First: Peter has posted a response to the essay I wrote yesterday about gun control. His response clarifies some of the things which I might have said better and brings up more good points in the discussion.
This morning, I woke up and readied myself for the day as per usual, barely getting done in time for my roommate to hastily get ready himself (I had not realized that he was on the clock at 8 this week, as opposed to 8:30 which had been the norm) and for us both to get out the door into his vehicle. At the corner of the street, I remembered with a jolt that I needed to move my car, lest it get ticketed during street-sweeping hours. Bidding my compatriot go on without me, I walked back to the apartment. After retrieving the few things I inevitably forgot in the apartment during the morning rush, I decided to just go to work instead of waiting an hour, since I was already up anyway. I walked over to my car, got in, and turned the key, expecting the car to grumble its way to life and convey me to my job.
Instead, the truck made a sound which could best be imitated by strapping a pair of lawnmowers to your ears and revving up. Immediately turning the car off, I checked the undercarriage, not sure what I’d find. To my surprise, I found nothing – in between the engine pipe and the muffler, that is. Yes, somebody had pilfered my vehicle’s catalytic converter. This is apparently an increasingly-occuring theft, due to the trace amounts of precious metals in the things.
Thus began a nearly four-hour process wherein I spoke to several police officers, insurance agents, AAA representatives, and repair house agents, a process which finally concluded with my truck in the hands of capable repair experts who estimated a speedy return of a few days on my vehicle, with only the reasonable insurance deductible to pay.
Now, during the course of this segment, which involved much sitting, walking, and riding of my bicycle, I had plenty of time to think and came to a few interesting points. The first: that I am truly blessed. What a luxury to live in such wealth that having parts ripped off of your vehicle only costs you four hours, a few dollars, and some annoyance at the hassle. I’m sure others in this scenario might be out a few days’ work, that vacation they’d been planning, their only method of commuting to work, or some combination of similar things. Instead I had only to worry about the rapidity with which the issue might resolve itself.
Secondly, at 8:00 I knew only that humanity was full of miscreants, thugs, and other generally horrible people. At noon I realized that every single person I had interacted with that day (with the exception of the sir or madam whose handiwork kick-started the events) had been genuinely helpful, and even relatively enthusiastic about being so. Even the people I only interacted with over the phone seemed sincerely empathetic to my plight. Some people (named Tanner Judkins and Heather and Kelly Bancroft) went far out of their way to make sure I did not have to walk to campus after getting things sorted out. I hope all these people will at some point know how they impacted one person’s day.
At certain points of today I was thinking about what I said yesterdayabout gun bans and the correction of human behavior, and found myself relating it to today’s events. What sorts of precautions would have prevented this theft from happening? Not in terms of parking my car indoors, or using alarms, but in terms of the preventing the decision to engage in the act of thievery. Clearly a ban on power tools would be overkill; here the distinction between the instrument and the act is very clear. I’m tempted to make the analogy power tools : theft :: guns : violence, but something inside me is telling me that the correlation is not necessarily 1:1 from electric drills to handguns..
At any rate, the process did afford me time to think about my assertions, so maybe you’ll see an update along those lines soon.