Should Elderly Criminals Be Handled Differently?

Laws affect everybody differently.

In a perfect world, everybody would be held accountable to the same sets of laws as everybody else. Nobody should get special treatment. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that perfect world and while laws are pretty much set in stone for your average guy or gal, it’s not the same if you have money or power.

Take a look at Donald Trump.

So many flagrant examples of law breaking yet he’s still untouched because he’s the President of the US. Hopefully, he finally gets his due once his days in office are up but given the support he has, it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever end up in prison, despite crimes that would get normal people life sentences or more.

There’s also another category of criminals that tend to get off easily; the elderly.


Whether it’s human nature or Asian societal bias, we tend to view our elders as privileged and worthy of kid gloves…even if they’re criminals. We make all kinds of reasonings for that; their age, they deserve respect, they might not be completely aware of their actions.

Still, where does one draw the line on being lenient (and taking into account mitigating circumstances) and judging somebody equally for breaking the law?

I kept thinking about that when I stumbled across this video on Facebook today.

Judging from the comments, the elderly man has been at this for awhile. One user even reported him shoplifting from another store prior to this.


Also, looking from the way he acts, it’s definitely not something that’s a spur of the moment or new to him.

He knows perfectly what he’s doing. He’s steady, he doesn’t seem at all nervous. When the lady looks at him, he carries on as if nothing’s the matter. He doesn’t hesitate. At all.

It’d be easy to say then to prosecute him to the fullest extend of the law.

But then again…take a proper look at him.

He’s on a mobility device, meaning he’s infirm. Medical issues are a distinct possibility. Perhaps he steals to resell the items to make ends meet? Nobody would steal willingly, right?

Even kleptomaniacs aren’t to blame for their actions, it’s a mental issue.

So then what?

Street justice? Leave the authorities out of it and settle the matter privately since it involves an elderly and it’s a minor crime?

Or should we leave the matter up to the authorities?

True, they’re much better able to handle the matter but as the original poster in that FB post highlighted, it’s tedious and a massive hassle to make a police report. Wouldn’t police resources be better served elsewhere than a case of shoplifting?

It’s something that much smarter people than me will have to answer but it’s something that needs to be put to rest.

What do YOU think should be done?

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