What Was Actually Stolen

By Jason Menard

Just when you want to hope for the best in this world, someone comes around and makes you question whether good truly exists.

Earlier this week, my wife was robbed outside our home. The thief physically only walked away with a portable Nintendo DS Lite system. But emotionally the toll he took was far greater. To the man who robbed my wife this week, here’s a list of what you stole.

You stole confidence. That woman you robbed was outside her home late at night for two reasons: pain and suffering. Due to the continued effects of a traffic accident almost four years ago, my wife experiences crippling pain that’s barely dulled by significant amounts of medication. As such, sleep comes fleetingly, and discomfort is the norm. Combine that with medicinal side-effects including a feeling of internal heating that’s disproportionate to the actual temperature, and that explains why she – like hundreds of other nights – was sitting alone outside her own home. Yet still, despite being racked with pain, she fought back – unsuccessfully. But in that one brief exchange, she showed more humanity than you will ever know.

You stole security. A home is supposed to be one’s sanctuary, but by committing such a vile act just outside of our home, you’ve robbed a number of people of that sense of security that is one’s right. My wife, my children, and I now are more wary of stepping out our doors. The night that was once so welcome is now merely foreboding.

You stole pride. A woman struggling with an injury that already causes her to question her value now must deal with the fact that you placed her in a situation that rendered her helpless. A man, who slept through the whole ordeal – familiar with his wife’s nocturnal wanderings and no longer fazed by them – feels less of a husband due to his inability to protect his family.

You stole sanctuary. Your act was not just physical. It was emotional. While the robbery only took 10 seconds of your life, it was replayed in my wife’s mind all night and will continue to haunt her anytime she sees someone in a dark, hooded coat sweater. I, sitting at work, no longer can feel as assured that my family is secure – the questions will always linger.

You stole innocence: And this may be a good thing, in the long run. It can be argued that no one should put themselves in a position of risk – but one’s home should be exempt from that. Your act changed that. No place is safe anymore, save for our own vigilance. And vigilant we will be.

In the end, my wife did nothing wrong. In merely trying to live her life and cope with the side effects of another person’s mistake, she became the victim of someone else’s malice. You spoke no words, but your actions speak volumes. You disappeared into the night, but remain ever present in our thoughts and minds. To you, my family meant nothing. And you, who once meant nothing to us, are now an unwelcome part of our lives.

That system you stole was worth $150 at most. In the end, was it worth it? You’ve mortgaged your soul for a cheap toy. But the cost to us is immeasurable. What we’ve lost physically is nothing. What we’ve lost in terms of hope for the world, trust in our fellow man, and belief in the future is priceless.

That’s a debt you could never repay – even if you were so inclined. But for one to be so morally bankrupt as to take advantage of an injured person, then the concept of honouring one’s debt is not one that comes to mind. But who knows, maybe you’ll read this and the faint beating of that cold heart will start pounding through your callous exterior. Perhaps knowing your victims had faces, names, and feelings will stop you from believing that your actions have no lasting impact. Maybe, just maybe, you can repay the debt you owe us by becoming a better person and not putting anyone else through this torment.

Forgive me, however, for not holding out hope.

We will come out of this stronger, eventually. The one thing you cannot steal is our family’s bond and love for each other. We will be more vigilant and we will protect each other better because you’ve stolen more than just a video game – you stole our belief in a better world.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

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