Stealing is wrong. We all know this. But in our world of black/white, good/bad, is there -- I hate to even use this phrase -- a blurred line? For instance, take Deidre Romine, the self-proclaimed unemployed, mentally disabled woman who stole $2.87 from a public fountain. Should she really have been arrested, charged her with petty theft, and issued a summons for a court appearance?
I certainly don't think so.
On October 7, Romine was found near the Logan House Courthouse Fountain in Bellefontaine, Ohio. A policeman approached her and asked her why she was there. "Soon as the cop asked me what I was doing, I was afraid to tell him," Romine said. The cop then searched Romine and found the coins in her pocket. Romaine then admitted she took the change later on in an interview, saying: "The money didn't belong to anybody so I just took it out of there. I'm trying to feed myself. And I've got four cats I'm raising and I'm trying to feed them. I might go to jail."
No, people shouldn't be taking money out of a courthouse fountain, but come on. This woman doesn't exactly sound like she's had an easy life, and she seems to be down on her luck right now. I know the "once you start making exceptions" argument, but what is jail, a fine, or a court hearing going to do for this woman? What she needs is help. She didn't harm anyone. She took a couple of quarters and pennies amounting to under $3 so she can feed her cats.
Members of the community who were saddened to hear Romine's story have raised $1,000 in donations for her, and people on social media have promised to attend her court hearing to show support. And that right there will probably be more of a deterrent to stop her from stealing from a fountain again than court hearing ever would. She knows what she did isn't right, but at least she knows she isn't totally alone now.
Romine told ConnecttoHome:
I’ve been trying to find a job. I am filling out applications all the time. No one will hire me. People do this every year. They throw coins in the fountain. I’ve never done this before [taken any out]. I will never do it again. I didn’t know it was wrong. It was mostly pennies in there ... It’s just been a really rough year. I haven’t worked. I am trying the best I can.
So ... yeah.
What do you think of this?