On the way home from work today, I stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few groceries. While I was waiting to use one of the self-check-out machines, I witnessed a young woman at one of the machines shoplift a few items. And I just stood by and watched.
What she did was, after she had paid for her items and picked up her bag, she added a few additional, unpaid-for items to the bag. She did it very casually—no nervous looking about to see if anyone was watching. I'm sure she's done it before, and I'm sure she'll do it again. Maybe one day she'll get caught, maybe not.
Now if I had seen this same young woman pick someone's pocket, I'm sure I would have said something. Robbing an unsuspecting individual seems like a different sort of offense. But watching her steal from the store, I found myself wondering if it was really my place to inject myself into the situation. I mean, that's what they have security cameras and employees for, right? If their security isn't up to snuff, somebody will certainly be robbing them. And how do I know that she really didn't pay for those items?
Thusly I rationalized my non-interventionist policy.
p.s. Nobody knows who first said or wrote the thing about good men's inaction leading to the triumph of evil.