Thieves come in all types

Ganef to the left of me, Schnorrers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

I had occasion to be robbed recently. Someone entered my apartment when I was out — at Mass no less — and stole two cans of quarters and dimes that I had been saving in order to buy my 6-year-old grandson a bicycle for Christmas. My estimate is that $100 was taken. It was completely my own fault for not locking my door, and thus placing an unmanageable temptation in the path of the thief (A Ganef), someone who apparently knew our building and my habits. In a sense, I had allowed the robbery to happen.

The lure of an open apartment door was simply too much; I wish I could apologize to the poor soul, who walked past a Crucifix, and an image of our Lady of Guadalupe, to steal from an old man, and a child.

The Ganev (Plural of Ganef) is simply a thief, straight up, no chaser.

My instincts, now more closely attuned to the presence of thievery, were aroused to attention when I received my most recent paycheck, and saw the degree to which I, as a working-class person, am levied, before my receipt of the fruits of my time and labor.

A significant portion of my labor is commandeered by the “state” each week. Some of it is taken for clearly constitutional purposes: My share in the defense of my nation, the building and maintenance of society’s infrastructure, the civic education of children, and the maintenance of police, fire, public safety and public works departments.

Some of it is taken as part of enforced social compacts: Social Security, and Medicare.

These programs are still defendable practices under the terms of our Constitution, as they are applied to all citizens without mandating any purchase of a commercial service or product. All Americans will grow old, and when age catches up with them, these two compacts assure each citizen some basic level of continuing income and essential health care, commensurate with their years of contribution to the funds.

The administration of the funds is open to question, but that is a matter for another day and time.

Now the term “Schnorrer” does not refer to the homeless, or to those forced by involuntary unemployment, or illness, or other circumstance beyond their control, to rely upon the kindness and generosity of others in the society to help them make it through — indeed survive — a hard time. These are otherwise productive citizens who need a “hand up,” they are not looking for a hand out; these are not the Schnorrers in our society.

The term Schnorrer is applied to one who is a sly chiseler, a sponger getting money out of others in any way possible; a scrounger who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others, a cadger who is constantly seeking to get something for nothing — often with an air of entitlement — a layabout, a moocher.

The Schnorrer believes that if he can outsmart a store, a person, or an institution, then he has earned the reward.

Our country is drowning in Schnorrers, and I for one am growing tired of picking up the tab for their “lifestyle” choices.

So, the next time you see the lineup for another entitlement, hand out or program, look closely and you’ll be able to tell those who have been broken by circumstances and who really need the aid — and who will put it to good use — from the Schnorrers, those who are there to take advantage of the system, and who, in the end, are stealing the resource from those who really need the aid, making them — ultimately — Ganef.

Norman Schell is a Greenfield resident.

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