It is halfway through gym class, and with knees bent and eyes on the ball, all you can think about right now is how to win that next point in Pickleball.  As you prepare to return the serve, a thief calmly walks into the gym locker room, knowing there will be no one there to catch him in the act.  He swiftly scans the room for enticingly visible backpacks and partially opened lockers.  After a thorough check of each row, his gleeful gait as he exits the locker room implies much more than just a good hair day; it means he’s got a bag of new electronic treats in his paws, courtesy of those unsuspecting students in gym class.

The natural reaction to hearing a story like this is “Oh my, those poor students have been robbed!”  Of course, it’s a shame they had their possessions stolen from them, especially considering the expense of many electronic devices, but in many ways I feel no sympathy for the victims.

Let’s be honest, we’re not dealing with any James Bond—or for that matter, Austin Powers—level criminals here who will foil even seemingly unbreakable plans.  These are teenagers, just like us, who are, I can safely assume, just as lazy as we are.  They didn’t stay up the night before to outline the heist or create an alibi as a layer of protection; they simply felt like stealing.  Does anyone honestly think a teenage criminal born from the gang-infested streets of West Windsor is going to have the patience to break through a lock?  Even so, the ordeal of breaking through a lock would most likely be a calculated waste of time considering the potential value of all the unprotected backpacks.  Every teenager knows where his iPhone is at all times—mostly because it’s in his hand—yet when he puts it away and it is in its most vulnerable state, he seems not to care.

But naturally, as the students retire from gym class to the locker rooms, they are somehow mystified as to what happened.  Stealing is obviously morally wrong in this situation, but even so, we must know that not all people follow that same moral compass.  Some teenagers simply feel no remorse when stealing, and students need to take that into consideration.  Yet occurrence after occurrence, there remains a large handful who, with a misplaced feeling of invincibility, still believe in the reassuring misconception “it won’t happen to me.”

The answer to this problem is simple: use a lock.  Protect yourself from thieves, not because you believe in the innate immorality of teenagers, but because you simply don’t want your stuff stolen.

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