“My Precious”: Entitlement

By | October 24, 2010

Recently there were a couple of stories in which people disappointed me. The first happened during a Colts home game. A player on the opposing team attempted to throw his helmet against the wall out of frustration. However his helmet stuck a bit to his glove, and ended up flying into the stands instead. Obviously this wasn’t good, though the fan in its path saw it and caught it without injury. Now if I had been in that situation, I don’t think it would have occurred to me to do anything but give the guy his helmet back. I have no use for it, and he needs it for the game. Sure, it wasn’t good for him to have thrown his helmet at all, but it going into the stands was an honest mistake, and “no harm, no foul”.

However apparently the fan, and many people around him, had the exact opposite reaction to mine. They all seemed to think that the receiving fan suddenly had the right to keep the helmet. When a security guard came to get the helmet from the fan, he held on and wouldn’t let go, and people were cheering him (the fan) on. He only begrudgingly gave up the helmet when an actual sheriff approached him.

The second incident was even more serious. Somehow or another, a box full of cash fell out of an armored car in the middle of the street of downtown Indianapolis. Reports were that people were running into the street, paying no attention to traffic, grabbing arm fulls of money, and driving off. This madness finally ended when one decent person pulled up, somehow managed to get the remains of the box and its contents into his truck, and called the police to come collect it.

I don’t understand how people feel so entitled in these type of situations. Why is it that they feel like they suddenly have a right to take someone else’s property, just because of a mistake? How is it that they think ownership automatically shifts to themselves? I wonder, did the thought cross people’s minds that they might get tracked down and either have the money demanded back, or be arrested for theft?

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