So how far would you go to prevent a crime? When would you bump your toe across that proverbial line in the sand? When does someone else's push come to your shove?
Apparently frustration levels are a whole lot shorter in Texas than they are in west-central Indiana.
Just the other day at the Greencastle Walmart, an apparent shoplifter loaded up a cart with a TV set, Blu-Ray and DVD players and pushed that cart right out of the store.
He didn't stop at the front door. He didn't stop in the parking lot. But he rolled that baby clear out to Indianapolis Road, down the People Pathway and over to the nearby shopping center anchored by Subway and American Rental. (A brief moment of interjection here: How he got a cart with four wheels good enough for that quarter-mile trip, I'll never know).
Nobody stopped him. Nobody wondered why he was rolling a Wal-Mart cart along the pathway. Everybody just went on about their own business.
If he'd had a back-up plan -- like a car or truck to load his booty into -- he probably would have gotten away with that $550 theft, lock, stock and remote. Until he raised suspicions hanging out in front of American Rental and Subway, nobody cared.
But that's sure not the way a similar incident played out this week in Alvin, Texas (best known, incidentally, as the hometown of pitching great Nolan Ryan). There, a 42-year-old mother of two took matters into her own hands as little Monique Lawless confronted lawlessness.
Lawless was in the checkout line at a nearby Walmart when three suspects walked through the checkout stands, right past store personnel, each carrying a case of Bud Light cans they'd plucked from the cooler in the back of the store.
The names in this story are priceless. Not only is our five-foot, 120-pound vigilante named Lawless, but all three suspects in the theft have the same first name -- Sylvester. As in Sly and the family stoned.
What happened next is legendary.
Lawless tells a checkout clerk to watch her purse and sprints out the front door to find the beer bandits loading up their car curbside.
Screaming, "You punks aren't going to get away with this," Lawless jumps onto the hood of the car and tries to kick in the sunroof and windshield as the Sly guys all laugh at her.
Seconds later, the car pulls forward and our intrepid heroine slips off the top of the vehicle, grabs the door handle and is dragged along the pavement enough to suffer two black eyes and several scrapes and bumps.
Heroic? Yes. Stupid? Absolutely. Was she that thirsty? Nope.
She could easily have been run over. The thieves might have had guns. Heck, the TSA might have "tased" her.
All for a couple cases of Bud Light?
Not TVs or electronics, but lousy lite beer for crying out loud.
Risk your neck for about 50 bucks worth of beer? Bud Light that isn't even yours? In cans even?
OK, maybe if it were Blue Moon ... and I already had the orange wedges cut.