Caught red handed – Why is it always the vulnerable?

Once again it is the vulnerable that are facing the full force of the law. The story by Giles Brown (The Press, March 3) of Arie Smith, a 20-year-old with Asperger Syndrome (AS), who is alleged to have looted lighting equipment after the quake shows how we have our priorities wrong.

Seeing myself as autistic, I have an idea of how without training one can be vulnerable to being singled out by others. Not even I’m perfect in this regard.

In Wales, our former Welsh Prince, Llywelyn had the matrices of the seals of him and his wife, and his brother Dafydd melted down to make a chalice which was given by the English King to Vale Royal Abbey after their theft by Edward I of England as well as his stolen coronet which formed part of the Crown Jewels in 1284. The new powers in Government of Wales Act 2006 approved by the Welsh people in the referendum on March 3 may mean we now have our Seal and legislative powers back, but this may be the best retribution we can hope for after centuries of lost heritage and control.

So let us have a sense of proportion. A few light fittings in a scene of destruction is nothing compared to the theft of the heritage of prized artefacts by English Monarch from my homeland, nor in my opinion the theft of dividends from shareholders and pension funds by greedy directors and other overpaid employees, such as those in finance and energy sectors.

Autism authority Simon Baron-Cohen presented a study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 1992 pointing out that people with autism spectrum conditions like AS are likely to be vulnerable to being led astray and ‘caught up in the moment’. Instead of penalising minorities the authorities should be enforcing Company Laws to stopping the theft of profits from investors by company directors and employees knowingly acting in their own interests and not that of the shareholders.

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