And Then a Burglary Sets Me Back $2000

Update: As of now, amazingly generous patrons have sent me a total of almost $5000. So I am well above what I needed for a financial recovery, and I am going to apply the difference to covering the cost of arranging speaking engagements in the cities donors asked for (so you will all have made those trips possible and saved local organizations some expenses!). Thank you so much, everyone. This was far beyond what I expected. It quite caught me by surprise. Now go forth and battle the dragons of the world!

I’m hoping to get some small financial help from fans and supporters to help me recover from a setback. My own income ranges between $15,000 and $25,000 a year. So losing $2000 in one burglary hurts. A lot. And that just happened this last weekend. I am fortunate that I combine my income with Jen’s, but she is moving to part time work and going back to school, so our combined income will get us by (tuition and all, plus she has to buy a second vehicle to manage her new schedule without conflicting with mine), but two grand is still a sore loss.

So I’m hoping some awesome folk out there who like my work might help me make up the loss. There’s a tiny perk for anyone who does. More on that shortly.

If you prefer to devote money to a more alarming charitable cause, I quite understand. The Foundation Beyond Belief is representing the atheist community in helping child refugees get legal representation (they have no right to an attorney, so the state is not providing them any…literally, these kids have to advocate for themselves in court). That’s an excellent example of what I had called for several weeks ago. It’s a huge crisis that needs a lot of help.

But at the same time we all have to make a living. And as an independent scholar, I depend on funding from supporters of my work. I sell books, collect small speaking fees, do some online teaching and contract work, earn tiny amounts from blogging and various other sources (to see a complete list of all the ways to support my work through commerce and beyond, see my official support page). But I also take fan-funded research grants. Any money sent in support helps keep me going, and keeps me hopeful that I’m making a difference that people appreciate. So anyone who does appreciate all I’ve done, and wants to see more, I would be so moved if you can reward me with your patronage this coming week.

(Of course you could give a little to both causes.)

If you want to help me make up my loss, or just show your appreciation and support, please send me any amount you want through PayPal (my account is

And when you do, when it lets you add a message to me, say what city you’d like me someday to speak in.

I’ll then rank the cities named by the amount of money backing them, and get to work trying to set up a speaking engagement at each one, starting at the top. I can’t promise to succeed, but I will contact all the organizations there that might be willing to pool together the expenses of bringing me out. Unfortunately this means probably just destinations in the U.S. and Canada will come through. You can certainly name overseas destinations. But the cost to fly me to them is prohibitive to most interested parties, so I’m unlikely to succeed at it. Advice on that is welcome, though, which you can include in your message (whom to contact, for example). But if I am inspired to get a gig in a city you name with your donation, that’s a tiny perk you can claim (“I set that in motion!”).

Meanwhile, here’s what happened, if you’re curious…

This weekend, after selling and signing On the Historicity of Jesus at an event for the first time ever (in San Francisco), our car was broken into and my locked supply trunk stolen (as well as our car’s emergency road kit). Within was my iPad (which the thieves wisely must have destroyed, or else I would have caught them by now…an iPad is basically a lojack), an also-locked cashbox containing almost $500 in cash (all my cash sales for the night plus bills for making change…I will count it a small justice if they injure themselves trying to crack that open), and all my unsold stock (which I will have to replace…sadly, the thieves will probably throw all those books in the trash). As well as my prescription sunglasses for driving. They also destroyed the driver’s side window (and our beloved Canadian flag sticker) to get to all of it. Our car’s boot is broken, it can only be opened with a key, so the thieves had to tear into it from the back seat and drag the gear out the front.

This happened Saturday. And I have been running around doing little else but getting everything fixed and replaced these last four days, setting me way back on scheduled work. The repairs to the car cost us $388. (Hey, plus a few bucks for a new Canadian flag sticker, damn it…it’s there because Jen’s Canadian, but I like reminding people America isn’t the only country, and we’ve long loved the sentimental value of seeing that flag there.) The road kit will run about $60. Replacing my sunglasses was a bugger. That cost $216 (frames and lenses), plus $52 for a new eye exam (since my prescription expired, and they won’t cut you lenses with an expired prescription, I am now to learn). The storage locker itself cost $52 to replace; the cashbox, $29. The iPad (and cover and related gear), $859. The unsold books will cost $183 to replace. And the $470 in cash. But the atheists at the pub were very generous and pooled together $80 right from their pockets to help offset that loss. So after all that, this burglary cost me $2229. Homeowner’s insurance might cover two or three hundred (I am in negotiation over that, so it’s not a done deal yet), but that’s pretty much it, because that has a $1000 deductible and they don’t cover damage to the car; while our car’s insurance deductible is $500, more than the repairs. So in the end, this burglary put me down this year by around $2000.

