April 26, 2006
Hoorah! The beach burglars have been caught. The Southampton Town cops reported that they have nabbed suspects in the numerous car break-ins and purse thefts, including mine, which have plagued the beaches for months.
So why don't I feel better?
Yes, there were arrests and confessions and court dates set, although there's a certain irony that we victims provided the perps the very money they're using for bail. Their incarceration, however, doesn't help me get back my valuables or reimburse me for their replacement. I'm not usually an eye for an eye gal but in this case a purse for a purse seems justified. It's hard to turn the other cheek when you're still picking glass out of it from the driver's seat.
How would these criminals like it if I went over to their house and smashed their car window, stealing their valuables? I would try to time my break-in for when they had just celebrated a family event so all their precious photos would be lost forever when I stole their digital camera and video recorder. And let them see how long and tedious it is to try to remember every phone number of your relatives, co-workers, and friends to reprogram a new cell phone.
Most importantly I'd like to rob them on a day when they were enjoying what a privilege it is to live in the Hamptons, smashing not only their windows but their sense of serenity and security. Unfortunately, even with a hammer, I hit like a girl. But now at least I'd hit like an angry girl. Maybe I wouldn't be so cranky if they hadn't stolen my lavender aromatherapy balm and calming Bach Flower Rescue Remedy.
The desire for retributive justice dates back to 1780 BC when a Babylonian King named Hammurabi wrote the penal code in stone, now actually housed at the Louvre museum. Some crimes were met with like punishment like if you put out someone's eye or knocked out their teeth. But you could also find yourself with a death sentence for building a badly constructed house that collapsed, harboring a runaway slave, or entering a tavern to drink (if you were a nun.)
The problem with my revenge fantasy is that it's 2006 and if I committed my act of retribution I might be arrested and incarcerated. Then who would take my dog to the acupuncturist for her nasal tumor or make my special gourmet concoction for my roses? Or what about this column? Do they have Internet access in prison? I'd end up writing about my relationship issues like trying to get along with Big Mama or having to become proficient at phone sex with my fiancé. And do all the prisoners have to wear the orange jumpsuit – does it come in any other color? Apparently, none of these concerns crossed the car robbers' minds.
Mahatma Gandhi believed the problem with the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth sense of justice is that the whole world would soon be blind and toothless. In my purse for a purse case, we would all be left fumbling around trying to fit keys and lip gloss in our back pockets. And without a purse, I'm still looking for somewhere to hide that hammer.
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