Saturday, January 19, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 20: Spreading the Wealth

Stay warm, everyone. Spring’s comin’. In FAR Future, it’s about here.



Friday, March 8, 2013
Spreading the Wealth


This has been all over the local media. A gang of suburban “mainstream” (i.e. WASP) teenagers have been stealing all sorts of stuff that’s easy to fence these days — bikes, motorcycles, solar panels, siphoning gasoline, etc. — and either selling them to pay their parents’ utility bills, or giving them to neighbors who need some help. The parents had no idea what was happening. “We thought we’d been put on an assistance program, and to be honest, we didn’t want to ask questions in case it was a mistake,” said one weepy mom.

Opinion is running every which way. The media always uses the phrase “suburban teenagers,” which brings to mind your wholesome, blond-haired, blue-eyed A student looking forward to starting a “good” college and then a professional career. “Robin Hoods” is another phrase being beaten into the ground. It sort of fits; they were going into the hotsy-totsy developments, the country clubs and so forth. Through the winter, they posed as the gutter cleaning or landscaping services; some of them wore makeup to darken their skin (since Hispanic folks do most of the work) so nobody paid much attention to them. They took ladders, went up and actually did the work, then scarfed stuff and tossed it in the panel truck they were using. They didn’t rob each house they went to, either — which was smart, they had a little more leeway before they inevitably got caught.

They spread the proceeds around pretty thoroughly; like I said, they paid utility bills, gave solar panels to people who needed them, and not just to friends and neighbors. The Atlanta civil rights groups are defending them, saying they only did what should have been done in the first place (“made sure that people could keep their houses warm and the lights on”). Their victims, obviously, disagree. Seeing that the patron class were the primary victims, Shotgun Sam and the others are trying to push the idea that they were a gang of rogue teenagers who were in it for their own enrichment. Things got a little interesting when one caller objected: “It turns out they helped my Aunt May with her utility bills. They were about to cut off her gas, and those Robin Hood kids went in and took care of the bill for her. She’d’a froze to death without them doin’ something for her.”

“Well, she obviously has family — you, for example. Why didn’t you help her?”

“I didn’t know how bad off she was; I’m in Columbus and she didn’t say nothin’ to us.”

“So that means it’s OK for someone to give her stolen property?”

“Them people that they took the stuff from ain’t hurtin’ for nothin’. Why ain’t they helpin’ out? They can afford to.”

Sam stuttered for a moment. “Well… they didn’t have a chance, they got robbed before they could do anything. You ever think of that?”

Bleep. They ain’t gonna take their solar panels off their roof and give ’em to Aunt May. They’d’ve bought some for her, if they were gonna.”

Sam cut him off and went to a commercial break — a long one — then came back whining about the Wal-Marts that got closed. A few more people wanted to put in their two cents about the theft ring, but Sam insisted that they were on a new topic. When you’re losing the argument, change the subject. Another Wal-Mart closing is a topic that’s usually sure to get his listeners upset the way he wants them upset.

One of the TV stations pixellated one of the “Robin Hoods” and distorted her voice (I’m pretty sure it was a “she”) to get an interview. She said she’d do it again because it was the only way they could keep the lights on — for themselves and their neighbors. They know they’re in a big ol’ pile of trouble, but (she said) they did what they had to. They talked about quitting when the noose started to tighten, but then they saw that news piece about the people up north who died in the Arctic storm and decided they had to keep going to save lives. Some of the civil rights lawyers are offering pro bono defense, and one DA recused himself (it turns out the kids helped out one of his own relatives), so they might get a light sentence if they can find anyone who wants to be cast as the “Sheriff of Nottingham” and actually prosecute them.

What the country club set doesn’t seem to realize is that it’s their time to step up. If things get a lot worse than they are already, those guys will fall faster and land harder to get to the same level as everyone else — they need to start making friends before that happens.

continued…

9 comments:

  1. Hi FAR.

    Actually this is a Robin Hood tale and I like it. I don't really see it happening, but I do like it.

    In the FAR Future when things start getting tough, I see a darker future. I hope not, but that's what I'd put my money on.

    Anyway, I like the newest installment. Waiting for the next one now.

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  2. And that future is coming fast, I think...

    Another great episode, FAR.

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  3. Gee FAR, I liked you're Robin Hood tale! Perhaps your thoughts about the youger set, isn't that far off.

    I had a older,(much older)and very dear cousin named Dick. Anyway, Dick grew up here in the U.P. during the Depression. His favorite hobby was shooting deer and leaving the meat on door steps of the needy. Now Dick was pretty slick at avoiding the law, however I'd like to think those guy's were kinda look'en the other way!

    When Dick finally retired from down below, he came back here and picked right up, where he left off when he was a kid, leaving meat to the needy. I used to go out with him on such outings. Talk about an exciting way to spend an evening!

    Now he's gone and I'm wondering when will be the time, that I'll pick up were Dick, left off? I'd dare say that time is soon......

    Thanks, yooper

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  4. Hi all! and as always, thanks for reading.

    FM, check out Yooper's comment. Stuff like this goes on all the time, it just doesn't get the media "hook."

    KB, I've been thinking I should post links to real news items that relate in the intro notes. Thoughts?

    Yooper, Dick sounds like he was a big-hearted guy. Hats off to him. I wonder if he did similar stuff down below as well. If you do decide to pick up where Dick left off… be careful.

    One of the local charities set up something similar early in last year's deer season — drop off your deer, and they would butcher it & get the meat to people who needed it. But it was still in season, no "shining" (same as spotlighting) required.

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  5. I like this installment a lot, too, but I've always been a big Robin Hood fan. :)

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  6. Hey FAR, Yup, Dick was a big hearted guy and yup, his perfered method was shining while cruising two tracks. Guess, I won't be going about it that way, eh? Perhaps, I should explain to you're readers, we're a poor lot(monetary wise), here in the U.P. and deer do out number the people, if that makes a difference.

    No, Dick was a lineman in the Chesaning area. Ha! I doubt if he'd been able to get away with it there. ha!

    Sure like you're idea about solar panels. Just about a third of the homes in town still have the old type that date back from the seventies! ha! Nobody will be ripping those off! ha! This was when burning with wood was so popular, I can definitely see this in the near future easily, as it happened before. I'll have to check into these new models, especially if they'd provide enough power to run this little lap top.

    I can easliy see where someone would want to swipe the diesel generator I've got. I'll be installing this unit onto a concrete base, strapped in steel with two padlocks.

    Really like your thoughts about the country club bunch falling faser and harder to get to the same level as the rest of us! ha! We've been living in a depressed state for so long, um... let me put that another way..We've been living in this depressed State for so long, I wonder where we are to go from here? Like what's next? Just like the people that endured Katrina, people aren't concerned so much as to HOW we got here, but, WHERE are we going next?!!

    Thanks, yooper

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  7. That's an interesting twist, Far. Maybe the future won't be all doom and gloom. We'll just have to keep those solar panels well tied down.

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  8. Hey all!

    Glad you liked it, Jen.

    Yooper, are the solar panels you're talking about the hot-water heater kind? After 30 years, I think the electric panels would be dying off.

    Boran, that's the whole point… bad things happen, but good things will happen too. ;-)

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  9. Hello Far! Ya know, I don't know about those solar panels being the hot water kind, but, I'm going to find out. Mostly you see them attached to the southern facing sides and roofs of homes. I'll just bet, there was a tax break from the Gov. back then and that's why there is so many of them. Some are quite large being 10' by 15' and black. Kinda hard to rip-off, ha!

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