Friday, January 11, 2013

Thou Shall Not Steal-Bundles of Hay

In case you needed anymore evidence that we are living in strange times comes this news out of the Western United States. According to a New York Times article I read, "Cash for Hay Driving Thieves To Move Bundles," apparently all across the West "ranchers, farmers and county sheriffs are grappling with a new scourge: hay rustling"  or the stealing of hay. Sadly, it seems that because of record droughts in the West (2012 was the hottest year in U. S. history) and grass fires, the price of hay, grain and animal feed has hit record levels which has caused some thieves and even desperate farmers to forget that stealing is both a crime and a sin. "It's the economics of the times" said Jack McGrath an under sheriff from Colorado who has seen a rise in hay thefts. Most often these thieves strike during the darkness of night, in remote areas, stealing everything from grapes, beehives, avocados, hay and even agricultural machinery, which is valuable for scrap metal.
What is this world coming to? Even in rural America, agricultural crime is on the rise. Farmers are having to padlock their gates, paint their bales of hay with their brand name, so they can be identified and even going so far as to placing "bugs" on bales of hay to trap thieves and track them down.
The Hebrew Bible as well as the New Testament has a number of verses warning against the negative consequences of stealing. The most famous of course is "Thou shall not steal" the seventh of the Ten Commandments. Pride causes people to think they can get away with stealing, but God says over and over again in the Bible,  there are dire consequences to taking what doesn't belong to you.
So when caught what did one thief tell the sheriff who had pulled him over, "Can I take it back?" And the sheriff said, "No!" Well, it's not that easy.....when you break the law, you just can't say, "I'm sorry."
A few more strange effects of global warming and drought-a loss of common sense, dignity and good decent values. The world needs prayer more than ever.

The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one's neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of one's labor. For the sake of the common good it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right of private property. 
(Catechism of the Catholic Church-2401)