I won’t even attempt to compete with the great Dostoyevsky as I write my screed, but I would like to have a word in your shell-like earholes about Crime and Punishment.

I wonder these days how recalcitrant children are punished by their parents. I remember for the most part mine delivered the “go to your room” method, with the odd “you’re not going out on Saturday night” strengthener, and only once did I encounter the “completely justifiably outraged mother bearing down on a 6-year-old bottom with a wooden spoon.”

I suspect that last treatment would be huffily frowned upon now, with the modern parent preferring the ‘time out step/corner’ or a visit to the local therapist as a cure for their offspring’s less than positive behavior, but I am living proof that I survived the ordeal only having had to cop it once, after which I grew a huge new respect for this wonderful lady who was otherwise of the “peace at any price” mother of the 50s mode.

Cross an enraged Phyllis Mary Elizabeth Catherine at your own peril, and to be totally fair to my dear departed Mum, I provoked her so badly and so often that day, I am actually pathetically grateful I lived to tell the tale.

I think our parents for the most part got it right in doling out suitable punishments for our crimes.

And now we wait to find out what is going to finally befall the three UCLA basketballers caught shoplifting in China a couple of weeks ago.

Their news conference revealed that they were all very very sorry, and thanked President Trump for helping to secure their release from what must have been a very scary future. UCLA has suspended them indefinitely, and they will not be allowed to travel with their team or play in a game.

Well at least that’s a good start. One basketball commentator suggested they should just be suspended for a couple of games, while his colleague wildly disagreed and frothed at the mouth at this namby-pamby form of reprimand.

Let’s take a look at the crime, shall we? Ignoring, for a moment, the obvious one of theft, they disgraced their country, their school, their coaches, their teammates, and their families, all at the same time disrespecting a foreign country. That to me ranks right up there in hitting the sept-fecta – if one can have a trifecta, surely you can have a sept-fecta – of international travel no-nos.

Anyone want to place some money on a small wager? If it was up to me, I would immediately pull the scholarships they’re no doubt enjoying, march them off to the dorm to pack their things and watch them walk out the gates.

Ah, but money talks, and three talented basketball players would be such a thing to waste, now wouldn’t it UCLA?

Please do the right thing and set a good example – otherwise I might have to invoke the ghost of Phyllis Mary etc. to put you all on the right track.


-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc@hotmail.com