After being arrested for stealing two ramen, two sodas and a powdered soft drink, on September 29, in a supermarket in São Paulo, and having her freedom request twice denied by the courts, a woman finally had her arrest revoked by the minister Joel Paciornik, of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) on Wednesday (13).
In order to keep a mother of five, unemployed, homeless and who stole because she was hungry in the xilindró, it was stated that she was not a primary defendant. Which makes sense for the part of the population who believes that the protection of the two noodles is a principle above the guarantee of human dignity in the scale of values of civilization.
This mother’s case is not the first, nor will it be the last. On April 26 this year, Yan and Bruno were killed after stealing packages of meat from the Atakadão Atakarejo supermarket, in the Amaralina neighborhood of Salvador. They were reportedly handed over to drug dealers by company security guards, being tortured and shot to death.
In July 2019, a young black man was undressed, gagged and whipped by two foremen after trying to steal chocolate bars from a unit of the Ricoy supermarket, on the outskirts of São Paulo. The case gained social media after the images recorded by the executioners themselves were released. Like an Abu Ghraib tupiniquim.
Sueli was convicted of stealing two packages of biscuits and a cheese from a store. Ademir, in desperation, stole drumsticks, cheese buns and a hair cream from a supermarket. He was taken to a bathroom and beaten to death. Valdete was sentenced to two years in prison in a closed regime for stealing boxes of gum. Maria Aparecida was sent to jail for having stolen a shampoo and conditioner from a supermarket – she lost an eye while in prison.
The principle of insignificance can be applied when the case does not represent a risk to society and has not caused serious injury or harm. For example, stealing noodles to appease hunger. Kind of thing that shouldn’t lead to jail. Whether because of the futility of punishment, its cost or even the lack of humanity that it represents.
The Federal Supreme Court has ruled out petty theft as a crime. This conduct does not create an obligation for all lower court judges and judges, but it does signal what can happen to the case if it goes up to the higher courts. Until then, the 41-year-old woman, mother of five, was held by products worth R$21.69.
I don’t believe that arresting someone on account of two ramen will help their social reinsertion or even prevent further thefts, which shows a more punitive than educational rage. Even the opening of a process is, in my view, insulting, as it forces the State to spend time, human resources and money on something whose solution would involve the creation of jobs and creation of social assistance structures.
Nobody is defending those who make mistakes or commit crimes. What is at stake here is what kind of society we become when we believe that severe punishments for ridiculous things (even repeat offenders) have a pedagogical function. Even because if a family was hungry, it is because the State has resoundingly failed in its responsibility to guarantee a minimum of dignity to it.
Based on our tradition and legislation, the case serves to remind us that the integrity of heritage goes above the dignity of life. And that we don’t like justice, but good revenge.
The fascinating thing is that our system is structured in such a way as to keep away from social life those who steal two packages of noodles. But keeping in power the person responsible for thousands of deaths in a pandemic that is not yet over.
The epidemiologist Pedro Hallal, from the Federal University of Pelotas, estimates that more than 400,000 of the 600,000 deaths could have been avoided if Jair Bolsonaro had not promoted ineffective treatments and remedies, attacked social isolation and the use of masks, disclosed that vaccines would transform people in alligators and kill teenagers.
The gravity of the evidence gathered against the President of the Republic is solid enough to put him in the dock for crimes against humanity, while what was committed by all those mentioned in this text demands, at most, a reprimand. However, many like them are arrested daily and Bolsonaro remains in office, free to continue his policy of killing.
Because not everyone has an attorney general of the Republic as a faithful squire and a president of the Chamber of Deputies as a partner.
We have built a country in which a rich person can avoid paying millions in taxes by sending to tax havens that the State and part of society will pass their hand on their head, claiming that they are acting within the law to avoid the heavy tax burden. This same state believes that the place of those who stole noodles to kill hunger is jail and that the place of those who allowed more than 600,000 deaths is the Palácio do Planalto.
We urgently need to refound Brazil.