Today I am very frustrated.
Early Sunday morning--about 12:30 a.m.--a burglar broke through a window, invaded our medical clinic and stole two new laptop computers that we use to keep track of patient records.
I met the police, assessed the damage and went home disappointed, but not surprised.
Sunday around noon our medical director secured the building by closing up the broken window with plywood.
By 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon the thief returned, smashed through another large window, kicked in every door in our exam room area and generally tore the place up looking for something else of value.
We met the police again, cleaned the place up and added another huge sheet of plywood.
Most likely our "guest" will not visit us in this annoying way again, now that he knows we have little of street or pawn shop value for him to take.
I hate it when this happens. Thankfully, it happens only rarely.
I must admit, I would love to get my hands on this dude!
But even more, I'd just like to talk to him. Given the way things turn in my neighborhood, that might just happen. This afternoon while driving around, I visited with three guys who walk the streets here. They have a way of turning up information for us.
Even more frustrating to me than the act of the thief is the context and the motivating factors behind his action.
As to context, it is not unlikely that I know the guy already. If he turns up, he could be someone who knows me. If this is true and, if the past is any tutor, I can tell you he will be sorry and ashamed.
As to motive, of course, it is money. Money for rent, money for food and, most likely above all else, money to feed a habit--money for drugs. Crack is a cruel, cruel master and, as I am reminded again today, it affects us all.
I've noticed across the years that as the economy goes bad for the folks at the bottom, the break-ins seem to occur more frequently. I am reminded again of Agur's prayer.
". . .give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
But, there is more to the story, especially when you consider how the poor end up when they mess up as compared to the rich who do the same. Key in all of this is the absence of substantial hope for anything better than desperation and madness. Then there is the matter of unfairness in the system.
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