Wednesdays at the LaFollette Press can be stressful.
That is the day we put the newspaper together. So needleless to say when the day is over, we are exhausted.
Last Wednesday was no different. It had been a protracted day that had its share of problems.
But when I arrived home I learned the problems weren’t over.
When I pulled onto the carport, I immediately noticed something was wrong. The grill was no longer blocking the door to the utility room and there was more space on the carport.
Then it hit me.
My sons’ bicycles were gone.
The three of us bailed out of the car and began looking around the yard for the bicycles.
Around the house, we went in semi -unison. My oldest son quickly broke off from us returning to the carport.
It was then he let me know what else was missing.
An ax, some hand tools and a leaf blower had been taken from the utility room. I won’t repeat the chain of expletives that left my mouth.
But I was beyond angry.
The ax and hand tools belonged to my deceased father; the leaf blower had been a gift from him shortly before he died.
The thieves didn’t just take our “stuff.” They took items that meant something to us.
And what makes it worse was they stole from us in the middle of the afternoon. After going back over the timeline of the day we deduced the bicycles and yard tools had to have been taken within a two-hour timeframe.
Talk about insult to injury.
A thief had the nerve to walk onto our carport, steal our “stuff” and didn’t even wait for the cover of darkness to do it.
With the knowledge that getting stolen items back is crapshoot, we filed the necessary paperwork. The boys described their bicycles in great detail to the deputy who came to our house. And boys being boys they remarked at least their scooters weren’t stolen.
Knowing what I know about crime in this county, I realize property crimes are just a symptom of another problem- addiction.
But you know what? I don’t care what someone else’s problem is. Their lack of self control is their issue. That doesn’t give anyone the right to steal or make their problem mine.
Need to feed your addiction? Pick up cans off the side of the road, roll pennies, I don’t care just leave my stuff and me alone.
Some of the items that were taken had extreme sentimental value to my family. The thieves who took them just saw something to sell -- a way to grab an easy dollar.
That makes me sick.
I know what a cold, ugly world we live in. I report on it everyday.
But it is far too early for my children to learn that lesson.
Wednesday night after we had filed the report and I had cussed, kicked, and even cried a few tears of anger I thought the ordeal was over. But around 9 p.m. my youngest son looked at me and asked if the police had found their bicycles yet. He had tears in his eyes.
For a brief moment, I wished the thief could know the anguish he had caused. Then I caught myself.
If a person could take “stuff” from a home, from a child, then the tears of the same child would be meaningless to him.
We can say that addiction belongs to the person struggling with it.
But in the end it affects all of us.