Friday, July 29, 2022

Andy Young: Searching for sympathy, but finding none

By Andy Young

One hot afternoon last week I pedaled over to the local post office, intending to mail a package. Looking for shade, I parked my bike under a tree. Not 10 feet away from me, parked next to the curb, was a red BMW with the motor running. No one was inside it. I’m not sure how long it had been there, but it wasn’t until I had gotten off the bike, had some water, removed my helmet, gloves, and sunglasses, gotten the package (and my wallet) out of my backpack and arrived at the front door that a man sauntered out, climbed back into the car, and after a few seconds (presumably to change the radio station or readjust the thermostat) blithely drove off.

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was recently 
 a robbery victim when his Rolls Royce was broken
into by a thief. COURTESY PHOTO
Selfishness and disdain for the environment aren’t crimes. However, given the current heat waves and droughts currently plaguing nearly every country in the northern hemisphere, maybe they should be.

I am opposed to crime.

I don’t approve of armed robbery, extortion, or pyramid schemes. I heartily condemn credit card fraud and identity theft. I’m anti-shoplifting, anti-blackmail, and unalterably opposed to all violent crimes. I decry child abuse, spousal abuse and elder abuse, particularly that last one, as it becomes, with each passing year, the specific type of abuse that I myself am most eligible for.

That established, it would seem to follow that my heart would go out to victims of evildoers, and it almost always does. But every so often I learn about a situation where, try as I might, I cannot conjure up any sympathy for the target of a lawbreaker.

Take the case of 24-year-old Kahlil Eugune Mathis, who was recently arrested by the sheriff’s department of Jacksonville (Florida) and charged with stealing $650,000 worth of jewelry from a Rolls Royce belonging to Wander Franco, a major league baseball player for the Tampa Bay Rays. Security camera footage shows Mr. Mathis, wearing dark clothing and a mask, approaching Mr. Franco’s car with a wrench, and subsequently running from the scene carrying a safe full of valuables.

Among the stolen items: a $70,000 gold and diamond medallion spelling “FRANCO 5” (his uniform number) in green and blue lettering; a $300,000 gold- and diamond-encrusted chain and circle medallion with a “W” in the center; a $200,000 rose gold Cuban link chain; a $44,000 Rolex watch; a $5,000 gold Tom and Jerry necklace; a pair of league championship rings, valued at $20,000 each; and a $60 safe containing all that jewelry.

I don’t feel I have the right to dictate to other people how they should spend their money; after all, I know how I’d feel if someone tried to mandate how I use mine. However, in spite of the fact that Mr. Franco was clearly the victim of a crime, I can’t help wondering if anyone really needs all that bling. Is it wrong to conclude that Mr. Franco is a tad selfish? If he is, there’s good news: he’s only 21 years old, so he’ll have plenty of time to outgrow it.

I had an odd thought after reading the story about that robbery: since he’s currently on the injured list, I wondered if maybe if the guy who left his car running outside the post office last week was Mr. Franco himself. It probably wasn’t, though. There's no reason why he’d have been in Maine. Plus, the fellow who got in that car looked a lot older than 21. And besides, what self-respecting, gold-chain-wearing professional athlete would be seen driving something as cheap as a BMW? <

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