In-Depth Research

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Memo to the bottom half of the Internet: YOU ARE SADLY USEFUL.

As a firm believer in the scientific method, I don't just guess at how awful humanity is. I don't assume they're awful. I collect data to support my theory about how awful humanity is. And the greatest single data source for my sciencing is the comments sections of news sites.

Case in point. An Ohio woman was recently arrested and charged with petty theft. Unemployed, she took just under three dollars in loose change from a courthouse fountain to buy food.

Now, you're a sane, reasonable person with empathy, and therefore, the first thought you probably had upon reading that paragraph is "that is some Dickensian shit right there, only without the part where the police learn an important lesson about poverty from ghosts". Or something along those lines. But not everyone is sane, reasonable, or capable of empathy, and thus I knew what I'd see underneath the various coverage of this story. You probably do too, but since you don't go looking for this, allow me to be the baleen that filters through the sociopathic krill for you.

"Sure its a small amount that others threw away. But what would happen if we all started to climb in these fountains and take money? Then our tax dollars would be wasted on fixing them up. There are other avenues she could of gone through to get help............legally."

Yeah, that's the problem we need to focus on. Not hungry people. The potential for fountain erosion caused by waves of poors crashing against our nation's fountains, leading to expensive, taxpayer-funded repairs. Thank goodness "AD" was here to set everyone straight.

"you bleeding heart liberalists - stealing is never the answer... If she can't afford her cats - maybe she should give them up - this lady gets ssdi, and has a caseworker, if she is so broke and facing eviction then she need to stop smoking crack and start paying her bills... She is still responsible for her own actions... 2.87 or 500.00 it's still theft"

Now, before you judge too harshly, I'm sure "CeeCee Davila" has taken the copious evidence he or she has for this woman's clear crack-smoking habits to the authorities to make sure justice is done. Also, remember, $2.87 is theft. $500.00 is theft. $85 billion to AIG is not theft, it's capitalism. The house of a family not actually in foreclosure that Bank of America took by mistake because proper paperwork is just too much overhead? That's an honest mistake.

"So many of you see nothing wrong with what this woman did. Help her....one of the biggest problems in this country today is the fact that they help and help and help to the point that the ones receiving the help have NO clue how to help themselves other than to take advantage of people or steal to get what they want. Oh yea and the people who took advantage when the EBT system went down, they all should be arrested for theft and prevented from from receiving assistance again."

Since "Mary Bussard" brought it up, let's talk about the so-called "EBT riots" for a second. Because of a glitch in the system last weekend, SNAP recipients in some states couldn't buy food at all, and others could buy food even though they didn't have enough money on their cards. They took advantage of a flaw in the system to make gains they were not entitled to.

"Mary Bussard" would like to see them jailed and starved. But in the interests of fairness, they should instead be trained as hedge fund managers. They have the same basic skill set, after all. It's just a matter of scale.

Was what they did technically wrong? Yes. But you know who they hurt? They hurt Wal-Mart, who let them buy whatever they wanted, probably expecting to be reimbursed by the government for their record-breaking sales. But Wal-Mart is instead eating it. A bunch of poor people got more food, Wal-Mart lost a tiny fraction of its annual profits, and the only people who are upset are poor-kickers, racists, and the very large overlap of that Venn diagram. WIN-WIN-WIN.

I will say this - the overall percentage of dickwaffles in these comment threads was less than half of what I was expecting. Which means I have to adjust my theory. Either people are more decent than I give them credit for, or most of them didn't find the article because it didn't have "Obama" in the headline. Clearly, more research is needed.