The morning after the Moose Run time trial I went out to my car and found the contents of the glovebox and center console on the seats. One seat was all the way forward and the other was pushed back. Pennies were moved around and about $1.75 in quarters was missing. That was it.
I probably left it unlocked in my post-race stupor, and a roving band of "pick your trendy drug epidemic" junkies tore through it looking for stuff that is valuable and/or easy to unload. I guess the thousands of dollars worth of bike helmets, shoes, and assorted paraphernalia in the back don't fit that category, and that's just fine with me.
My fault for leaving it unsecured, and I was fortunate that I got off that easy. My garage door opener would have allowed easy access to my bikes and a whole lot other stuff. I door have the world's noisiest garage door, so it would have woken me up. My large black lab would have started his deep, intimidating bark, which likely scares off more intruders than the security service sign. It's probably time to look at getting security cameras and a sign for that, too. Dummy cameras would probably be just as effective.
I created the vulnerability, but my highly subjective and situational sense of right and wrong just doesn't feel right about this. I started having revenge fantasies about the perpetrators, dumping their carcasses off in a shallow ditch for the bears to dispose of. Anger gave way to resignation. Civil society is a concept that died decades ago, although it was probably just a fantasy back then. Best you can do is circle the wagons around the survivors and remain vigilant.
I'm fairly sure it isn't going to get any better anytime soon. Alaska is broke and getting broker. They found a way to get cheap oil in the lower 48, which makes the North Slope stuff less appealing. Resource management is a constant fight between protecting and exploiting, and a lot of projects hit the regulation/tax wall and head elsewhere. Not that I'm against protecting the environment, but Alaska is a resource-driven state. Other than the federal government and tourism, we don't have any other big cash cows. No manufacturing of note. When resources like oil take a hit, we slump.
Without the resource-oriented jobs like oil, the guys with the means head elsewhere. A lot of them did their bucket list time in Alaska, and they have no reason to hang around (like local ties) when prospects are better elsewhere. Property values stagnate or drop. The tax base takes a hit. Public services are cut even further. Legislators look at ways to generate revenue and end up just scaring off more employers and high earners, who would bear the real burden under any income tax scheme. The PFD will dwindle down to nothing. Without another boom cycle to prop up the ship, the cycle will continue. I'm not sure any dynamic leader is going to be able to fix this, despite claims to the contrary.
What does any of this have to do with my car and $1.75 in quarters? When the jobs flee and public services are cut, more junkies are going to be out on the street looking for anything that isn't nailed down. More stolen bikes, which is the most evil crime I can think of. The most vulnerable will just become more so, and some will eventually perpetuate the downward spiral.
I'm at the point where I have trouble believing any political solution will fix this. I don't think large government or small government or kinda-sorta in-between government is going to do the trick. It's a social issue. It's a society issue, and government has proven woefully inadequate to deal with it. It's not a partisan issue, it's a give a shit issue. It's a basic understanding about a citizen's role in society, and how our actions affect those around us. It's a understanding of the role of government, and how its different functions can directly and indirectly impact our daily lives.
Until society as a whole wakes up (which I don't expect), the best I can come up with is to circle the wagons. Make a positive impact where you can, but protect yourself at the same time. My wife's approach is to give everything and mine is to not give the bastards an inch, but the answer is probably somewhere in between.
That said, if I lose another $1.75 I'm going to start scouting out likely ditches.


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