door behind them again.
And also unlike my overseas thieves, I was faced with the stinking
more-than-suspicion that I actually worked with these thieves,
even passed them in the hall daily. After all,
they had the keys to my office.
The wallet had been gone for perhaps
two hours, tops, when I got to the police and filed a report,
then hurried home to start canceling credit cards,
only to find that on one card the thieves (or thief) had already charged $5,000.00;
on another, around $3,000.00,
and they tried to clear out my bank account.
Since I had the police report, the credit card companies and my bank did not hold me responsible,
but the bigger concern for me was this:
those thieves had also gotten every scrap of my identity needed to become me, and I
have had to guard myself ever since. I actually pay for a service
to keep an eye on my identity. Now, that industry didn't even exist
fifteen years ago; in fact, I would say that the $15 or so that gets deducted
from my credit card every month to protect me against
identity theft is another modest extension
of the robbery itself.
Yes, you've heard of the gift that keeps giving?
Well, I -- and many like me --
have been showered by the blessings of the thief that keeps taking --
In the years since then,
I have encountered more and more forms of out and out robbery on these fair shores,
robbery that, like my wallet robbery, is very neatly handled:
so neat it's hard to tell how and when the thief actually gained access to your wallet,
but the thieves gain access to it, and you suddenly realize
that more and more money
And they keep taking, or have the potential to keep taking,
whenever they damned well please.
Quite frankly, I blame it on the credit based economy.
We now live in a world where no one carries cash - in fact, we're told to not carry cash,
to protect ourselves. But ironically, the replacement for cash now
is the target of thieves, and more and more, the thieves are the very institutions
we trust with our cash.
Yep, robbery has become a trusted industry, one in which, with a little convincing,
we hand over our money, our gold, even our identity,
and think it's just the way it's supposed to be.