Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Yesterday afternoon was “exciting” to say the least. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, attempting to accomplish the remainder of my to-do list posted here.  I actually did accomplish everything and then some (pats self on the back).

Unfortunately, while I was inside doing all that crazy busy work, the demons were outside, unattended. Yeah, I dropped the ball again but, in my defense, it isn’t my fault that it is such a slippery little sucker.  The DIT did not give me any trouble, he was riding his bike and his scooter as he was supposed to be doing.  The Head Demon, however, was roaming around with another one of his cohorts, JM, and looking for trouble.  He found it.  Twice.

Around 5:00 PM I got a phone call from TMT telling me that the Head Demon had pushed a girl into the pool and when LB looked to see if I was outside, naturally, I wasn’t.  Well damn, I can’t be two places at once.  I got an earful from TMT and he ranted and raved about how I was being irresponsible and putting his job in jeopardy, blah, blah, blah.  (Still came home yesterday evening and bitched about all I had not finished yet…)

So off I went outside with the demon boys to watch their every move after passing down the ass-chewing I got to the Head Demon.  Hey, I totally believe in sharing them with the kids.  Totally.

Head Demon comes up to me about 20 minutes later and wants to know if he can run across the street to the FasMart with JM.  I patiently explain to him that I do NOT have any extra money to give him to purchase anything. He says that’s fine, JM has $2.00 and they are just going to get a bag of chips. Fine. I can deal with that.  I told them that I would stand at the edge of the complex and watch to make sure they got across the street alright and back again.  God forbid I actually walked over with them and embarrassed my trying-to-be-grown-already Head Demon.

So off they went.  Stood there for about 10 minutes and saw JM come out of the store.  About fifteen seconds later, the Head Demon comes out of the store and they both start running across the parking lot.  The manager, Carl, comes out and yells for them to come back.  I “assumed” they did not have the correct amount of money or they forgot their change.  They go back into the store and I wait.  And I wait.  And I wait some more.

You ever get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that something horrible is about to happen?  The kind that makes you want to run and hide and just wait till the storm is over with?  Yep.  That’s what happened.

That feeling hit and I started to cross the street.  I just knew one or the other of them had done something wrong.  As I’m crossing the street, Carl comes out and motions for me to come over to the store.  He then proceeds to march the two boys outside to stand against the building and await the local sheriff’s department.

Yeah, the Head Demon stole something from the store.  Not what you would think though.  It wasn’t candy, or a soda, or a pack of gum, or a small toy.  Oh no.  That would be too normal.

He had to go and steal a lighter.

According to Carl, the boys got to the checkout and paid for their chips. They were a bit short, so he let them slide.  He knows both of them as we are in the store on a daily basis getting this or that.  JM walked outside and was waiting for the Head Demon, watching him through the glass doors.  The Head Demon proceeds to rest his chin on the lighter display and “attempt” to covertly palm one off the shelf and into his pocket without the manager seeing him.  He then hit the door running when he realized Carl had seen him and tried to run off before he could catch him.  Carl got the boys back in the store, called the police, and then saw me coming and motioned me over as well.

Talk about frigging mortified and totally pissed the hell off.  Right after I arrived, so did the officers.  It just so happened that their D.A.R.E. Officer from school, Officer Chapman, was the one to respond to the call.  He talked to both of them, knew them both by name, and told them how disappointed he was with them – JM for egging him on and the Head Demon for doing the deed.  He talked to them about making good choices and doing what is right…and the fact that they both knew it was wrong and should not have done it.  He also explained to the Head Demon that, if Carl choose to do so, he could press charges, the Head Demon would have to go to the police station and be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken, and he would have to sit in a holding cell until we came to get him and post bail.  If we couldn’t post bail, he would have to go to the juvenile center and wait until Monday when they opened up for us to come and get him.  Since it was a holiday weekend he would have to do a little extra time because the offices were closed Friday.

Officer Chapman asked JM what his phone number was so he could call his parents as well – he didn’t want to talk to him without his mother or father being there.  He conveniently “forgot” his phone number, but they lived in the apartment directly across from the FasMart so I walked over to get JM’s dad.

