Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Profiling Cases of Greed

Most of us struggle daily with a fault called greed. Some fight with themselves over that extra slice of pizza or cheese cake, some fight with returning that $10 bill to the owner who dropped it unnoticed in front of us, some fight to not look at the smart guy's work next to us in class to get a better grade, some fight with making unbecoming remarks about a co-worker to get ahead on the job, and some of us haven't figured out that in this day and age of carnage (due to bombs made creatively using common products) that buying in mass quantity to save a buck or make a buck can land you in hot water.

As you all might recall the price of fuel skyrocketed in our not-so-distant past. The price of fuel is lower here in Oklahoma than in most coastal states and greed caught up with a man in Oklahoma City. He saw the prices and decided to "fill up" to save a few bucks. Filling up multiple DRUMS of fuel that is. Local authorities in Oklahoma City were tipped off by Love gas station employees which led to an all points bulletin, which led to the man being stopped and detained by police until he could account for himself. No he wasn't a bomber, yes he was horrified he was suspected of being one, and when he admitted his purchases were based on greed (ah, that act of coveting can get us all) he was rightfully ashamed and mortified that his greed caused so much notoriety for himself. Since the Oklahoma City bombing in which Timothy McVey mixed two drums of diesel fuel with fertilizer, stocking up on either item to save a buck can lead you down the road to misery.

Now we got a similar case in the news. Of course there is a twist to it. The purchase of 80 disposable cell phones by three young men of Palestinian descent flagged Walmart employees in Michigan to notify authorities. When the three were located by authorities, they were found to have 1000 cell phones in their possession. They claim that they were purchasing them to take back to Texas where they lived to resell for a profit of $5 a piece. Interestingly enough, no where in the news reports has it been reported that they intended to claim on income tax returns what would have amounted to a positive cash flow of nearly $5,000. Greed does not pay. While the three now sit in a jail cell, they have been given an opportunity to think about it hard. Authorities, who initially suspected the trio of possible terrorism (cell phones make handy little detonation devices), are now leaning towards accepting the story of greed the young men are claiming.

In the latter case, the young men are howling that they were picked up because of their ethnic origins in a brazen case of profiling by authorities. Of course the media has played that point to the hilt with coverage blasting across both national and international media networks. In the former case, the guy stopped was described as a middle aged white guy who looked "unclean". Oddly enough, no one including the guy himself, claimed at the time that he was a victim of profiling associated to the poor white trash guy look Timothy McVey conveyed in 1993. This story barely got covered locally by the media and hiccuped across a few state line media sources.

When a person gives it any thought at all, a body might reach the conclusion that using the defense that being "profiled" to cover an act (such as in this case of greed) is itself a greedy form of self-centeredness and self-preservation. Pointing fingers at others (the way these guys are attempting to do) takes the focus off the real issue of their being just plain greedy and trying to make a fast buck on tax-free cash deals.

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 7:20 AM