Thursday, December 18, 2014

If Only Crime Didn't Pay

Aphorism of the day: "The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business."    John Steinbeck

As some of you know, I live on three acres behind a nine-foot concrete block stucco wall with non-see-through gates. I’ve never had anyone in thirty years try to get onto my property. My neighborhood is an old and established bucolic area that has held its value during the ups and downs of the real estate market. I love where I live, but I got complacent, left my guard down, and got hit.

Running across the rear of my property, behind my two guest houses, is a city drainage ditch, about four feet wide and three feet deep, which leaves a 4 x 3 foot “hole” under my fence and that’s where the little sewer rats came crawling onto my property. Years ago, I had a city street light attached to one of the power poles because of the darkness back there, but I guess the thieves scurried back and forth in the shadows hauling my new lawn equipment (backpack blower, chainsaw, etc.) from my garage and the different items from my friends' cars (my friends live in the guest houses).

If you’ve never been burglarized, you are lucky. It’s a helpless feeling of invasion that steals your peace of mind for months. They say the crime rate in Memphis is down, but the statistics last year were over 38,000 burglaries/thefts. That’s four every hour, and we’re not including the crimes of Aggravated Assault, Rape, Larceny, Auto Theft, Murder, and Robbery. With only 13% of the criminals caught, I think they need a new motto besides “Crime Doesn’t Pay.”

My Shangri-La has been invaded. What is the answer? Guns, armed guards, and junkyard dogs like in parts of Miami and LA, or security patrols and video alarm systems? You can’t shoot an unarmed burglar (as much as I would like to blow a couple of kneecaps off), and they know it. But we always have options, and all this week I’ve been dreaming about an evil counterattack: punji sticks, razor wire, bear traps, tripwire, electrified fence...But, back to reality—I’m meeting with my lawyer to see how much revenge I can legally enact. Till then, I will practice what my mentor teaches;  “With every adversity, there is an equal or greater benefit.”

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