I'm writing this week's column raw. The emotions are still bubbling; the attempts to rationalise are ongoing.

Over the weekend I had property stolen of some reasonable value, literally a few metres from where I was sleeping.

It's an experience many of you will have had. For me, it's the first time. I've been lucky I guess.

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Lucky, because I've always been lax about security. Which can be attributed to my general absent-mindedness, but it's also because I've not wanted to live my life worrying about someone burgling my home or stealing the car. Part of me just wants to deny the possibility.

Members of my family are always reminding me to better secure the property we own. In regards to what was stolen, my slackness made the theft easier than it could have been.


And so my thought processes since have been focused on blaming myself. Why didn't I do that? What an idiot I am.

I've been feeling very sheepish and guilty, rather than directing much anger or blame towards the person or persons who did the theft. That's a curious reaction, which gives me some understanding of people who express similar feelings after something bad has happened, even when they're victims of physical violence.

So what would I want to happen now? Do I want someone arrested and prosecuted?
The honest answer is no. I mean, I'd like the property back, some of which has significant family value, but I'd hate to see someone go to prison for it, particularly under the current sentencing practices.

Is that soft? Some of you will think so.

In the slim possibility that the thief was apprehended, I would, however, like to talk to them. Say that I'm pissed off at the hassles this has caused me; that I'm annoyed with them for making me feel like I can't trust people as much; and explain that I'm disappointed in myself for grasping at stereotypes about people who commit crimes in this country.

There's evidence that direct dialogue between the "victim" (I hate to use that word) and the offender does work to bring about a feeling of justice, and that personalising the crime in this way can have a positive influence on the offender as well.

Through all this, I've been struggling to keep in mind my political views. While I'm not completely excusing the actions of individuals, criminal offending is statistically related to how much inequality exists in society (something I wrote about only two weeks ago).

I've also had that old anarchist slogan, "Property is theft", turning over and over in my head. While I can't live the meaning of that slogan and deny my own property ownership, there's a truth to it that I can't entirely shake.

If New Zealand had less inequality of ownership, then I'm sure the level of property theft would be lower. Looking at it in this respects, the theft my family experienced is a tax levied on the divided society New Zealand has become.

I'd still like to think we can turn things around.