On Tuesday, someone robbed my seven-months-pregnant wife on Clark Street. No, there is not a special place in hell for People Who Steal From Pregnant Women, because there is no such thing as hell. But if there were, that special place would be in the same scorching, roach-infested neighborhood that houses Vlad the Impaler, People Who Post YouTube Videos of Homeless Guys Fighting, and this girl.
It wasn’t a mugging or anything ominous like that, just your garden-variety pickpocket who probably saw Sarah waddling down the street talking on her cell phone, purse wide open, and thought she was an easy mark. She’s not going to chase me, and if she does, she won’t catch me. Unless I am a 90-year-old asthmatic walrus.
He—I assume it’s a he, because a she would never do this—reached into Sarah’s purse, took her wallet, and kept walking. This is what the police like to call a “crime of opportunity.” And he must have been an expert, because Sarah didn’t realize her wallet was gone until about 30 minutes later, by which time the perp had already tried to take $3,500 of her money out of two ATMs and dropped $317.81 at Jewel on God knows what. Food for his children, I hope.
“Who robs a pregnant woman?” Sarah asked that night, shaken by the whole thing.
The city dweller in me, whose knee-jerk reaction is to blame the victim, says: You walk around with your purse open and you’re going to get robbed.
The liberal in me says: Well, you know, people are driven to crime by complex sociological factors stemming from economic inequalities in society, and gosh, we didn’t really need that money in your wallet, we can replace all the credit cards, and I’m just glad you weren’t hurt.
The husband in me says: Fuck this guy. He robbed a pregnant woman.
I’ve never gone in for the “What is this world coming to?” brand of handwringing, because people get stolen from every day, and in the end it doesn’t make any difference if the victim is pregnant. A woman doesn’t get a free pass just because she’s with child; in fact, in a city many see her as a nuisance, an obstacle to be avoided, humored, and endured. To the cynical among us, she is a target.
Anyone callous enough to rob a visibly pregnant woman in broad daylight would not feel the slightest remorse about having done so, which may be the hardest thing for me to accept. That, and the fact that I can’t do a damn thing beyond canceling the credit cards and reassuring my wife that she is safe.
As for this “special place in hell” talk . . . Let’s just say that in moments of anger and danger, theologies get compromised. Which is a fancy way of saying there are no atheists in a foxhole. Which is a fancier way of saying: If the anonymous man out there who robbed my vulnerable wife is sentenced to spend eternity with Jerry Falwell and Mel Gibson, force-fed peanut butter-and-earwig sandwiches with side of hagfish mucus on a table made of Idi Amin’s caramelized entrails for all of eternity, then sure. I’m willing to accept the concept of an afterlife.