Imagine that you have an 18 year old teenage son (if you do actually have one, this won’t be especially hard) and he stole a bottle of water from a shop during the riots.  You know that if you take him to the police he will be charged and convicted.  There is no way that the police will find out about his behaviour unless you take him in.

Would you take him to the police?  Vote now!






  1. The Australian Federal Police were approached by the worried parents of a lad who had got himself caught up with drug runners. Instead of waiting for him to land in Australia and arrest him they gave information to the Indonesian police. He was on death row for a few years then the sentence was commuted to life. Trust the police? No way.

  2. A conviction has consequences for the rest of your life. While I wouldn’t condone the stealing, in this case I do not believe the “punishment would fit the crime”. But I WOULD not only make him pay for the water, I would make him send a week’s pay to the shop owner – anonymously – to cover dmage and inconvenience. I would not simply let him off.

  3. While I would not take my son to the police for a bottle of water, I would (and have when he was younger), brought him back to the shop and made him apologize to the shop-owner and pay for the item. Of course, it may be more difficult to do this with an 18 year-old than with a 15-year old (when I did this for a CD he had nicked), but it would be a lot more useful to him and to the shop-keeper to face the person from whom he stole and make reparations.

  4. I wonder if those parents who did inform the Police about minor offences had any idea that the punishments would be so severe. If they did, maybe they would have chosen another option (not available in the survey).

    And I also wonder if the answers in the survey would have been different before the news of the severe punishments.

  5. come on, a bottle of water? How much does that cost? That isn’t worth going to the police.

    I’d be mad that he has been rioting though.

    I’d go to the shop and pay that bottle.

  6. Stealing is stealing, no matter what you steal. You’re still breaking the law and it’s not a victimless offense like crossing on a red light when there’s no cars coming. And water? Water can be found at any public water fountain. There’s absolutely no reason to steal water other than for the pure excitement of the theft itself. If he enjoys rioting and stealing, he needs to deal with the consequences. Maybe those will help him understand that what he did was wrong, if he didn’t understand that yet. I’d also arrange for him to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible, because there might be some kind of disorder present if he behaved like that, and I’d want him to get therapy if he needed it.

    I think that’s what my parents would have done if I ever did something like that. That’s all I have to go on, because I neither have nor want children.

  7. For those of you that say it was only a bottle of water… Consider this. A broken shop window,an alarm connected to that window, and any one who thinks that kid took one bottle nicely off the shelf without disturbing(damaging) other merchandise either on the way in or out, think again. That alone constitutes much more than *a bottle of water* Then you stop and consider how his/her actions affected those around. They did it I can. It sadly doesn’t take much to incite bad behavior in others and add to the frenzy and that is just a partial laundry list of what stealing * a bottle of water* under those circumstances adds up to.

  8. If you’re saying as he would be charged as a rioter, then no way, that’s shitty and could affect his future jobs and college applications. But good lord is he going to get a lot extra punishment. It sounds cheesy but if he feels like just a water bottle is acceptable, then he could move up to more expensive items.

    1. I think the idea is not that he randomly stole the bottle of water at the same time that the riots were going on. I interpreted it as him being a rioter, which obviously means he needs to be charged as a rioter.

  9. No,just a bottle of water, that situation could drove people to do crazy things, i will probably ground him for a while as punishment but i will not take him to police. I think the police should concentrate on more serious stuff. 18 years old is barely an adult, maybe he do so because everyone is mad during roit. I do believe if he only steal a bottle of water, he didn’t have bad intentions.

    (i am not a grown-up yet so i can’t really imagine how would i do with that kind of situation when i’m a mom)

    Besides, what’s the differnece between tail and head….Are we tricked?

  10. I’m really surprised at how few would take him to the police and are using the “it’s only a bottle of water” as the reason why.

    Surely theft is theft regardless of the relative cost, however, if they had stolen the water in a shoplifting incident then perhaps I may have decided to miss out the police and instead take them back to the shop to apologise and pay for it plus a penalty sum (leaving it up to the shopkeeper to decide whether to pursue legal action). The fact that the theft was in the midst of the riots, would to me indicate bigger problems in their thinking and therefore they should face the consequences for their actions through the law.

    I’m wondering whether the tails selection gives the same scenario but with a bigger cost item to see if that changes the perception of the theft. Very interested to see the results tomorrow.

  11. I presume the heads/ tails thing is a standard very clever way to ensure that no individual’s answer can be traced to them (though I’m not quite sure why it’s necessary here)

  12. For the people wondering what the other selection was, you can click on it, you know. Just don’t vote in their poll.

  13. I AGREE TOTALLY WITH…A conviction has consequences for the rest of your life. While I wouldn’t condone the stealing, in this case I do not believe the “punishment would fit the crime”. But I WOULD not only make him pay for the water, I would make him send a week’s pay to the shop owner – anonymously – to cover dmage and inconvenience. I would not simply let him off.

  14. Isn’t this basically a question of whether we think the justice system is just or not?

    I mean if we believed it was just, it would be no problem to turn him in. Trust in the law, law for the people not against the people and all that.

    I voted “not” before I thought of this. I may be tempted to vote “do” now, just to display my faith in the government. Faith that I think is crucial for society to have (I’m danish though, not british).

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