Friday, April 25, 2014

On Banditing, Stealing, & Being An Entitled Dumbass

If you've been anywhere near the Internet this week, you've doubtless heard about the "Boston Bandits" - the 4 people who reproduced a girl's Boston Marathon bib in order to run the race without qualifying, fund-raising, or paying to get in.  

There have been dozens (maybe even hundreds, I haven't read the entire Internet) of articles and blog posts about these four individuals.  People have been shaming them all over social media, and the whole running community is in an uproar.  

Then there are those who say "What's the big deal? Who cares?"  It is to those people that I feel the need to respond (not that they probably read this blog, but hey, it's my party and I'll bitch if I want to!). 

In case you were not aware, taking things that you did not pay for is wrong.  Stealing, lying, cheating, all of these things are not acceptable. 

Did these four individuals kill anyone?  Rob a bank? Kick a puppy?  No.  Of course not.  They "only" bandited a race.  They "only" copied a piece of paper.  They "only" took water from the aid stations.  They "only" took medals at the end of the race that hey, admittedly, they did run.  

No big, right?  No harm, no foul.  

Except. 

Except. 

It's fucking wrong, people!  (Sorry, mom)  What if we all decided that banditing was ok?  Who needs to pay for a race? Pfft, they are public streets, right?  And water comes from lakes and stuff, so that's free, too, right?  So why do we have to pay to run on streets and drink water?  Dumb, right?  

Well, what about all the food that's in grocery stores?  I mean, that apple came from a tree that was grown in the USA, and I pay taxes to the US government, right?  So really I already paid for that apple, so why should I pay for it again?  

Ok, ok, so maybe that's a stretch.  But you get what I'm saying.  It's a slippery damn slope, and it scares the crap out of me that so many people are willing to go down it.  When did we get to be a country of people with such entitlement issues?  When did we stop believing in working for what we get, and just start expecting people to give us things?  When did we start thinking it was ok to steal because it "isn't hurting anyone?"  

I have two small kids.  Every day I worry that I'm screwing them up in some way.  Every day I'm worried that if I do something - or don't do something - they'll end up on some talk show saying that I ruined their lives.   I do my best to make sure that they know they are loved, and that they know right from wrong.    It makes my job harder when it seems like more and more people are changing the definition of "wrong."  

Do I think that the Boston Athletic Association needs the extra money that those fake bibs should have cost?  No. Of course not.  Do I think that at the end of the day, those bandits really hurt anyone?  

Abso-freaking-lutely.  

It's a slippery damn slope, people.  We need to wake up, stop  being entitled dumbasses, and remember what we'e all known since we were children.  You don't take things that don't belong to you.  Period. 



"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." 
- Edmund Burke


33 comments:

  1. Love the post, Di! Spot on.

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  2. It's not just wrong; it can be dangerous as well. If I am a registered entrant and collapse during a race, medical personnel will rapidly know who I am and who to contact. That is not the case if I am not registered. Worse, the person whose bib was copied might have listed some special medical condition and medical personnel, after checking with the race personnel, would be operating under the assumption that the bandit had that condition.

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  3. Okay, stealing is wrong. What these four people did was absolutely wrong... However, Boston is the only marathon (except this year because of the heightened security) that expects, allows, and makes arrangements for bandits. They are usually local experienced marathoners who have run the race officially in years past. They have been doing it for decades. They start behind everyone, do not take refreshments from the volunteers, and do not cross the finish or get medals. They are escorted off the course before the finish line and are given space Warmers, a bagel, and water by the BAA. They do not wear stolen bib numbers. It is a Boston tradition.

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    1. Maybe what you say is true (I have no idea), but I'm speaking specifically about these four people, who DID copy bib numbers, and one of them at least, did take a medal (there's photographic evidence of that). Mostly I'm just tired of people being assholes and thinking it's ok because "Everybody does it, what's the big deal."

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    2. Here:

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/04/12/long-accepted-boston-marathon-bandits-fall-prey-stricter-security/sIuP6HB8xVYI8GChTzzs5H/story.html

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    3. Thanks for the article! I didn't know about the traditions in Boston, but from the article it sounds like the groups who normally "bandit" actually followed the rules when things got changed this year, conceding that this was "not the year" to make a fuss. I think that's great. It also sounds like these groups routinely run (and raise money) without bibs, and make no effort to collect medals or anything like that. They aren't pretending to be anything they're not. Copying someone's bib number and running a race and then collecting a medal at the end is a lot more disingenuous.

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  4. I agree with you that (unsanctioned) banditing is both stealing and cheating. Recently I mentioned to a friend that another friend is using someone else's bib for a big race because he got closed out of registration. She was unhappy to hear that. Where do you stand on that? My friend even paid for the borrowed bib. This is tricky. Harvard Law School should teach Race Bib Ethics alongside Contract Law.

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    1. Hmm... I don't know. In the case you're speaking of, the bib was paid for. So I guess it would be like someone using someone else's theater ticket, except for what Brad mentioned above (about the dangerous aspect of what if the person with the wrong bib needs medical attention, etc).

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    2. ER, this is frowned upon, too. What if your friend who bought the bib BQs? Does the original registrant get to go to Boston? What if your friend who bought the bib places? It can get tricky, as you say.

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    3. Good point, hadn't thought about the BQ thing... though if someone is trying to qualify for Boston, they'd want to run under their own name so they'd get credit, no?

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    4. Right. I was hypothesizing if his friend "Bob" BQ'd at X marathon under "Joe"'s bib. Joe would then get to register and run Boston without qualifying himself.

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    5. Except then Joe would be an asshole. LOL

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    6. SIOR - full disclosure, my friend will be running Brooklyn and you'll probably meet him. He's looking to do 1:47 so I'm not sure if that would get him BQ'd anyway.

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  5. Bravo. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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    1. Thanks! Although since posting this I've thought of all kids of other, better arguments that I should have used. LOL

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  6. Honestly, I don't care. Love you Di, Jane (never run)

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    1. Or at least I should say I'm not going to get worked up about it.

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    2. Easy for you to say, you actually qualified. LOL ;-) You're totally allowed to not care! I won't hold it against you, or love you any less. ;-)

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  7. Yes - entitlement soooo sums it up. It makes me nuts that people want to cheat the system. If you didn't get in, you didn't. Deal with it. There is a guy in my running club who is always trying to buy bibs for races he didn't get in to (cause they sold out) and it makes me nuts. Sigh. I am somewhat of a rule follower though.

    A friend sent me an article this am about another person claiming her #s were used!

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    1. "I am somewhat of a rule follower though" <<---- Me, too! And I think we should all be. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, we shouldn't be labelled "goody two shoes" or whatever just for following rules. There are rules for a reason, right? =)

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  8. Looks like larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny to me. That's punishable by up to two and a half years in the house of correction. Should these four go to jail? maybe for a night or two. They should defiantly have a criminal record. What they did is nothing more than theft.

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    1. You can always spot the lawyer in the room..... =)

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    2. And not just any old lawyer, one admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I have a feeling that these four are going to learn just how much Boston loves its marathon.

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  9. Totally agree with you on all points. I'm a little more wishy washy on the banditing without a bib and without taking supplies or medals and on running with someone else's paid for bib, but making a fake bib? Getting a medal? Hell no! And especially not at Boston where people actually EARN their bib either by running fast or raising a ton of money!

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  10. I hadn't heard of that!! WTF??? I agree with you completely. Those people are jerks.

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  11. Yup. Jerky jerk jerks. Harrumph! =)

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