Social Question

jrpowell's avatar

Would you starve before stealing?

Asked by jrpowell (40369 points ) November 13th, 2012

Lets say your only means of getting food was food stamps and the government magically took them away. Would you sit outside the 7/11 and wait to die or go inside and grab some bread and run? Lets take it even further. Would you beat the shit out of someone for a few bucks if it meant you could get something to eat?

Personally, I would kill your kids for their lunch money before I would starve.

And for all of those people that are thinking that charity will fill the gap I can say with 90% certainty that it won’t. I say that as someone who has hit up food-pantries on more than one occasion. And if charity would fix the problem they never would have made department of HHS.

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31 Answers

flutherother's avatar

Only those who have been starving can answer this question but I think keeping yourself alive is a moral obligation as well as an instinct and so stealing can become a virtue. A government that removes food stamps and lets people starve loses its legitimacy and will result in anarchy.

ragingloli's avatar

Technically dumpster diving is stealing, too. So the answer is no, I would not starve over “stealing”.
Also, when you are starving, you are so weakened that you are literally unable to walk a short distance before you collapse grasping for air. You would be in no condition to kill anyone.

bhec10's avatar

“Personally, I would kill your kids for their lunch money before I would starve.” – johnpowell 2012

I’m glad I don’t have any kids!

marinelife's avatar

I don’t know. I can’t know if I am not in that situation, but I would like to think that I would explore all other options before stealing.

I also think there are a lot of other options.

bkcunningham's avatar

My kids would kick your scrawny, hungry ass or get their servants to do it for them.

jrpowell's avatar

I knew bkcunningham was Mitt. Finally confirmation.

augustlan's avatar

I can’t say for sure, but I doubt it. Stealing in order to feed myself (or more likely, my kids) would be a necessity if all other options are not available.

jrpowell's avatar

@ragingloli :: It doesn’t take much to walk up behind someone and plunge a knife in their back.

So think about that the next time you see a shadow. Or you could just shoot someone in the back and nab their wallet.

I guess the point is that I will kill you if you have something I need to survive.

bkcunningham's avatar

Would you kill me for my job?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I would steal before I got too weak to function and I was convinced there was no other way. Most certainly.

SuperMouse's avatar

I would steal before starving and if I had to I would steal for my kids long before it got to that point.

iphigeneia's avatar

If it were just me affected, I’d steal. If there were a group of us, I’d start a riot.

Seek's avatar

I’d steal.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You are describing the life situation of many offenders being released from prison after serving out their sentences. Very few people are willing to hire them. They often can’t live within 2000 ft of schools or shopping malls or parks, playgrounds. That pretty much eliminates 95% (my estimate) of potential homes. They often are denied a driver’s license so even if they are lucky enough to find a place to live out in the sticks and they miraculously get a job, they cannot get to work and are soon fired.
Very quickly they become desperate and end up doing what we have set them up to do – rob, steal, cheat – and end up back in prison, while we sit in judgement on our “curvy”, rotund butts in our warm houses and say “Tsk, Tsk, Repeat offender.”

@johnpowell I have skills and can easily get a day job doing virtually anything. That would pay much better than stealing a loaf of bread. I might even advertise my services.
But assuming I had nothing, then, Yes. You’d never see or hear it coming.
I wonder what a hit man gets paid.

jrpowell's avatar

@bkcunningham :: that is the problem. You assume people without jobs are lazy. Have you ever tried to find a job when you are homeless and don’t have a phone, clean clothes, and a shower?

Even McDonald’s is picky. Homeless dude of high-school cheerleader?

bkcunningham's avatar

Well, I didn’t assume anything except that I thought we were joking with each other @johnpowell. Asking someone if they’d kill me for my job was a joke the same way I thought that you were joking when you said you’d kill children for their lunch money. How you got that I was calling you lazy is beyond me. Lighten up Buddy.

Mariah's avatar

I would steal. I don’t think I could find it in me to hurt somebody, though.

