Things get Stolen

Doing reading what various things are being written about the failure of governing bodies in the United States to agree on how they want to carry on in failure, I ran into this gem on an apparent copper theft renaissance. Apparently people are running out of pipe to steal from all of those foreclosed and abandoned homes lying around and have graduated to stealing the dangerous stuff people are actually using. In short the methheads have grown into more capable and more dangerous methheads.1

Let's ignore the mistake the Slate article suggests in proposing some solution through invasive regulation. Consider that these people are taking copper. Why are they taking copper? It's probably because having done it before they have found it financially rewarding, and in the case of the higher risk more adventurous thefts the fact that they have become good at it probably plays a part. People will steal anything they can, but they have a strong preference for committing theft in situations where they can most reliably get a return on their time and effort invested into thieving. This is why the foreclosed and abandoned houses lose their wiring before the electrical substation. The electrical substation has little need for extraordinary security until the low hanging fruit of foreclosed homes have been harvested. This generally will hold for things from copper to cattle to bitcoin.

Now theft is unacceptable, because you find it unacceptable. Theft is not acceptable because mkay. If you can't arse yourself to begin working that into a coherent worldview, methheads are probably coming for your bitcoin, and they probably aren't waiting until all of the copper is harvested.


  1. Kind of the premise in Breaking Bad 

7 thoughts on “Things get Stolen

    • That's rather high praise. I don't know if it has anything on your double cherry truck award though, so I'll try to do better in the future.

  1. PS. Good idea on the CC page, but it would probably serve to have a piece somewhere going into detail on how to verify BTC address signatures.

    I suspect most people who use GPG don't care, as the protocol is a shitty yet needless re-implementation of a solution to an already solved problem (much like everything else Garzik does with his time) and most people who don't comprehend GPG don't have a clue what signatures are or how they work.

    • I'm convinced GPG using sufficiently long (2048 or 4096) RSA Keys is the right way to handle both encryption and signing. People who GPG have no reason to care about creating bitcoin address signatures, but for those who don't it is a toy version to learn on until they either come over to GPG and strong signatures or STFU.

      Eventually I plan to get more writing on "How to do X" sort of pieces readers who want to be people can use to guide themselves along that path.

      The soonish piece I'm working on first is the very important why I still consider myself a newb post. I won't title it that, but I would imagine you would be able to spot it when it happens. I might call it done tonight and post it, maybe tomorrow, but without myself being constrained by a third party it will be up before Friday.

  2. Pingback: Bitcoiner and other Titles | Bingo Blog

  3. Copper theft isn't new at all. It's been huge for at least a decade.

    Also copper thieves are very dumb, they cut stuff that is not copper like fiber optics but only realize it after the fact. Their cost is thus even higher than all the copper they steal.

    • Copper theft has probably been happening since the Bronze Age. The general stupidity of copper thieves, methheads, and other criminal classes doesn't change the fact that their general desperation provides a strong incentive to learn and become more dangerous in their thieving. Theft is ultimately an economic act for people who have probably made different moral decisions than you or I, one of those moral decisions is likely that they don't care much for the cost they impose on others.

      I would not at all be surprised if I discovered some of the people running "mining securities" are/were copper stealing methheads.

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