Letter to the editor regarding stolen laptop materials in the Brown library:
Thursdays I spend most of the day in the library and always check out one of the laptops and head up to the Stanley Theological Reading Room.
This last time when I asked for a mouse and power cord, I was informed that those items are no longer being checked out because “people keep stealing them.”
I felt irritated on a shallow level at first because I hate the small touch-pads on most laptops.
But then I began to feel a deeper sense of anger, frustration and shame.
I am a graduate student with a family and can not afford a laptop right now, so I enjoy the convenience of checking one out at the library.
I am also an alumnus of ACU (class of ’99) and have a respect for and pride in this institution.
The changes that have been made in the library since I was an undergrad are amazing.
At the risk of sounding like an old man, I wonder if younger students realize the extent of the improvements to the library.
No one can tell me I am being moralistic about a gray area.
Stealing for personal gain is immoral and a sin. ‘Don’t steal’ was one of the first laws God instituted for Israel.
But Jesus took it a step further and told his followers that they should be the ones getting ripped off.
“If anyone sues you and takes your coat, let him have your cloak also.” (Matt 5.40) He means that “do not steal” is not enough, but that we should make sure the injury falls on us before someone else.
The people who have stolen a mouse or a power cord probably do not think it is a big deal because ACU has money and can just buy more.
But what they do not realize is that they are not hurting ACU, they are hurting other students.
And all the justification in the world does not make stealing right.
I doubt these thieves are selling their booty to feed the homeless.
A saint once wrote, “Theft is punished by thy law, O Lord, and by the law written in men’s hearts, which not even ingrained wickedness can erase.
“For what thief will tolerate another thief stealing from him? Even a rich thief will not tolerate a poor thief who is driven to theft by want.
“Yet I had a desire to commit robbery, and did so, compelled to it by neither hunger nor poverty, but through a contempt for well-doing and a strong impulse to iniquity.”
St. Augustine wrote this after recalling how he stole not some grand thing but some pears when he was a young man.
Augustine believed he stole because he loved evil. We believe we steal because we want to or needto do so. I think Augustine had it right.
I call on those who stole from the rest of us to return what you have stolen.
Not because it is what’s right, it is, but to prove to yourself that you love good and not evil.
Trust has already been broken and will probably not be restored to those of us who did not steal, but this is about you who have stolen, not those of us who have not.