A while ago I read a bit of news about apple thieves. The piece, from Atlas Obscura, told of a gal, driving a Mercedes which indicates her level of income, who was caught by the police after she pilfered a bag’s worth of apples from a Massachusetts orchard.
Why do folks think such road-side produce is theirs for the taking? Like Massachusetts, New York is big orchard and farm country. Nothing like the vast acres of fields further west, but important none the less. When we lived in upstate New York, a local farmer planted a field of field corn, feed for livestock, by the end of our dirt road. He, probably like many other farmers, had to plant sweet corn in the first few rows surrounding the field. If he didn’t do this, thieves who didn’t like the feed corn would trash the field. Go figure.
The piece included this bit:
When someone at his farm catches a thief they almost always plead ignorance. “Oh, I didn’t know they were somebody’s apples,” he says they tell him. His response? “Well that’s kind of stupid.”
Stupid? It’s downright self-serving. We passed that corn field each growing season for twenty years, and never even thought to take an ear or two. That gal didn’t just wander down that road by chance: she’d probably gone by several times. She, like others of her mind set, knew it was an orchard, not just a lone old apple tree still putting out fruit in an abandoned field by the side of the road.
Each time I hear a story like this one I am appalled and annoyed all over again. What are these people thinking? Then I just calm down and realize once again that this is the way a lot of the world works. It’s the way the world has been working more and more of late. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, every radical group, thinks it’s entitled. It stinks!