Dear people who buy stolen goods,

… You are the reason why the world is still suffering! Seriously!
Okay, if you bought a stolen good not knowing it was stolen, I will leave you alone this time. But you people who buy stolen things knowing very well where they came from, I seriously hope you do not come back and complain about crime, theft, insecurity and whatnot! Because you are the ones encouraging all those activities!

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You’re probably wondering where all this is coming from. Well, I just lost my phone 😞 But I’m not yet convinced it has been be stolen and that I may never see it again, especially since I haven’t yet seen it go online on any of the tracking systems I had installed on it for cases like this. I guess I’ll eventually get over it, when I give up looking for it in places I know I didn’t take it the day I lost it (you can never be 100% sure). It always takes me time to accept that something (or someone) is really gone.

So while I was mourning over its loss, I remembered my old laptop, my iPad and my external HD that got stolen from me all in one day, earlier this year (is this a curse or what?!). I started wondering what the thief did with them, if he sold them or decided to keep them for himself. Point to note that the guy was “kind” enough to leave my passport (which was in the laptop bag that got stolen) somewhere someone (i.e. the police) could find it and return it to me… weeks after I had managed to make my way home.
Anyway, if the criminal decided to keep the stolen goods for himself, then fair enough: it’s not like I would expect much from him anyway. But what if he sold them to someone, and that person very well knew that the stuff he was buying had been stolen? What kind of person would they be?

A few years ago I was getting my haircut and my barber showed me a new but slightly used iPhone that he was selling. My immediate reaction was to question how he could afford such a phone and where he had found it, unlocked (this was a few years ago, before guys at every street corner knew how to unlock an iPhone). As I set to “explore” the phone, the first thing I noticed was an SMS asking whoever had “found it” to return it, with the promise of a reward. You can guess I was shocked. Mbo, I know my barber isn’t the type to steal phones; he probably bought it from the thief, narirya the barber shop is right next to a popular “second hand phones” market… But surely he had seen the message! And decided to keep the phone anyway! Basi WHY hadn’t he erased it?!

I looked at the message, looked at him, and looked at the message again. I sat there for a few seconds wondering where to start telling him how the whole situation was wrong. But surely he knew it was wrong?! Trying to sell me a phone that had a message from it’s owner asking for it to be returned?! Without a word, I handed him back the phone and acted like nothing had happened. Until this day I ask myself whether I should have looked up the number that had sent the SMS and tell the person that I had seen the phone somewhere. But what would have that made me? A snitch? Nobody likes a snitch. And surely they would have harassed me into showing them who I had seen the phone with and where, and that would have put me in bad terms with my barber. Did I want that? No. Can my not doing anything about it be qualified as complicity to theft? I don’t know… Maybe.

What I’m certain qualifies as complicity to theft (well, according to my morals and ethics, which I believe are common sense), is buying stolen merchandise! Like WHY would anyone do that? Like how does a person feel when they know that the thing they are parading in/with was stripped from someone else? And this doesn’t just end with stolen phones, laptops and iPads. The more I think about it, the more I realise it comes down to anything and everything done and/or acquired illegally.

How does a person feel when they know they are enjoying their lives at the expenses of other peoples’ joy or even lives? How do they expect the story to end? I know I’m starting to sound like a thirteen years old boy scout who still believes in world peace, or a fifty years old hippie who only showers once every two months to stop global warming, but am I not making sense?

How different is the person who buys a stolen phone, from the politician who has built a mansion from corruption money? Aren’t they both benefiting from other peoples’ miseries? You could argue that the span of the actions differ greatly, but ceteris paribus theft is theft and complicity to theft is complicity to theft, no matter how you look at it, whether you’re standing upside down or on your two feet!

So what do you call a person who buys stolen goods but still demands integrity and transparency from everybody else, including leaders? I call it double standards. I call it asking somebody to get rid of a system that you’re feeding every single day! I call it shooting the gun, and then complaining when somebody shoots back! I call it worrying about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own! I call it being pathetic! I call you the reason why the world can never become a better place! I call you… ugh, never mind! God is watching you!

P.S. If you see my phone, please let me know. It’s a fairly beat Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. It’s really not worth much now, considering the physical and moral/software suffering I’ve put it through. But I still love and need it :/ Thank you.

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2 thoughts on “Dear people who buy stolen goods,

  1. I suppose you could push the argument to include products/services manufactured by children, or in factories with very very cheap labor… That’s why the Fair Trade movement is growing, particularly in developed countries as people become more conscious of what behavior they are encouraging with their hard-earned money.

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