Monday, November 06, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

See. This is how it is. Last week, while I was out of town, my mother's little store got held up at knife point. Not my mom, but her employee, mom was in the back room fixing her lunch.

The guy came in, pretended to look at fabric, then pulled out a knife, threatened to kill the employee, demanded all the cash in the register, asked her for her personal money, then cut the phone cord and left.

He ran, at high noon, across both lanes of traffic on Savannah Highway, which is pretty close to a miracle that he didn't get creamed by oncoming traffic. (Oh, and wouldn't that be rich? Oh, sorry Mr. So-Tuff-I-Hold-Up-Elderly-Women Man, I'd call an ambulance, but, gosh, you cut our phone line.)

Everyone is okay, except the poor employee, who is still scared and upset. (I'll go today and talk with her, having had the wonderful experience of having a gun put in my face during a robbery once, I hope I can help her in some small way.) The guy got his money for his drug fix or whatever he needed it for.

So, here is where it gets complicated for a so-called bleeding-heart-liberal like myself, who is really working class po' white with an education.

If that man had put a knife to my momma's face, me and my brothers would cheerfully hunt him down and relieve him of his balls.

That hot blooded need for revenge, to inflict the same fear that was inflicted on us, to protect our own is still right there, just below the surface.

But, this is where my cognitive dissonance begins to vibrate. The guy wanted money for drugs, most likely. What are we (as a society) going to do if he is caught? Put him in jail? Let him out? Allow him to return to robbing little old ladies?

The liberal part of me would rather see him locked up in some sort of rehab program, given some skills, and give him a chance to turn around so he doesn't keep on robbing people until someday he steps over the line and kills some innocent person just trying to keep one step ahead of the bill collector by working some $10/hour job.

It's been proven that good rehab programs that provide not merely drying out, but real life skills and real job opportunites do significantly reduce recidivism.

But I still want to pop him one upside the head.

Sutu sez: Want me to scratch his eyes out? I can do it. Really. No, I won't hide in the cabinet! No, I won't throw up! I'm a mean and vicious attack cat!

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