Do you know that the thought of that did not seem to phase him at all?  I was really beginning to wonder about him at this point.  He was being a bit belligerent and not looking at Officer Chapman when he spoke to him and mumbling under his breath so nobody could hear him.  Until I got in his face and gave him that Don’t-Even-THINK-About-Fucking-With-Me look.  No words, just THE LOOK.  When he finally did look up and look in my eyes, it knocked me back a bit.

He was completely and totally SCARED SHITLESS.

Good.  Carl made a show of “thinking” about pressing charges against him and then said he was not going to, he didn’t want him to start out so young with a record for something so petty.  He did ban them both from the store for 30 days though, so they cannot return to the store (accompanied or not) until August 3.  I told the Head Demon that he needed to apologize to both Carl and Officer Chapman, which he did.

On the walk home, he started to cry.  Finally.  I got to give him props for holding it together and not letting them fall in front of his friend or the adults. He definitely doesn’t want anyone to think he’s a baby…he wants to be a man, so I told him he would be treated “like a man” when it came time for punishment as well.

I got him in the house and talked to him – calmly and rationally believe it or not.  I am ashamed to say it, but I’ve done it too.  So has College Girl and the DIT has taken apples and oranges from the store too.  I think everyone tries it, at one time or another in their lives, but when you get caught, hopefully you learn your lesson and don’t do it again.

I honestly was not going to say anything to TMT about what happened.  I was going to just punish the Head Demon for a few days and tell TMT it was for something else.  TMT can deal with just about anything but he will not, can not, tolerate being around anyone who steals or lies.  So knowing that his son did something he can not stand would have just killed him.  Turns out, however, that I ended up having no choice but to tell him – one of the neighbors was at the store when everything went down and would have definitely ran back and told him all about it the first chance he got.

So we talked and agreed that his punishment is 5 days no outdoor play – including no pool.  His punishment was going to start effective immediately, but because it is a holiday weekend and we have cookouts to attend and pool parties to attend – we gave him a choice.  He could begin his punishment today (Friday) and have it over with on Tuesday, but miss out on all the fun this weekend; or he could start his punishment Monday and finish it up Friday so he could be outside playing next weekend (provided he didn’t screw up at all during his punishment to get more time tacked on).  He choose to start his punishment on Monday and a condition for the deferred punishment is that he needs to spend all day Monday getting his room cleaned and organized.

I did some research on the internet to see just what percentage of children actually shoplift something from a store…or if I was just destined for a life of crime with the Head Demon.  Here’s what I found out.

Alarming Facts About Shoplifting

  • Shoplifters steal over $20 billion worth of goods from retailers each year.
  • Shoplifting is America’s #1 property crime.
  • 1 in 11 people shoplift. (There are approximately 23 million shoplifters in the US. )
  • 25% of these shoplifters are children. (That’s 5,750,000 children who are facing a life of crime.)
  • 55% of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens.
  • 86% of kids say they know other kids who shoplift. 66% say they hang out with those kids
  • 47% of high school students have shoplifted within the past year.
  • Shoplifting often leads to more serious juvenile crime.
  • Shoplifting spans all economic and cultural conditions.
  • The vast majority of shoplifters are individuals who shoplift not because of financial pressures, but because of social, peer and personal pressure.
  • The costs related to shoplifting are absorbed by the honest consumer who pays higher prices to cover the loss of merchandise, loss prevention measures, etc.

Statistics courtesy of the fine folks at Shoplifting IS Stealing.  They have a wonderful program for parents on their site that includes a DVD of Shoplifting is Stealing information, a discussion guide and terminology for parents to talk to their children, facts and statistics on shoplifting, and additional product information for $37.97.  In addition, they have a great free download entitled, 12 Warning Signs Your Child Could Be Shoplifting.  They also have a nice assortment of other products for teachers, store owners and community organizations.  You can snag the free download and check out the other resources here.

So, with all the “excitement” yesterday afternoon, things were kind of hectic around the house…and I babysat Fat Daddy for a little while yesterday evening too.  He was a great help in getting my Tupperware organized again and the laundry folded and put away – not to mention trying to use our bed as a trampoline.  With everything that was going on yesterday, I didn’t get my two homework assignments done yesterday so now I have three to do today.  So the kids are at the pool, I’ve got my Pepsi and my laptop and chilling in the shade, so I am off to get my assignments done.

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