Gut Rumbles

December 29, 2005

ethical question

If your father were a bank robber, would you turn him in to the police? I wouldn't.

Of course, I cannot picture my father stealing anything in his life. He might have shot your ass if you made him angry enough, but he wouldn't steal from you. Being a Kentucky hillbilly, he could understand killing somebody if the person really needed killing. But he had absolutely no use at all for thieves or vandals.

Neither do I.

Still, I never would have gone to the police even if my father WERE a criminal. Hell, I would have done the opposite--- lied like hell under oath to get him off the hook. Maybe that's why I could never be a cop. I loved my father, and blood is thicker than water to my way of thinking.

What's YOUR way of thinking? Would you turn YOUR father in to the cops for robbing a bank?


The question is..Would your father have turned you in, if he knew you robbed a bank..I would have to answer yes to both.

Posted by: Jim on December 29, 2005 07:59 PM

Hell no. Never go agin' the family.

My little brother once bounced checks all over North Georgia, and the Sheriff in Lumpkin County called Daddy to ask if he knew where "the boy" was.

The "boy" was hunkered down over a bowl of chili in the kitchen, and the old man told the Sheriff he hadn't a clue.

We'd do the same for him in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Donnie on December 29, 2005 08:12 PM

not for robbing a bank; but if he were killing people yes. i guess. maybe. maybe not. guess that depends on who was killing & why.

Posted by: maxnnr on December 29, 2005 08:12 PM

I wouldn't turn him in but I don't think I could lie under oath either. Maybe I am not the good daughter I should be. But my daddy knows better, and taught me better, than to go robbing banks and stealing from other people.

Posted by: Steph on December 29, 2005 08:23 PM

I'd call him up and say "Hey you dumb Bastard, if I can recognize you, so can lots of other folks. How about loaning me a couple thou before the police come get it all? Love you Dad."

Family first. Family values second.

Posted by: robert on December 29, 2005 08:31 PM

No way in hell would I turn him (or any other member of the fam) in. I'd lie under oath for sure. I may also try to convince my father to change his ways.

Posted by: Sharon on December 29, 2005 09:07 PM

I'd turn my old man into the devil for stealing, but not the cops. Just because he'd let me down. I watched a lot of people grift off my old man, and he knew it after the fact, too, but never went after them. So for him to pull the same stunt would have taken a lot of wind outta the sails. In short, I just can't imagine the hypothesis in the first place. Good question, though.

Posted by: Velociman on December 29, 2005 09:38 PM

The son who turned him in is a cop. That pretty much covers it.

Posted by: Jeffro on December 29, 2005 11:03 PM

Earlier, just today, my little brother was in a stolen car, running from police, in possession of methamphetamines which he had been selling for quite some time. I know damn sure what would have happened if he'd shown up at my house.

"Hello, 911? Yes, I have a wanted felon hogtied in my living room. Yes, he has some boot marks on his face but he's still breathing. Would you please send someone over to pick him up? Thank you."

Of course, he was arrested before he made it anywhere near my place. Now, maybe I have the mentality of a cop, but I say blood is only thicker than water when it's not out running the risk of taking other's innocent blood.

Posted by: Eddie on December 30, 2005 12:42 AM

Log supplemental(I've been watching way too much Star Trek lately):

Don't go thinking our family wouldn't help each other and that's why my brother turned out so bad. I've spent thousands of dollars trying to hepl this kid. I've wasted thousands of hours of my time on talks and activities to help this kid. I've walked into a hotel room where he was being held, for ransom from my parents, with a maglite and about 4 feet of chain wrapped up in my pocket for this kid. He's simply one of those shitty people that aren't going to get anywhere until he gets there himself.

It could well be that the sons in this article knew the same was true for thier father. Yes, the article says "upstanding". That doesn't mean anything. If you saw my little brother on the street you'd call him upstanding all the way to the bank, where you'd find your wallet was gone.

Some family is just bad. You cut it out to preserve the good.

Posted by: Eddie on December 30, 2005 12:54 AM

I'd like to think I would have been alert enough to know he was in trouble so he wouldn't have resorted to robbing banks. But if not, somehow I don't think I could. I think I'd have kept my mouth shut and did my best to help him.
I also would like to think if he was killing people I'd turn him in, but like the other commenter said, a lot would depend on whom he was killing. ; )

Posted by: wanda on December 30, 2005 05:35 AM

all I can remember is that poor child who turned in their parents for marijuana during the Reagan anti-drug crusade. And was removed from the home and sent into the foster care system.

Posted by: adele on December 30, 2005 06:13 AM

I'd cover his ass, no questions ask.
It's family !!!!!

Posted by: lefty on December 30, 2005 07:48 AM

I'd like to think I would have been alert enough to know he was in trouble so he wouldn't have resorted to robbing banks.

