Street Crime vs White Collar Crime – Keeping our eyes on the prize

Last week I was the victim of a robbery.  I’ve worked in some rough neighborhoods in my time – and have never once been robbed.  So imagine my  surprise when my briefcase was snatched by a man on foot who then jumped into a car with an accomplice and drove off.

A good Samaritan  managed to observe the crime and took off after the robbers.  A high speed chase with several police cars and the good Samaritan ensued and the stoned robber was cornered in a neighboring town in what only can be described as a domestic version of “shock and awe.”  I was stunned at the man-power on the scene that was involved in recovering a stolen computer bag/briefcase.

Although I was grateful to get my iPhone back and my wallet and papers, had these  crime Lords gotten away – I would have been lighter about $600 and change.  It also has cost me in terms of business because of the time and hassle involved.

Eyes on the prize…

These were definitely bad guys…apparently they had a rap sheet as long as my arm and then some.

But I have to ask if we are keeping our eyes on the prize….I could have lost $600. So far, dealing with a substitute phone and a few other things have cost me about $200.  But what about the thousands in life savings that I and millions of others  lost when a few Wall Street robber barons managed to nearly drive the world economy into the abyss in 2008?

I don’t see any high-speed chases or even a few perp-walks coming from the white collar corner.  Why not?  The resources the put into apprehending these two stoned purse snatchers  could certainly be applied towards prosecuting the criminals who happen to wear suits and ties.

They are the real criminals and let us not underestimate the danger that they pose.  Taking down the entire world economy in the name of pure greed is quite an accomplishment – not to be taken lightly. Yet lightly is how they have been treated.  A slap on the wrist – a bit of public humiliation at Congressional hearings in front of a row  stoney eyed members of Congressmen – and they are back doing what they do best – fleecing the American middle class.

Shame and jail time worked in the Great Depression

We seem to be lacking a sense of inherent justice that existed in the Great Depression.  People were thrown in jail – their ill-gotten gains – or what was left of them were redistributed to their victims. The only good that can come from   a financial meltdown is that we can clean house and learn from our mistakes.  The Great Depression – terrible though it was – ushered in a new era of prosperity.  New regulations were put in place.  Banking became “boring” and the stock market rose and fell based on fundamentals not the whims of hedge fund managers.  The masses prospered.  This time, it appears we learned nothing. Everything is once again “bidness” as usual.  I haven’t seen so much as a perp walk and Wall Street is once again a giant casino.   Nothing is in place to prevent this from happening again. And next time it will be much worse because of the wealth and treasure lost in our present recession.

We only need the will to act…

Of course we lack the will.  The government has been so money soaked and laden with lobbyists that we completely lack the ability to insist that our leaders do the right thing.  What we the public wants or needs doesn’t seem to matter in the midst of the largesse these monied elite offer to our officials who are ever more  starved for campaign money.  And let’s not forget the the revolving door from representative to lobbyist.

Real Time with Bill Maher…

Bill Maher is having a “New Rules” Contest.  So I put in my “new rule” based on this experience and the musings above.  Here is the link if anyone is interested in voting for me.  One of the top 10 comments gets read on Bill Maher’s New Rules at the end of each month.  Here is my rule and the link to vote for it is posted below.

New Rule:  America has to start prosecuting Wall Street crime with the same zeal that they hunted down the stoned guy who snatched my briefcase.  Although I’m grateful that the police recovered my iPhone, this crime Lord cost me a grand total of $600.  But if they can do that, why can’t they chase down robber  barons that drove the world economy off a cliff? I would sleep better at night knowing that what is left of my life savings is out of their reach

If you feel this is good enough to vote for – Click here to vote!

Also – if you feel so inclined – add your own “New Rule” and let us know about it.  We can all vote for each other. Let’s have some fun….

© 2011 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to Street Crime vs White Collar Crime – Keeping our eyes on the prize

  1. Al in New York says:

    You mean to say Non of the Wall Street robber barons have gone to jail?
    Then again, as Captain Louis Renault might have said: “I’m shocked, shocked!, to learn that gambling is going on – on Wall Street!!”
    Then again, the “little people” aren’t all that important when it comes to financing election campaigns, are they…?

  2. Cletis says:

    Ruthmarie, we did act. We elected Barack Obama. We believed his heart was pure. It isn’t. We believed he was a spiritual man who valued integrity. He isn’t and he doesn’t. Not much more to say. Hopefully, one day, we will return to the polis. Be careful out there. I’ve grown fond of you.

  3. RMG says:

    Hi Al – thanks for stopping by – well that really is the problem. But by listening to the talking heads – the people of this country yielded up the hard-won power that took decades protests and blood to wring from the robber barons of the 19th century. So in the 1980s we foolishly thought we could control our own destinies – forgetting that the very regulations that we chafed against were the thing that allowed us the autonomy that we took for granted. The sharks were caged -not gone. It took 30 years – but now they have their robber baron economy back. Now you’ve got a court system staked against us – and they have ruled that corporations are “people” and impeding their God-given right to dump billions of their largesse into campaigns is unconstitutional. It will take decades of clawing to pull this back to where it should be. All because my generation walked through their teens, twenties and thirties in a stupor of complacency with our eyes wide shut.

    Hi Cletis – Being robbed that way doesn’t bother me. I worked in a very tough neighborhood for several years in the ninties when NYC was #2 for murder capital in the US. Its called I wasn’t paying attention because I didn’t think I had to. Now I’m paying attention – so it won’t happen again. Yes, we may return to Polis – but I think it will be a long fight. One of our Assembly members in Albany came to a meeting I attended. I won’t name names – in case he doesn’t want to be quoted. But he said something that I had felt for a long time. This is the gist though not a direct quote ‘This is a fight that we will be fighting for the rest of our lives. There is a strong minority – it is organized and it captures the ears of the swing voter (disengaged and angry). They feel that they can force America to make that final right turn that will solidify their power. They will not stop – so we can not stop. They see victory as being within their grasp.’ And they may be correct – because of how representation works – this group is disproportionately represented in Congress – and its getting worse due to gerrymandering. On the state and local level – we have no further than WI and OH to see what they do if they gain even a marginal majority.

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