When I was editing the article Sticky Fingers about shoplifting, for our June issue, the thing that really got to me was that lots of kids don’t seem to take ethics seriously. According to the Josephson Institute, which tracks adolescent thoughts and attitudes, a third of kids say they've stolen from a store. Yet 92 percent of teens say they're okay with their ethical stands. This means there's a whole bunch of kids who steal but don't see anything wrong with it.

But some of the research our writer turned up shows that parents do have a problem with kids stealing—and maybe a little too much of a problem. Some moms and dads are so afraid of having a child who steals that they say they’d rather their kids did drugs. Seriously. A study from Columbia University’s Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse found that 52 percent of parents would be more upset if their child shoplifted than if he smoked pot.

So, I’m asking. What’s going on here? Drugs not heists? Somebody, please explain.