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Taken Aback Exploring a not-so-victimless crime.

For Discussion Begin the discussion with an explora- tion of why shoplifting is a crime and your state’s laws. Then, discuss the possible actions Archer could take, including those listed below. Talk about each action separately.

ARCHER DOES NOTHING fWhat is good or bad about doing nothing?

fIs Archer legally required to do anything? Is he morally required to do anything? Is there a difference?

ARCHER CONFRONTS GREG fWhat is good or bad about con- fronting Greg?

fWhat should Archer say? fWhat should he do if Greg explains that he’ll never steal again?

SHOPLIFTING MIGHT NEVER lead the evening news, but it’s still a major problem. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers in the United States each year. And a quarter of shoplifters are kids. While we hope our Scouts would

never steal, they might know kids who do. Whatever their exposure, shop- lifting is a good topic for an ethical discussion in your troop or crew.

The Dilemma Greg is one of those guys who never quite fit in. He’s not a jock, not a brain, not in the band. So when his classmate Trevor invites him to join The Group, a sort of unofficial school club that spends a lot of time playing paintball


and videogames, he’s thrilled. For the first time, he’s going to belong. Then Trevor tells him about The

Group’s initiation ritual: He has to go on a little shoplifting adventure at Walmart. Greg is hesitant, but Trevor assures him that it’s no big deal. He just has to lift a sweatshirt, which, Trevor says, won’t make any difference to a store that brings in a gazillion dollars every year. That Friday night, Greg reluctantly

enters a dressing room with the cheap- est sweatshirt he can find. He puts it on under his jacket and quickly heads for the parking lot, expecting to be tackled by a security guard. A security guard doesn’t spot him,

but someone else does: his friend Archer. Now, Greg’s crime has become Archer’s ethical dilemma.

fWhat should he do if Greg agrees to put the sweatshirt back on the rack?

ARCHER REPORTS THE CRIME fWhat is good or bad about report- ing the crime to the store?

fWhat should Archer say? fIs there a way to report the crime yet keep Greg out of legal trouble? Should that be a concern for Archer?

Ask the Scouts to think of other

possible actions Archer could take. Finally, ask the youth how this sce- nario relates to the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Point out that the Scout Law begins with trustworthiness. ¿

FIND MORE ETHICS discussions at


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