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To Steal or Not to Steal

Updated on May 18, 2013

Do we ever have a legitimate reason to steal? There are many different reasons people steal things. Most times we automatically assume stealing is wrong and should never be condoned but what about someone who steals to feed their family? Surely this is a good reason, or is it?

What is stealing? The dictionary explains it as taking (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force. Are there different levels of justification for stealing? Many would agree that killing is justified when it comes to self-defense. Therefore, could stealing also be warranted based on the situation?

Surely stealing from the cookie jar should not be compared to stealing a pension fund but do they both weigh the same on the morality scale? What about taking a pen from work as compared to cheating on your taxes? These are both crimes but are they considered stealing? Some would argue that there is no victim therefore there is no crime.

Could stealing small items like pens be a gateway to stealing larger ticket items? What about the theft of intellectual property? Are we allowed to steal people’s thoughts and ideas? While there are laws and copyright restrictions which protect certain ideas, is it alright to steal those thoughts that are not copyrighted?

We live in a society where we glamorize the notion of Robin Hood. Is stealing from the rich and giving to the poor really a noble venture and something we want to teach to our children? Could this concept ever be allowed or authorized? If so, where would we draw the line? Would identity theft then be condoned if it were committed by a person with less means than the victim?

History tells us that surely stealing is wrong. In the days of the old west, stealing a horse would get you hung. Even in modern times, in some cultures, stealing will result in getting your hand cut off! With those types of consequences why would people risk stealing?

Some people are robbed of their innocence, is this the same as stealing? This may have even a more profound effect than the theft of material items and may be felt a lifetime. Then of course there are those who steal our hearts. Is there a punishment that would be considered appropriate for these types of crimes?

We may never know the answers to many of these thought-provoking questions. However, the best course of action may be to teach future generations not to steal - period.

What do you think?

Do you think there are legitimate reasons to steal?

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    • Cutters profile image

      Cutters 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for the Hub link! I think it is wrong. There are many things a person can do to get help if their family is starving. Worse case YES I would steal food to feed my family and when things get better I would go and pay the store back. But I hope that never happens. Thanks for the great Hub.

    • profile image

      PD 6 years ago

      I think it's morally wrong, but rationally justifiable. :-)

    • profile image

      mountainmike1 6 years ago

      If a desperately poor person steals from a very wealthy person it's still not right but that scenario may be the "least wrong" as the impact to the wealthy person would be limited.

    • KevinC9998 profile image

      KevinC9998 6 years ago

      Thanks, I appreciate your comments! Kevin

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      You are a thinker! And raise a great question. I would imagine aperson starving (as in Somalia) would be tempted to steal, however there are others wasy to go about getting what one wants. I voted NEVER, but would not condemn others as this is not entirely black and white here. It’s great to see a new HUBBER and welcome to HUB writing. I came across this HUB by accident and then I found I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and awesome.” I'm always your fan! RJ

      Based upon your HUB, you might enjoy this HUB…

    • SuperheroSales profile image

      SuperheroSales 6 years ago

      This was a very interesting hub. You provided some great questions that help people think about stealing from all different angles and the degrees of seriousness of stealing. I like one kind of stealing- when my favorite basketball team steals the ball from the other team. :D