Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Degree of Separation

This story makes me seriously doubt the efficacy of Karma. In 1983 Charles Stopford III disappeared from his Florida home at the age of 21. He has just re-surfaced in England as Lord Christopher Edward Buckingham, the heir to the Buckingham aristocracy. Apparently he had forged papers to obtain a passport in the identity of the real Lord Buckingham, who had died at the age of 1. Click here to see the stationary that Stopford was using, and a much more detailed telling of the story.

Stopford was caught in Dover coming off a ferry, after a check of the passport revealed that it had been revoked in Calais. Authorities in England and the US are trying to figure out what to do with him.

So here is what is bothering me. Karma: He did a bad thing, and got caught. But he got away with the bad thing for over 20 years! Not just that, the best 20 years to be an aristocrat. He could do all kinds of stuff and people would just say, "oh well, you know, the children of the rich." So this suggests that there is no Karma. But Karma-philes would point out that perhaps he was being rewarded for good deeds done in a previous life and at this point, Karma and me part company. If you can't demonstrate which bad dead results in which punishment, well, you can claim anything is a reward or a punishment. And people will say, "oh well, you know, that's Karma."

While this story doesn't prove Karma one way or another, it definitely proves it's good to be young and titled. I suppose that like TITANIC, it also suggests you're better off avoiding boat rides. And it clearly proves that you're better off pretending to be a Lord than Sidney Portier's kid, because that ride only lasted a few years.

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