James 1:13-15 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is how I, who thought I was a good Christian boy, talked myself into becoming a shoplifter.—————————————————————–Though I had learned lessons of prudence with my allowance, I began to resent having only fifty cents each week. The Chinese Store seemed to provide too many types of candy. I never had enough cash to buy as much or as many as I wanted. Since my parents were not sending me money, and because I believed I should be entitled to more treats, I began plotting how to steal them from the shop.

While looking around the store, I noticed that the owner stocked various tempting cake-decorating candies next to the baking goods. My favourite was the chocolate sprinkles. We enjoyed eating them, though the proprietor must have wondered why boys would want baking supplies. I noticed on one shopping trip that these tempting toppings were near the back and out of sight from the man at the cash register. I pocketed a package of silver-coloured beads and only paid for my chocolate bar. All the way back to the dorm, I kept thinking of my wicked deed. My conscience preoccupied me so much that I kept trying to cross the wrong streets.

“What’s wrong with you, Bruce? Do you have a girlfriend or something?” Neddie asked me.

As I did not want him to know what I had done, I said, “I’m just tired, that’s all.”

Once we returned to the dorm, I sat on my bed and ate my ill-gotten treat. “What I did wasn’t actually stealing,” I thought to myself. As the store owner had plenty of candy and other goodies, I reasoned that a few bags of sprinkles wouldn’t make a difference. Since I was not rich, it seemed only fair that I should enjoy a few luxuries now and then. I believed it was Jericho’s fault too since I ought to have received more than fifty cents a week. As I was far from home, I felt I deserved to be compensated with sweets.

I stole a few more packets during subsequent trips to the store. The sign on the door which read, “THESE PREMISES PROTECTED BY ELECTRIC EYE,” made me uneasy at first. I comforted myself with the thought that I was unlike those robbers who took all the money. I was merely getting what I felt was rightfully mine.

Each time I pocketed those sweet confections, it became a little easier. In fact, I began to feel a smug sense of pride for having outwitted the grownups. As I was not apprehended and punished, I began regularly stealing cake toppings.

I walked toward the store’s front door one evening when a packet slipped out of my pants pocket. Realizing that I could not leave it in plain view, I said, “Oops. I wonder how that got there.” The man stared at me without a word. Guilt washed over my soul as I realized he knew all the time what I was doing. “I better put this back,” I mumbled.

I hurriedly replaced the cake sprinkles and walked out of the store. The owner did not need to say a word. His hurt look was enough to permanently rebuke me. I never stole anything from his store again.


My memoir contains many more vignettes of life in that institution which was closed in 1992 after 350 deaf students sued the school for sexual molestation. Click Here to find out more about this account of government social engineering.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

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