Judi's avatar

I know that I have done some pretty horrible things when I was desperate, so stealing food would probably be in the realm of possibility. The mind has a way to justify things to survive.
This question makes me think of Le Miserables

poisonedantidote's avatar

Been there done that. This happened to me in the UK about 8 to 10 years ago or so. I just stole, and did not care. I know most of it ends up in the trash anyway.

Here in Spain, they can’t even put you in prison for stealing food. It is considered vital for survival and so nothing happens. (assuming you are stealing bread and rice, not chocolate and champagne).

If I ever did it again, or was caught doing it, I would just tell the judge “oh well, I guess that is what happens when you try to deny a million years of hunter gatherer evolution with 200 years or so of shitty government.” Then I would take a big bite out of either my lawyer or the judge and ask to be sent to prison so I can get some free food and shelter.

If it was because the government took away my food stamps, I would not even try to hide it. I would walk in to a supermarket, start putting things in my mouth, and saying “oh yea I know it is terrible, you best call the police” as I continued to eat more.

jerv's avatar

I am with @Mariah on this; I would not resort to violence if it could be avoided. Unlike her though, if I had no choice, things could get ugly quickly, as I an perfectly willing to hurt those who interfere with my basic survival. Fortunately, I an smart enough to generally find a peaceful solution.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No, I would never choose starving over stealing. At the first sign of not being able to feed my son, I would make certain to acquire food no matter what method of theft that would take without putting my life or other lives in jeopardy.

bolwerk's avatar

β€œTo steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.” ― Abbie Hoffman

Symbeline's avatar

If stealing was the only way I could eat, hell yeah I would. I wouldn’t hurt someone, but I’d have no qualms in stealing from a store or something.
Of course that could result in getting busted, and as I don’t have a criminal record, I wouldn’t do any jail time, I don’t think anyways. But if I jumped somebody, chances of getting imprisoned are much greater…of course, in prison, they don’t have a choice but to feed you, haha.
But yeah, I would steal, if my survival depended on it, it’s not even something I’d debate with.

Buttonstc's avatar

Yes, but me in the stealing camp, but reluctantly so.

But if it came down to it in order to survive I’d steal what was necesaary to keep me alive. But I wouldn’t do it at a 7–11 (likely to be owned by a small businessman) and harder to avoid detection. I’d pick a huge conglomerate like Walmart or Kroger :)

I guess I’d go with the sentiment expressed in the Abbie Hoffman quote above.

I don’t think I could hurt a child or anyone else tho. But a giant corporation can absorb the costs of my small survival necessity theft.

Interesting question.

tinyfaery's avatar

I doubt I could hurt someone, but I would definitely steal. I’d steal to feed my pets, as well.

Shippy's avatar

Yes, I’d steal from the rich though.

wundayatta's avatar

If I was starving, it would probably be because I was depressed and was trying to die. I don’t think I would steal under those circumstances.

Otherwise, there are too many ways to get food if you know what you are doing. Too many food kitchens. Too many friendly people. Too many dumpsters full of just expired items. Too many back doors to restaurants where the cooks will set out half-eaten meals for people. I think you have to try really hard if you want to starve in this country.

Linda_Owl's avatar

No. Hunger makes people desperate & desperate people will do almost anything – especially if you have young children. I grew up experiencing frequent bouts of hunger, but this was before the advent of Food Kitchens & before grocery stores began to dispose of ‘out-dated’ food in dumpsters. Fortunately, I lived in the inter-city of Dallas & there were ‘honky-tonk’ beer joints scattered thru-out the neighborhood where I lived & most of these places served food, so having a skinny white kid show up at their door was not that unusual & I was able to get a meal if I showed up after the ‘dinner-rush’. This was a time when ‘HoBos’ still rode the rails & people would offer them a sandwich for doing some sort of work for them. People who have not experienced hunger really do not know just how desperate hunger can make people.

ucme's avatar

Fuck that shite, survival of the fittest & all that.
Which is why i’d rip your fucking nuts off if you came anywhere near my kids, if ya catch my drift.

Bill1939's avatar

Today, in the rural midwest, the demand upon soup kitchens and food pantries is greater than their resources, and State and Federal governments are decreasing support for these programs.

deni's avatar

I’d have no qualms with stealing if I was starving.

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