With all that’s going on in the world, I don’t expect to make back all of the two thousand from supporter and fan contributions. But if by some strange and unexpected wonder I receive more than that, I will count it as further patronage of my ongoing and future work. (If it’s an unusual amount I’ll mention it in comments, but again this is not likely to happen.) I have things in the pipe on ancient science and modern philosophy, including (gasp!) defenses of feminism and critiques of Libertarianism. And of course continuing elucidation and defense of the findings in On the Historicity of Jesus. The more encouragement and support I get, the more motivated I’ll be to up the game at every step, which takes hard work and a lot of time.

To all those who do help out, thank you. It’s hugely appreciated.


(And now I’m off to Seattle to see old friends and eventually debate the historicity of Jesus at the Atheist Alliance of America convention.)


  1. badgersdaughter says

    Dr. Carrier, if it helps, you can probably get your sunglasses replaced fairly cheaply online. I have done it myself. You just need to specify your prescription numbers. Google “buy prescription sunglasses online” (I’m in Ireland, so it brings up mostly Irish results for me, but it brought up American results when I was in the USA). Sorry for not contributing in cash; I’m out of work right now. But I’ll be happy to chip in when I’m working again.

    • says

      Several people have suggested things like that, but I have concerns about labor rights and welfare. Some such suppliers, for example, appear to be Chinese workshops, which are under no clear labor protections; I have no way of knowing what I’m actually supporting. The reason we pay more is that we are paying for worker rights and decent wages (all the way through the supply train). So saving money is not always the best idea, unless you are indeed so poor you have to. But I tread water now. By contrast I’ve been genuinely poor, so I know what that’s like. But now I can afford to support a better system for everyone. So I do. And will as long as I can.

  2. A. Osmena says

    I would like to send you a small amount.
    Where should I send it to?
    I am sorry it had to happen to you.
    Antoinette Osmena
    P.S. Could I buy your book instead?

    • says

      Thank you. But I’ve received more than enough (I’ve been so busy catching up on missed time for work I couldn’t even find time to look at blog comments until now!).

      But yes, definitely if you can buy my books, the ones you want, and talk them up to everyone you can if you like them, that is always the best win-win way to support me.

  3. kathleenmcnamara says

    I’m really sorry that this happened. I don’t know if it’ll help, but if you haven’t ordered new sunglasses yet, look into ordering them online. There are websites where you can enter your prescription directly into the site. One site I know of is Zenni optical, which is quite cheap, on the order of $10-20 per pair. I’m sure there are other similar sites out there. All this assumes you actually have a piece of paper somewhere with your prescription on it from whenever you last got glasses.

  4. says

    Hi Richard,
    Dealing with the vagaries of PayPal. I just opened account with them, so they will not let me send money yet, but in a few days I am sending $500.

    If you were paid what you are worth to society, you would be making more than a corp. CEO makes.

    I’m up to chapter 7 in your new book. It’s great!



  5. Anonymous Coward says

    It seems surprising that the thieves went through so much effort to get into your trunk. I’d expect them to give up and move on to another car the second they realized it wouldn’t open. It makes me wonder whether this was not random. Which probably sounds nuts, but I mean–why go through all that trouble unless they had a specific interest into getting into _that very car_’s trunk?

    OTOH I suppose once a person has set his mind to doing something like this, the state of panic you probably go into once you’ve begun might give you some tunnel vision…

    • says

      The storage locker looks like the kind of one musicians store amps and instruments in. I’m sure they thought they were getting tens of thousands in tech they could sell. That they are surely massively disappointed is a small justice. (Though the loss to me was great, there actually wasn’t anything in it they could sell…the iPad is locatable…the books would be a chore to unload…the sunglasses are my prescription and so useless to nearly everyone else…etc…so all they really got was a trunk with almost no resale value and less than five hundred in cash.)

  6. Tony Camonte says

    What goes around comes around, Dick! Considering how you treat people, you deserve this, asshole!

    • says

      Oh, hey, that’s true. I destroy people’s property and commit grand theft against them all the time. Oh wait, no I don’t.

      You know who else thought punishing someone’s free speech with destroying and seizing their property was justice? Hitler and Stalin.

      Ooops. Guess who that makes you in this analogy.

  7. John MacDonald says

    Speaking of courses you’re teaching, when does the one about the historicity of Jesus start? I signed up over a month ago and I still haven’t been Emailed a user name and password. I thought the course was starting on the first of August.

  8. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Shit sucks. I got a round of donations on the spot which we gave to your wife at the event. Good luck to you.

    • says

      Yes, I gave props for that in my post (that would make you the awesome atheists in the pub who came up with that eighty bucks, left Jen speechless!).

      That was so kind!

  9. says

    I feel for you. This happened twice to me, when I was in college in San Diego. Worst feeling I’ve ever felt. I hope my meager contribution helps. Your work is worth it.