Justice served

Normally it is considered bad manners to ridicule someone for the way they have killed themselves, but I can't help feeling some satisfaction with this Darwin award: a metal thief dies when trying to steal 240 VAC electricity for his power jigsaw using snap-on cables designed for 12 V.

The emergence of metal theft is a sign of a disintegrating society in West Europe. Some of these audacious thieves have appeared also in Finland, disassembling e.g. copper and iron from roofs and garden fences. In a rather amusing episode, the organised and tax-funded supporters of illegal migrants ended up having parts of the copper roof of their social center stolen.

In England, metal thieves are a much bigger problem, now "recycling" everything from electric and communication cables (disused or active), railways (the rails, I mean), church bells, garden gates and even plaques from war memorials. England built a welfare society before us, and is now reaping the harvest before us. Sweden's there, too.  But we are catching up. And so is Austria, where someone stole the organ pipes from a church to sell as scrap metal.

Sure, metal theft has been a problem all the time in Russia, for instance, up to a 200 tonne bridge vanishing overnight. But that I see is more "normalnaya situatsiya", to be expected in post-Communist countries. We know the societies somewhat collapsed and public and private property was for anyone to grab if you just could. Why do we allow that to happen in formerly prosperous Western societies?

The sentences these people get for theft are generally laughable. They are no deterrence. The inability of our justice system to react to this kind of intolerable insolence is a partial explanation for why China and other emerging economies are catching up and overtaking. Sure, there is corruption there as well, but it isn't tolerated like here.

The coroner's comments for the demise of our jigsaw hero tell us how difficult it is for the officialdom to understand how deep we are:

''I very much hope that anyone who has been here today or reads the reports gives cause to consider the perils of trespassing unlawfully on to a property and then engaging in an activity like this.
''It is an absolute tragedy that this has happened. It is a senseless waste of a young life.''

No, it wasn't an absolute tragedy. It was a rather logical consequence of having a society where schools fail and the justice system is no longer capable of delivering justice. And I think this coroner is misguided in his belief that the metal thieves are going to read coroner's reports. I very much doubt they read absolutely anything.

There's one thing I wonder. Why aren't the metal recyclers, who buy obviously stolen material, prosecuted? Is recycling and material re-use such a holy cow that it's above any and all investigations?

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