Hey, South Dakota! Looking for your apology from Republican flag thief Garrett Darwin DeVries? Here it is, posted as the opening banner on the Secretary of State’s homepage (which I know I access almost every day):
To the Secretary of State, Employees, and People of South Dakota:
I am writing this letter to express my remorse to you, employees of the State, and the people of South Dakota for not returning the flag to your office. I understand that my actions caused you to devote time and energy to recover the flag. I further understand that my actions caused repercussions for your employees and the people of the State of South Dakota. I am thankful that the flag will be preserved and displayed for future generations.
Please accept my sincere apology.
(signed) Garrett DeVries [apology posted to Secretary of State’s website, 2015.11.25]
Remorse for “not returning the flag”—am I being hypersensitive, or does that sound just a little euphemistic? I don’t think the name of the crime to which DeVries pled guilty was “Misdemeanor Failure to Return State Property.” The crime was theft. DeVries avoids that word. Stuck somewhere in an early stage of Kohlberg’s moral development, DeVries speaks of vague practical consequences and “repercussions.” But he doesn’t seem to straightforwardly acknowledge that he behaved immorally.
Taking the flag wasn’t wrong because people had to spend time looking for it. Taking the flag wasn’t wrong because it had repercussions for other people. Taking the flag was wrong because it wasn’t his.
Oh well. We got the flag back. DeVries got busted, and he won’t work in this town again, at least not until he outgrows his young-and-stupid stage.