Is the following behavior moral : 1. I was robbed when I was 14 and 15 on the streets. It was only a few dollars and they only involved verbal threats and no physical violence but it was somewhat traumatic. I didn't report to the police because for whatever reason I can't still understand. Probably there was (1) a certain mistrust of the police's ability to catch such criminals and (2) not wanting to bother with the hassle of dealing with police work -- for certainly parents would be involved in a teenager's case, and my parents were busy people -- for what was so little money, and (3) the minimization of the potential effects of such a traumatic emotional experience; I was brought up to act manly and powerful, and "telling" seemed like weakness(why I don't know). 2. 15 years has passed and I want to find them and make them pay for the emotional trauma that I had to suffer for a long time afterwards. I still lack basic trust between people and so forth. Is this moral? I.e. is the attempt at vengeance moral? Since if I don't take revenge either I am bogged down by social anxiety or become unduly aggressive against others who haven't done me wrong, but if I do it would at least be a temporary relief.

If I understand correctly, you're asking whether it would be acceptable to seek some sort of revenge now against someone who robbed you of a small sum 15 years ago. I don't know where you live, but in many jurisdictions the statute of limitations would have expired. (In New York, for example, the statute of limitations for robbery is five years.) That would mean that you have no legal recourse. Harming the robber or stealing from him would also not be acceptable. It would be a case of taking the law into your own hands and even if there are cases where that's acceptable, it's hard to see that this is one of them.

Also: you say you want to find thief. But what are the chances of that happening? Would you even recognize him 15 years after the fact? And even if you think you would, this is the sort of thing people can easily get wrong. So you run the risk of wreaking vengeance on the wrong person.

Moreover, you say that the trauma has lasted and left you with emotional scars. You say that an act of vengeance would be a temporary relief, but this suggests that you don't think it would provide real relief. Fifteen years of social anxiety and repressed anger doesn't sound like it would be cured by an unlawful act of revenge. The best response would be to find someone who can help you work through your feelings about all this. That might seem not to be the "manly" or "powerful" response, but manliness and power in that sense may not be good goals to begin with. The more courageous response at this point would be to recognize that dealing with this kind of thing alone usually doesn't work, and seeking some help either from a professional or a wise layperson. I hope you find a way to do that.

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