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Christian values or misplaced humanity?

(46 Posts)
whitewave Wed 04-May-16 09:37:26

An Italian high court judge has ruled that a homeless person who stole a sausage and cheese through hunger did not commit a crime, as he the homeless person - acted out of immediate need.

My reaction? Brilliant.

Anniebach Wed 04-May-16 09:38:56

My reaction - brilliant

mollie Wed 04-May-16 09:41:54

I agree - a judge with a sense of humanity.

Bellanonna Wed 04-May-16 10:05:30

Good on him

Alea Wed 04-May-16 10:16:11

Why is it "misplaced"?
Seems like simple humanity, or am I missing something?

whitewave Wed 04-May-16 10:29:50

No I don't think so. You are probably right, I was simply trying to outline a dicotomy obviously a bit blunderingsmile. But I meant well.

Alea Wed 04-May-16 10:36:04

smile of course you did. Pity there isn't more of that type of humanity about.
Although I think I read recently of a judge/ magistrate in this country paying a fine of a homeless person because if he didn't pay it, he would just be fined more.

vampirequeen Wed 04-May-16 12:01:49

Common sense prevailed but the law was still broken. Does this mean that it's OK to commit a crime as long as we have a really good reason?

I don't know the answer to this....just posing the question.

NanKate Wed 04-May-16 12:23:51

My sister who lives in Italy, she lives on a very small income.

She says there are many homeless on the streets. When she left her local supermarket she handed one beggar a bag of food. She said he tore into the bag and ate like an animal. What a terrible state of affairs.

I admire my sister for sharing the little she has. Also why in this day an age are there some many homeless people.

Well done to the judge, but does it set up a situation where any opportunist takes what they want ? This is a tricky one.

grannyactivist Wed 04-May-16 13:09:41

NanKate - let me give you two examples of why there are so many homeless people.

X is in a low paid job earning minimum wage and in poor health. X's son leaves their 2 bed council flat after university and X is now liable for the 'bedroom tax'. X goes on the waiting list to be rehoused to a one bedroomed flat, but there are none in the area. Already living on the breadline X cannot afford to pay the extra money and so takes a second job. Overwork, stress and illness cause X to give up the second job and rent arrears accrue. X cannot earn enough money to pay the bills and buy food, so sells everything possible to raise money, phone included. X is given Notice of Repossession and faces homelessness. X is 61 and has never been out of work, has no family except for the son who is in his first job and cannot help with accommodation as he is in lodgings. X is suicidal. X is receiving help from the local Food Bank and other charities.

Y has a struggling business and is eventually declared bankrupt. Y's spouse then discloses an ongoing affair and the marriage breaks down resulting in Y leaving the marital home. Y is literally penniless and now has no address or money for a rental deposit, Y was orphaned as a teenager and has no siblings or wider family to call on and, having been a 'workaholic', has few friends. Y 'sofa surfs' initially before moving into a tent in a field. Y is homeless and looking for work for seven months before finally getting a job on minimum wage. Y's mental and physical health is increasingly impacted by the situation. Y is currently saving for a rental deposit and receiving help from the local Food Bank and other charities.

Heartbreakingly I could give you many more examples, but these two demonstrate that homelessness doesn't only happen to 'other' people, it can happen to almost anyone whose circumstances are subject to rapid change. The bloke who's a HGV driver and loses his license (and therefore his job) due to a heart attack, the forty five year old with a learning disability who cannot read or write and suffers from extreme anxiety disorder, but who's just been declared fit for work and had his ESA stopped, the man who became an alcoholic after losing his wife and children (and his home) in a fire, the care leavers, the ex-service men and women........sad sad

Sometimes I come home from being with these people and I just weep.

Luckygirl Wed 04-May-16 13:35:41

We are all at risk now - the "safety net" is broken. We do not know what is around the corner and it is no-one's responsibility to pick up the pieces.

