Are You Really A Hero When You Decide Not To Commit A Crime?

19-Year-Old New Mexico Man Visits Local ATM and Finds Bag with $135K Inside, Returns It

 

José Nuñez Romaniz drove to a local Wells Fargo bank last weekend  to deposit money at the  ATM …and saw a clear plastic bag filled of $50 and $20 bills that he later learned added up to $135,000.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was, like, dreaming,” Nuñez, a Central New Mexico Community College student, told CNN. “I was just in shock. I was looking at myself and just thinking, ‘What should I do?'”

Really? If one finds obviously lost money belonging to someone else, what’s the mandatory response? Is this  a tough question?

 Nuñez eventually made the responsible decision to call the Albuquerque Police Department, who then sent two officers out to pick up the cash. Well, of course he did. How many movies have there been about previously law-abiding citizens who discover a large amount of money try to keep it? In almost every one, they end up on the run, dead, or in jail.  This was the premise of “It’s a Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad, World.” I think the grimmest one is “A Simple Plan,” where the nice people trying to keep the windfall to “have a better life” trigger the deaths of  five people and destroy their marriage.

“This money could have made an incredible amount of difference in his life if he went down the other path,” a spokesman for the Albuquerque police said. ” But he chose … the integrity path and did the right thing.” Right. Tell  Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton about the difference finding a stash in a crashed private plane made in their lives.  Nuñez chose the “integrity path: because he’s not an idiot and doesn’t have a death wish.

The Albuquerque police even presented him with a plaque.

“Meet Jose, this week his selfless actions lead him to contact police and help return $135,000 in cash that he found near an ATM. He is pursuing a degree in criminal justice,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Chief Geier and Mayor Tim Keller invited Jose to the Police Academy where he was recognized and honored for exhibiting the pillars of APD: Integrity, Fairness, Pride and Respect.” Nuñez was also offered season tickets for the University of New Mexico football team by local sports radio station 101.7 FM, and at least three businesses in the area gave him $500 each for his good deed.

Well, the guy seems nice and sincere, and I suppose nothing is wrong about him receiving some gifts and publicity for doing what any citizen should be expected to do, when he really had no other reasonable option. Nevertheless, representing  obeying the law and not stealing someone else’s money as an act of heroism sends very warped message.


Pointer: Michael

Ethics Quiz: Does “Black Olives Matter” Matter?

Black Olives matter shirtI almost made this controversy an ethics quiz in July, but decided it was a fleeting jest. Wrong, Ethics-breath! Now the story has heated up again.

Paisano’s, an Italian restaurant  in Albuquerque, New Mexico is selling ‘black olives matter” T- shirts and caps following the uproar over the phrase last month, when the restaurant placed it on a marquee outside the restaurant in July:

Black Lives Matter sign

Then, owner Rick Camuglia said he came up with the play on words to sell a new tuna dish with black olive tapenade. When Camuglia posted pictures of the dish and the sign on Facebook, he drew angry complaints that he was being insensitive and “trivializing a movement aimed at trying to stop police shootings of black residents.”

Even if they are resisting lawful arrest, threatening the officer or holding a gun. But I digress…

Camuglia protested that he was only trying to sell food. Now, after receiving unexpected support, even internationally, and with business booming, the entrepreneur has reacted to requests for souvenirs from the restaurant with his new product line.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day: 

Are the slogan, T-shirts and hats inherently disrespectful and divisive at a racially troubled time, and thus socially irresponsible, or is it a harmless play on words?

Continue reading

So It Has Come To This: Criminalizing Burps In Middle School

At  Cleveland Middle School in Albuquerque, a persistent class clown, age 13, kept burping in class, followed by the usual titters from his classmates.

I was in class with one of these characters in the 8th grade, and I must admit, his burp was something: loud, long, low, and seemingly inexhaustible. He was yanked out of class, he was sent to detention, his parents were called, he was suspended, and eventually, without too much conflict, he learned to cut it out. (They never caught the guy who shouted “HOG!” in a raucous voice during study hall.) Apparently this method was beyond the abilities of the  Cleveland Middle School staff to execute.

The teacher, Ms. Mines-Hornbeck, called the police, who arrested and eventually cuffed the boy. Principal Susan LaBarge and Assistant Principal Ann Holmes  not only suspended him for the rest of the school year, but allowed the criminal justice process to proceed, with the boy being processed for the charge of  violating a New Mexico statute, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-20-13(D), that reads…

No person shall willfully interfere with the educational process of any public or private school by committing, threatening to commit or inciting others to commit any act which would disrupt, impair, interfere with or obstruct the lawful mission, processes, procedures or functions of a public or private school.

