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$110 billion annually in shoplifting? Not really a problem, sez some social justice college professor . . .


[i][b]Photo above[/b] - abandoned, empty supermarket. If you are the last person to leave, would you please turn off the lights?[/i]

Do you shoplift for a living? If so, Alex Vitale – founder of the “Social Justice Project” at Brooklyn college - has your back. Professor Vitale says we're getting all worked up over nothing. That despite what we see in the news, shoplifting is normal human behavior, and should be decriminalized. See link at bottom.

First of all, I want to apologize for introducing the economic theories of some New York sociology professor into this forum. You'd expect someone with a PhD in wishful thinking to be clueless, and Alex Vitale does not disappoint on that score. But to be fair, the professor IS simply trying to make a buck hawking his latest book, “The End of Policing”. He's FOR less policing, not against it, in case you couldn't guess. But I'm sure Professor Vitale does NOT want you to shoplift his book. Perhaps you should buy it online through Amazon, and check your front stoop on delivery day and get to it before any porch pirates do. Better yet, purchase and read his book online, to avoid contributing to shoplifting - which shouldn't even be a crime in the first place. Physical bookstores are so 20th century, anyway.

[b]How much is $110 billion in shoplifting (excluding Amazon porch pirates)? About $1,000 for each American family [/b]- in higher prices to cover the cost of goods stolen. Whoa . . . when you put it that way, maybe shoplifting actually IS a problem. That's jacking up my grocery bill A LOT, professor!

Professor Vitale began his career in 1990 lobbying for the decriminalization of homelessness, graffiti, drug use, and prostitution. Buidling on his success in these areas, he's now advocating legalized retail theft. I have a question at this point, Professor: do you personally live in a building covered by graffiti, surrounded by meth/fentanyl users in tents, and streetwalkers 24/7? Be honest . . .

I'm guessing Professor Vitale's apartment looks pretty normal. If it is something out of a dystopian horror movie, I apologize - but I doubt that. If someone lives in a safe place, it's always easier to tell everyone else to suck it up. What's the adage? . . . “A conservative is a liberal who just got mugged!” (originator – mayor Frank Rizzo). Evidently $1,000 a year in higher prices due to shoplifting is okay, as long as nobody gets mugged. Wait . . . can we be sure the shoplifters aren't also muggers? Or street level drug dealers? Do shoplifters have a moral code, and confine themselves to pocketing cold medicine, liquor, and jumbo frozen shrimp?

[b]Okay snowflakes – you've waited patiently for my outrageous snark,[/b] and here it is: Why are things like steak, shrimp, liquor, iPhones, Nikes, and meth precursors the main targets of shoplifters? Are we to conclude that the Food Stamp program is falling short of basic human needs? Maybe if we implement universal basic income, people will stop shoplifting, dealing drugs, and muggings? Okay – I had to get that one out of my system - let's continue.

Professor Vitale evidently doesn't think that store closures – creating food deserts in urban areas – will be a problem for residents who live there. Maybe if we stop arresting shoplifters, we should also make it illegal for those stores to flee, or go bankrupt? If they do go bankrupt, maybe the government should build a grocery store of its own there? Chicago has a new program to experiment with this - city run supermarkets. Because, you know, the city of Chicago is doing so well with public schools, affordable housing, and crime that they have extra resources to try their luck at milk, eggs, and bread . . . ?

I wish Chicago good luck with their grocery store adventure - honestly. I only ask that the Mayor and City Council contact Professor Vitale before they have their grand opening. Ask the professor if he wants the city to look the other way if shelves are stripped bare by decriminalized shoplifters. If that starts to happen, then store prices paid by anyone NOT shoplifting are going to need a re-think.

I'm just sayin' . . .

[b][u]What America’s shoplifting panic is really about | CNN Business[/u][/b]
SunshineGirl · 36-40, F
I think the point of the professor's thesis is that criminalising activity which stems from poverty and structural inequality in society does little but reinforce conservative prejudice. Unless you subscribe to the belief that homelessness, drug addiction and petty theft are "lifestyle choices", locking poor people up for these offences makes little sense.

And the idea that homelessness/'vagrancy' is a criminal act should be consigned to the 19th century where it belongs.

How about the private sector has a go at running the public education system in struggling localities (as opposed to just creaming off the easy bits)?
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@SunshineGirl yet the professor offers ZERO evidence himself to refute the constant press coverage of california shoplifting, smash and grab, armed carjackings . . .

[u][b]There IS no practical difference between legalizing and decriminalization[/b][/u]. you don't go to jail in either case.
SunshineGirl · 36-40, F
@SusanInFlorida Yes, I noticed that. He is a sociologist rather than an economist . .

Crimes involving violence usually do require prison sentences. For non-violent offenders who do not necessarily need to be removed from society, prison serves no objective beyond the desire for retribution. And it is a very expensive way of achieving that, which often impacts on family (hence it being disproportionate to the actual offence). Other forms of justice exist.
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@SunshineGirl i'm not saying shoplifters MUST go to jail. I'm saying they must be arrested if caught/detained. either by store security or legitimate police. At least they should get a written citation. If they came to steal and left their ID at home, THEN they can go to the station and be processed against mug shots/fingerprints of wanted felons.
onewithshoes · 22-25, F
If shoplifting were legalised, no one would ever want to own any kind of retail business, and then very soon none of us would have any place to shop for anything.
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@onewithshoes our political class is completely disassociated with the activities that make an economy function. cost of goods sold; store security; rent; utilities; taxes;
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@joe438 i didn't know you could use baby formula to manufacture drugs. what kinds?
joe438 · 61-69, M
@SusanInFlorida I suspect that some steal it to feed babies but that most steal it to sell on the black market. The 20-something guys captured on all of those videos stealing formula by the wagonful are clearly not feeding babies.

Making drugs? I doubt it could be used that way but babies are really at processing it into an amazing stink that could be handy at mostly peaceful protests.
joe438 · 61-69, M
Thank you for that post. People really ought to steal copies of his book and give it away for free to see how he likes that. What a maroon.
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@joe438 in the 1960s or 70s, abbie hoffman wrote a book and titled it "steal this book". it was basically a how-to manual for committing petty larceny and fraud - counterfeiting, bad checks, slugs instead of coins, shoplifting, etc.

no publisher would touch it, so abbie hoffman published it himself. it sold a quarter million copies. the number stolen is unknown.
FloorGenAdm · 51-55, M
I wonder if it's really that bad or just an excuse to raise prices and lay a guilt trip on consumers.
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@FloorGenAdm if it was just a scheme to raise prices, there wouldn't be so many reports of store closings.
The middle class thinks its time to pummel the poor when they see shoplifting.
I'm fine paying extra for you to back off.
SusanInFlorida · 31-35, F
@Roundandroundwego i doubt you pay for anything. i suspect you are a net recipient of government outlays, who doesn't pay taxes.
@SusanInFlorida whatever you like, it'd be the middle class killing Murka. And you lie badly and about people who are way better than most. Lolz. Killer empires instead of socialist countries is your success, never mine.
Obviously you can never agree on a ceasefire or a plan to kill the suburbs and have life on earth. You can't agree to anything. Murkans kill a whole world to rule it. Yup.

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