Some tools were stolen from me today.

The unfortunate part is that they were stolen while I was doing volunteer work. Not only were they stolen by someone who lived in the area I was volunteering my time and effort to help, but they were the very tools I was using to help them. They had my name on them and were taken right out of my tool belt while I was working in another area.

That's gratitude for you.

Although I'm upset, I can't blame anyone for this. Poverty creates problems, including crime, especially petty theft. If poverty didn't create problems I wouldn't be volunteering to help combat it in the first place. This is simply one of the hazards that should reasonably be expected by the nature of the work I'm doing.

In the nature vs. nurture debate, I come down on the nurture side. It is of course a question of degree, but my feelings are that humans are by nature greedy and lazy, and only by the introspection and desire for self-fulfillment that comes with a higher quality of life do we freely (as opposed to for fear of punishment) adopt the rules and behaviors of a more civilized society. Ultimately, the question of who we become is determined by how we react to our experiences, and what the results of those reactions are. The ability to take control of our reactions (rather than react unthinkingly) and adequately analyze the long-term results (not just the obvious short-term results) is determined by the quality of life we are experiencing. Higher quality of life, better education, and more introspection thus leads to more civilized and moral behavior.

The total value of the stolen tools is less than $30, although they were part of a set and will be difficult to replace with new ones that will fit the original slots. It's not the price or inconvenience that bothers me, it's the idea that it could happen under these circumstances. The right thing to do, the thing that I believe will help prevent this from happening again, is to continue my volunteer work, help reduce the crushing debt these people live under, and improve their quality of life.

I want to help create a neighborhood in which someone can leave a couple of tools unattended, indoors, with people around, and not worry about them disappearing.