Dingdingdingdingding! We have a winner. The responsible thing to do for someone you care about is to keep them out of trouble in the first place, if you can. But once he gets in trouble you have to choose just how much of his bad karma you want rubbing off on you. That money belongs to other people, some of whom may be in even more trouble financially than the guy who stole the money. (Yeah I know all deposits are federally insured -- that don't cut no ice with me.)

That said, if he returned all the money before he got caught, that might make a difference.

Posted by: McGehee on December 30, 2005 08:11 AM

Maybe it is being the daughter of a second generation alcoholic....but how are you helping a family member by covering for them? This father in the story was holding people at gun point....he may have gotten desperate enough to shoot the gun. How would murder sound? Would that be enough? I don't care what it is - unless there is a righteous reason behind it - if they are breaking the law and risking innocent people, they get turned in.

Posted by: Ally on December 30, 2005 08:59 AM

As far as turning in my father? I don't know. I can't really relate. I probably would though because he wasn't stealing to eat, he was stealing to support his crack and prostitute habit. Sorry. Get a job.

And as far as turning in family. Yes, I probably would. I have many close relations who've made really bad choices, and they continue to do so because they have hope that someone will always bail them out. I gave each of them one chance. It took years, but I no longer get the $10.00 per 5-minute collect calls at 2:00 a.m. and its been over 20 years since my home was stormed by a swat team with weapons drawn as I, my mother and my 4 year old brother stared in awe at what a "family" member had brought home to us.

There's been a similar discussion going on at Steve's place concerning addiction and enablers. I think you can be an "enabler" to a criminal too.

Posted by: Jane on December 30, 2005 09:04 AM

Naw. No way. Not dad.
(Now mom on the other hand...=)

Posted by: darbimae on December 30, 2005 10:14 AM

"It is good to have a successful father." from "Guys & Dolls"

Posted by: Dana Blankenhorn on December 30, 2005 12:18 PM

From the Analects of Confucius:

1. The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, "Among us here there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact."
2. Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this."

Posted by: Zhang Fei on December 30, 2005 01:33 PM

At times like this I have to ask myself, "WWGGLD?"
What would G. Gordon Liddy do?

Posted by: BlogDog on December 30, 2005 03:33 PM

Well, it would depend on the extenuating circumstances I think. I agree with the others who've said that they wouldn't have let dear old dad get to that state in the first place. I really don't think when it comes right down to the heart of it, though, that I could turn my dad in. Then again, I'm a bonafide "daddy's girl" - still - at 34 yrs of age! :)

Posted by: Lisa on December 30, 2005 05:07 PM

Bank robber? No.
Serial killer? Yes.

Posted by: Terry on December 30, 2005 07:12 PM

Possibly the most loving thing that that young man could have done for his father was to allow him to face the consequences of his own actions. I'll admit that turning him in must've been a horrible ethical/moral dilemma for any son (especially in his role as police officer, whether on or off duty). But how would he have felt if, through inaction on his part, his father had died or worse yet killed or harmed someone else as his addiction worsened? Would he have felt legally or morally culpable? Hell, my ex- tried to rob a bank years ago in such a drunken, drugged-out stupor, that he had no idea why he was in jail when he got his phone call the next day. I've always felt that he did it to get someone else to stop his downward spiral of self-destruction, as he was at a point where he didn't feel capable of stopping himself. Would I have turned in the father of my children had I known what was going on? I had made the conscious decision several years earlier that I was no longer willing to enable his addictions and had severed ties. Fortunately I never had to deal with the question of whether to turn him in or not, but if it were to be the only way to intervene in the inexorable destruction of someone I loved, I would hope that I would find the courage of my convictions and say "Hell, yes, he'll thank me for it someday!"

Posted by: Marianne on December 31, 2005 02:23 AM

It wouldn't change my answer to this question, but wouldn't you knowing and not telling technically make you an accessory (provided it could be proved, of course)?

Now, my answer: I would not turn him in. However, if under oath, I would tell the truth...I have a family of my own to provide for and cannot do so if in prison for lying under oath to protect someone that should know better.

The above may be modified to some degree by the circumstances that motivated dear old dad to rob the bank.

Posted by: JPatterson on December 31, 2005 05:23 AM

I would never have turned in my Dad for a sticking bank robbery. If he was a serial killer then maybe, but stealing some money? I don't think so.

Posted by: PC Martin on December 31, 2005 02:08 PM

My personal experience with family: 1. They ( Not my Pop, the most functional drunk I've ever known) stole from us and/or other family for months or years before trouble with the law. 2. Booze or drug abuse led to the stealing. 3. With 20-20 hindsight, I say I should have done more, sooner to make them suffer consequences of their bad choices.

This is directly related to the war on (some) drugs. Don't get me started.

Posted by: Larry on December 31, 2005 04:27 PM
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