Lazigirl Wed 04-May-16 13:58:07

You don't have to go to Italy to see people apparently living on streets. There are plenty in our (rural) town, and on a visit to Edinburgh recently I was sad to see so many disabled people begging. May be most cities are like this now but I am country bumpkin and don't get out much! I think it is such an indictment of our country, one of the richest in the western world that people are reduced to begging and food banks for their basic requirements.

whitewave Wed 04-May-16 14:00:26

Most employed people are only a job away from homelessness if luck isn't with them.

rosesarered Wed 04-May-16 14:01:26

There have been many beggars around the centre of Oxford for the last 25 years.

rosesarered Wed 04-May-16 14:03:04

In this case in Italy, I think it was the right verdict, each case has to be heard on it's own merit.
however, the man may really have preferred a short sentence and been fed and housed.

sunseeker Wed 04-May-16 14:16:54

Whilst I agree with the posts that it is shameful there are homeless people in this, and other, countries, can I put in a word for the shopkeeper? Yes the man was hungry so stole food, however, the shopkeeper has to make money to feed and house his/her own family. He/she had to pay for that food. If everyone felt it was OK to walk into a shop and steal and say they did it because they were hungry then shops would close and many more people would be out of work and possibly homeless.

What if someone stole your bag, purse or wallet or broke into your home and stole items from you giving as their defence they stole because they were hungry - would you still feel so benevelent to them?

I expect to receive many brickbats for this post but would add that I do know what it is like to be hungry - although fortunately I have never been homeless

petra Wed 04-May-16 14:27:17

Roses how true. I knew a young homeless man some years ago who smashed a window at Southend police station so that he would have a bed and something to eat. I'm afraid I'm very cynicle of beggars now, I never used to be.

Tizliz Wed 04-May-16 14:35:24

And how much food is thrown away by the supermarkets everyday? I despair of humanity sometimes.

whitewave Wed 04-May-16 16:12:24

sunseeker yes of course you are right about the shopkeeper. There should never be people on the streets hungry enough to steal. That is why the Welfare state was set up. Expect to hear more of it on UK streets as the Tories dismantle it.

NanKate Wed 04-May-16 16:41:36

Thank you GA for your explanation.

We are told not to give to the homeless but I do. I was in Brighton and saw a chap going through the bins for food. He was doing it quite quietly. I went and gave him a fiver. I suspect that he went and spent it on drink, as his eyes were very yellow. But I don't regret it because for a brief window of time he would have felt a bit better.

It's a sad old world.

Anniebach Wed 04-May-16 17:08:27

Food, a bed and a criminal record

Rosina Wed 04-May-16 17:19:26

It certainly is for some. I read recently that the Dalai Lama's simple philosophy is just 'Be kind - it is always possible to be kind'. How much less grief and suffering would there be if everyone tried hard to do this, and gave some money (or better still food or warm clothing) to those in need.

I am not a religious person and find it baffling that the Archbishop of Canterbury can go on about how badly he thinks the government treats the poor and needy, and yet he is decked in fabulously expensive clothing and making that speech from within a massive building with priceless artifacts all around. The Church of England is one of the largest landowners in the country.The Catholics are no better - in the past there have been starving people lying against the walls of the Vatican. I wonder what Jesus the carpenter, who appeared to have very little in the way of possessions and probably didn't even advocate church buildings ('where two or more are gathered in My name, I am there') would have made of this very blinkered attitude demonstrated by those who say they follow Christ ? Just a thought.

janeainsworth Wed 04-May-16 18:04:34

Sunseeker no brickbat from me. You are right.

The judge should have said a crime had been committed, but there were extenuating circumstances, and he was going to give the thief either an absolute or conditional discharge.
He should then have awarded compensation to the shopkeeper of the value of the food.

FarNorth Wed 04-May-16 18:14:01

Who would pay the compensation?

harrigran Wed 04-May-16 18:18:37

A member of my family was in a position where his job was not paying enough for him to live on, he sold everything he owned except the basic furniture and the oven before he told people and could get help.