That’s right: arrest and criminal prosecution for burping in class.

None of the staff at the school, apparently, had an ethics alarm go off that induced them to point out that the year long suspension was an unethically harsh punishment, and the criminal charge was tantamount to child abuse. I remember that in the fourth grade at Parmenter School in Arlington, Mass, my friend Timmy Russell was moved to leap to his feet during a math lesson and do a ten second imitation of Elvis singing “Hound Dog.” Everyone laughed, including the teacher. Then, that burst of childish energy over, she went on with the lesson, because she was a confident professional.

In New Mexico, 2016, Timmy would have broken the law. Continue reading

“Albuquerque Fire Chief Evaluating Training After Dispatcher Hung Up on Caller”? Why Yes, I Think That Would Be Prudent!

"No...now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let's try it again..."

“No…now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let’s try it again…”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: watch out for touchy 911 dispatchers.

Seventeen-year-old Esperanza Quintero called 911 after her friend Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot last month. She tried to stop Chavez-Silver’s bleeding and gave him CPR.

“I am keeping him alive!” Quintero is heard saying on the 911 call, which was answered by dispatcher Matthew Sanchez, a ten-year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department.

Sanchez asked, “Is he not breathing?”

The teen responded, “Barely!”

On the recording, she can be heard frantically encouraging Chavez-Silver to keep breathing.

“One more breath! One more breath!” Quintero told here wounded friend. “There you go Jaydon. One more breath! There you go Jaydon. Good job! Just stay with me, OK? OK?”

Sanchez then asked again, “Is he breathing?”

Quintero responded, “He is barely breathing, how many times do I have to fucking tell you?”

Apparently this outburst deeply, deeply offended Sanchez, who felt that the use of the vulgarity justified him leaving the panicked teen to deal with her dying friend by herself. “OK, you know what ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I am not going to deal with this, OK?” the dispatcher said, and he disconnected Quintero as she pleaded for help.

So there.

As you know, I’m a big fan of civility, and we really should discipline ourselves and our children to avoid profanity and  vulgarity in dealings with others, in the workplace or anywhere else. Mutual respect is a cornerstone of ethical conduct generally, and civility is how we recognize the inherent respect we owe every fellow citizen. Having one’s friend dying in front of you is a stressful situation, however, and I think the collective effects for fear, panic, desperation and stress creates sufficient adverse influences on a teen that a lapse of decorum should be excused or at least tolerated, don’t you? Particularly when the listener  is allegedly an adult and trained rescue personnel?

Jaydon died. A rescue squad was dispatched before the hang-up, which only means that what Sanchez did could have been worse.

Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey  called the actions of dispatcher Matthew Sanchez on June 26 “unforgivable” and said Sanchez, who had the sense to resign, at least, should not have hung up on the caller. Downey  says he is examining the training procedures.

Good analysis. We can all stop worrying now, at least those of us in Albuquerque.

And we should be grateful, should we not, for Mr. Sanchez providing a superb lesson to all of our young people about the important of avoiding potty mouth?

 

Wait–What Idiot Thought We Wanted A Sequel To The Idaho Walmart Shooting?

Does this graphic look familiar? It should: I used it only a month ago, and for the exact same reason.

Does this graphic look familiar? It should: I used it only a month ago, and for the exact same reason.

From the Washington Post:

“A toddler reaching for an iPod in his mother’s purse grabbed a loaded gun instead before shooting both his parents in an Albuquerque motel room on Saturday, according to news reports. Police said the bullet hit the father in the buttock and the mother, who is eight months pregnant, in her right shoulder, but did not strike a 2-year-old child who was also in the room, according to Fox News.”

Gee, I guess Monique Villescas and John Reynolds, the lucky parents in this near tragedy, were so amused at the death of Veronica Jean Rutledge at the hands of her toddler that they just couldn’t resist trying the old “let’s leave a loaded gun where a small child can reach it” trick themselves. Or, I suppose, they might just be irresponsible fools.

Observations:

1. Two of these incidents in a little more than a month ?! What are the odds that Rutledge and these boobs were the only Americans leaving loaded guns within the reach of young children? Continue reading