River karma is funny to joke about, but over all a crock. There is no force making good or bad things happen. I am sure the poor souls that have past on the river weren't thieves, and that many thieves have lived long boating lives with stolen gear. Does this make it right to steal. No of coarse not, but karma is not the reason not to steal. You don't steal because it is a crime against your fellow man. Not because you are sinning, not because it is against the law, and not because you are going to mess up your make believe river karma. You don't steal because it does not work as a social principle. I always thought it was just some funny joke that got past around like a bottle of whiskey. "Do good or you will jack up your river karma bro." But it seems that some people take it to serious. It is a silly superstition, and no different then having bad luck after seeing a black cat or walking under a ladder. He is my river karma story. One day while playboating the Alpine stretch in Wyoming I found a pair of long forgotten cheap sunglasses on a rock above Lunch Counter. I wiped the weathered sunglasses off, and put them on. We then hit lunch counter after a few surfs, and a few wipe outs they were still on, and I paddled most of the day with them. Then when the sun went behind the trees. I set them on a rock, and paddled away. Can you believe the sun was out of my eyes all day, and I never swam. Wow river karma must have been taking a day off.
P.S. I do hope people who steal from others get what they deserve it just want be from an invisible force, it will be from someone wearing a badge.
"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."
-- Delos McKown