Finally, the glitch was fixed. One woman, at the end of her $700 transaction, was discovered to have a .49 cent balance on her now restored EBT card. .49 CENTS! And yet, she had filled her cart with over $700 of government assistance approved groceries. This woman knew she had only a .49 cent balance on her EBT card, but she chose to take advantage of a glitch in the system to steal $700.
And really, why would we expect anything different. Every day, millions of people in our country take money they didn't earn and consume services they didn't pay for. Our government, in their misguided attempt to provide a social safety net, has encouraged generations of Americans to become thieves. We have taught people to freely take - no, demand - what they didn't earn. We have taught them that they are incapable of providing for themselves short of voting for the politician that will provide them with the biggest "paycheck". Our government has encouraged promiscuity, slothfulness and lying. They have invested billions to ensure a compliant, dependent citizenry, all under the guise of helping the "underprivileged".
And how do the "underprivileged" return the favor? They steal from the government (that's us, by the way) any and every chance they get. And why not? The government set the example by stealing money (they like to call it taxes) and spending it with absolutely no accountability.
When I heard of the Walmart raids, I thought of an Aesop Fable I had read to my children when they were little. It is called....
The Scorpion and the Frog
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry it across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too".
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they will both drown, but has just enough time to gasp, "why?"
Replies the scorpion "It is my nature...."
The folks that rushed to buy groceries that they knew they weren't "entitled" to were that scorpion. They did it because that is their nature. They are used to spending money that they didn't earn, so if they have the opportunity to do it on a larger scale, they most certainly will.
Years ago, Sir Knight and I had the opportunity to spend time with a troubled young couple. They had two small children and a history of bad decisions. Although living as husband and wife, they were not married and every disagreement or argument ended in one of them leaving, at least for a short while. She had a history of drug abuse but was actively staying clean. He was young and hotheaded and had no idea how to be a father or a husband. For some reason, they found Sir Knight and I and our family fascinating. Every time we bumped into each other, they asked us questions. Questions about parenting, relationships and what a family was supposed to look like. Sir Knight and I became convinced that were supposed to minister to this couple in whatever small capacity we could. It was messy. Frequently we had crying children and hysterical parents on our doorstep. I spent hours teaching the mother how to cook and how to love her children. Sir Knight spent hours teaching the husband how to lead and how to serve. This couple disrupted our lives. They required time and energy. But they were put in our path and we believed that it was our duty to walk along side them.
One evening, the mother called in tears because she didn't have the money to buy her children diapers. She couldn't afford to feed her baby. If we could just help her make it to the end of the month, she would never ask us for anything, ever again. After quickly discussing the situation with Sir Knight, I told her I would come to her house and help her shop. Because we weren't made of money, I gathered up a stash of diapers I had tucked away, a bit of baby rice, a few other necessities, piled them into the truck and set off to pick her up. Thankful as she was, she was certain I didn't need to accompany her to the grocery store. I could just leave the $100 with her and she would take care of the shopping.
I told her that I couldn't do that. It was my job to be a good steward over what God had provided for us and I would be remiss in my duty just to hand it over, with no questions asked. I would go to the store with her and help her do her shopping. Our shopping excursion was a real eye-opener. This young mother had very expensive tastes. She wanted the most expensive baby wipes, the most expensive boxed cereal and the most expensive pre-packaged meals available. She wanted to buy a movie for herself (it would help her get her mind off her troubles) and a 12 pack of beer for her boyfriend (it really mellowed him out). She wanted to spend my money on things my own family went without.
We did finally make it through our shopping trip. The boxed cereal had been replaced with oatmeal, the pre-packaged meals with raw ingredients and the expensive baby wipes with their inexpensive counterparts. We decided to forgo the movie and the beer and instead settled for another package of diapers and some tea that she could share with her husband. It was not the charity she wanted but it was the charity she needed.
I believe in charity. I believe that charity should be administered in person, one-on-one. I believe that charity is messy and complicated and that one size doesn't fit all. I think that when you are on the receiving end of charity you don't get everything you want, but you will get everything you need. I think that without accountability there is no such thing as charity, it is only legalized theft. And I think legalized theft is soul destroying.
We have become a nation of scorpions and frogs. I, for one, choose to be neither.