20 July 2012

Both skelm and stupid

There's a basic truth in life: if you want to break the rules and get away with it, you have to be street-savvy. Not like these guys, says Susan Erasmus.


There's a basic truth in life: if you want to break the rules and get away with it, you have to be street-savvy. Not like these guys, says Susan Erasmus.

I am not advocating large-scale lawlessness. In fact, criminal activity in SA needs very little encouragement from my side, as it seems to be doing very well just left to its own devices.

But what gets me is when someone decides to go to all the trouble of doing something bad, but then just can't get it together to do the final one or two things to pull it off.

It's a bit like a bank robber who is too stingy to put money in the parking meter in front of the bank and then gets caught because of the fine.

And a perfect local example was in the news this week of the taxi driver in Soweto who reported that his taxi had been hijacked. He was obviously hoping to claim on the insurance money, but when the police arrived at his home, they found said taxi in the yard. How much trouble would it have been to leave it at a friend's house, or even just around the corner?

And then also the classic story of the lecturer from the Tshwane University of Technology who apparently announced his intention on Facebook to sleep with one of his students. It appears this was a requirement for her passing the course. I am not naïve enough to think this sort of thing doesn't happen on campuses. I think it is not only really revolting, but also discriminates against the opposite gender in the class, most of whom would not be found attractive by the lecturer.

I am going to say this only once: Guys, Facebook and Twitter are public platforms. Anyone, including the police and the university authorities can access it. Don't tweet anything you wouldn't think of saying on the radio, and don't post anything on Facebook you wouldn't show to everyone at the bus stop.

In life, you can't be both skelm and dof. Well, you can, but you're going to be a laughing stock, and you're going to get caught. And then you'll be on News24's front page and all your friends and millions of strangers will be laughing at you. For the rest of your life you'll be the guy who wrote the hold-up note to the bank teller on the back of your own electricity account.

If I cannot persuade you to leave behind your life of crime, here are some quick tips for liars, lazy robbers, crooked lecturers. Get it right this time, and don't say I don't do enough for my country. Heavens, I can still almost deal with your dishonesty, but not with utter stupidity.

  • Don't ID yourself. If you're going to be involved in any criminal activity, don't carry real ID like bank cards, a passport, a municipal bill, an ID book – these things easily get left behind at crime scenes and the police could be waiting for you at home before you even get there. After all, you gave them the address.
  • Don't steal easily identifiable things like the only pink Toyota Hilux 4x4 in the Northern Cape. You're not going to get away with it.
  • Keep quiet. Don't tell everyone what you've done, or what you're planning to do. If you can't keep your mouth shut, how can you expect others to? And stay away from social networks.

If you're going to make a living from a life of crime, you need to take it seriously. Detail, guys, detail.

Now I am off to go and tweet my plans for scamming SARS, getting out of paying my municipal taxes, and a detailed plan for stealing my neighbour's purple car. And I plan to park it in the street.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, July 2012) 

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