Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Donating to The Salvation Army? You may be “giving” more than you think!

17 September 2013

If you are a regular reader of my postings then you realize the emphasis that I place on ethics and morality. Also that in any endeavor one must practice what they preach or "walk it like they talk it" so to say. Here is another story about responsibility that may surprise you.

I often make trips to downtown Indianapolis or the Broad Ripple area, riding a bicycle to do so. My parents live near Butler University and thus this provides me with opportunities to refuel, change clothes, jump on-line, and rest briefly. When I arrived a week ago I followed my usual routine. As I sat on the front porch I removed my shoe covers, shoes, and both pair of gloves. I shoved those against the wall opposite some boxes of items that were awaiting pick-up from The Salvation Army. I then proceeded inside where I removed my cycling clothes and got into some street clothes. I was going to put my clothes on hangers and hang them from the hooks in the ceiling that are for the potted plants but I reasoned that those clothes may get considered as donations. Instead I laid them across the back of the lawn chairs on the porch.

As mid day approached I was on my way to the Indiana Government Center for a meeting. I returned early in the afternoon and prepared a lunch and rested. It was during this time that The Salvation Army guys showed up. The first guy who comes upon the porch sees my cycling accessories and digs through those. He settles upon one of the pair of gloves and puts those into a box of the items to be donated. What he didn't realize is that my mother was observing him through the solid glass french doors from inside the house. She then went onto the porch, returned the gloves to their original place and told the man that she saw him rifle through the pile, he knows that those are not items to be donated, and that he better not steal anything else.

I planned to make it a day their house as I was going to the law school in the evening. Upon returning I decided to stay overnight and head home first thing in the morning. Shortly after sunrise I go onto the porch to retrieve my clothing. Everything is there, including other valuables, except my cycling shirt. I searched the porch to no avail. Clearly, it appeared, someone had come upon the porch and stolen my shirt only.

So I grab a shirt that I keep in the house and head home. I rode down again on Wednesday and mentioned my dismay that someone would take only my shirt. That is when I heard the story of my gloves. Now, I am not saying that the Salvation Army guy took my shirt. What I am saying is that he had attempted to take my gloves, the shirt was the only item within arms' reach from where he was retrieving items, and other much more valuable items of mine had been on the porch for weeks and hadn't been disturbed. In the criminal justice context we would call this circumstantial evidence.

My mother immediately contacts The Salvation Army and gets moved up the chain of command until she ceases upon leaving a voice mail with a head-honcho. A report of the theft was also made to Metro PD.

As of this time, nearly a week later, there is no response. It may be conceivable that any organization could have this type of person within it. There are, however, organizations where this won't happen. Those are the ones with a top-down ethic that absolutely forbids such action. They follow a particular protocol which includes an authoritative discipline. There is also a practice which must be followed that The Salvation Army has missed.

The ethical lapse in the Salvation Army organization is aptly demonstrated by the lack of response from any of the numerous people within the management echelon who were contacted about this alleged theft by an employee. That is the sign of the true character of this organization. It's the very thing that brought disrepute, among objective observers, to the world's largest and most organized child-molestation ring – the Catholic Church – which is still raising money to pay off settlements and legal fees amassed in an effort to hide the truth from the public about their systemic penchant for sex with children. The Salvation Army is no different in it's response.

Character is not defined by name or intention but in actions. This is a contention that I stress to parents whose families or lives are in chaos or distress. Ethics and morality must be demonstrated, especially to children, when one seeks an ethical or moral response. Expectations must be communicated in a coherent manner that embraces feedback. All feedback must receive a timely and appropriate response. That is a demonstration of character.

The Salvation Army doesn't need donations, especially “donations” that cost the donors a bit more than expected, but instead and morality and ethics check.

If your clients' case involves allegations of neglect, immorality or failure to discipline then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. There is no charge for initial attorney consultations.

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©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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