The anklet does not ground Neal. Neal has his reasons for staying in NYC. He likes the work and he likes those he works with. The anklet does nothing to enhance redemption and is not a retribution device. It is a device that allows people to track him. Neal has been avoiding that feature when he needed. It is not a safety device , it does nothing to keep Neal in NYC. He really did not need an excuse. He just had to say he wanted to stay and Neal finally did that despite great temptation. The anklet did not help Neal with that decision or with his arguments with Mozzie. The anklet is totally useless and serves no purpose.
The anklet could not ever help prevent Neal from escaping. Neal offered the anklet to Peter as a device to help convince Peter he would not run.in the pilot. Now that Neal has convinced Peter he will not run without cause it was totally useless. Peter knows that for sure now.
If Neal hadn't had the anklet on in the first season, he would have run. We all know it; he knew it, and Peter knew it. The anklet did indeed force him to stay, to a certain extent. It was easier to stay on the anklet as a prisoner than it was to run as a fugitive. So he had to stay. It DID ground Neal.
And the anklet has saved Neal from danger on at least three occasions. It's helped Peter find him, it's helped Peter to figure out his plans in order to aid him whenever Neal gets carried away.
The anklet represents retribution from society. Neal violated the laws of society, and the anklet is a punishment for that violation. It serves the same purpose as prison, only it's a lot nicer than sitting in a cell every day and every night.
Because the anklet did indeed force Neal to stay (again, he could have run, but it was easier not to), it forced Neal to learn to adapt to his situation. As he adapted, he realized that what he had was not the worst thing in the world. He grew to care about the people around him, and they grew to care about him. The anklet has allowed for Neal to grow as a person, in a way that would never have happened without it.
He's also used the anklet as an excuse to not run. At any point when he and Moz had the treasure, he could have had Mozzie get it ready, and he could have run. But he didn't. The anklet was an excuse, especially in the first episode back. Neal has used it as a blockade to prevent himself from leaving. It's his excuse to not run.
Only very recently has he been able to admit that he doesn't want to run. I'm still not convinced that he's completely sincere in that belief, however. I think he means it when he says it, but Neal's world and his needs are constantly shifting.
So the anklet has been vital to Neal developing.
As to Neal's debt to society. I sorry to inform you that Neal never cared about that or showed any concern in the show. I doubt that most criminals would ever be concerned. Personally I have no knowledge of anyone that is a law abiding person believes that drivel. No one has a debt to society. We are all socialized to accept that if we accept certain rules that we can live together as a society. Those rules date from before biblical times. The 10 commandments even buttress those rules.
I don't really care if Neal cared if he had a debt to society. And it doesn't matter if the reasoning behind that debt is social conditioning. What I do care is that Neal has hurt people, and the result is him being on an anklet. Even if Neal never felt any guilt, that 2-mile radius was a huge inconvenience to him -- as it was meant to be. It was a reminder of what he'd done wrong. I don't care how he felt about it or how he viewed it, because it still served the purpose intended -- to make his life less fun.
...Fraud creates damage but not as much damage as those we place in authority do when they abuse the justice system.
They are equally bad. Fraud is very personal, and can devastate entire families. A family could lose their home, they could go without medical care, they could end up on the streets. Entire companies could crumble, thus laying off dozens, even hundreds of people. Fraud can cause prices to rise on goods, and those costs are passed onto consumers. It is not a victimless crime.
Kramer and Peter's abuses of the system are equally troubling. No one wants to hear that the law is being skirted or manipulated, because it makes things harder to convict dangerous criminals, and the discovery of corruption could end up releasing people back on the streets who should remain behind bars.
Using the law as a weapon, in the manner Kramer is doing is wrong. Using the law to allow felonious acts to go unpunished, as Peter has done, is equally wrong. Kramer sees Peter's actions as wrong, and is trying to stop it. He's doing it in the wrong way, but that doesn't make him incorrect. He's right to be concerned.
Imagine if Peter were being so free with the law for someone like Keller. Would you find it as endearing? Of course not. Neal is adorable. We all love him. But that doesn't mean that just because he's loveable that Peter should be doing everything that he has.
However I wondered how Kramer ever thought that he could force Neal. Even if he got Neal physically, he could not force Neal's genius. Neal would not use his abilities as he did with Peter. He would have no reason to. He would not respect or admire Kramer. He would have no emotional need to help a man that coerced him.
His ego figured he'd get Neal away from Peter, put him under a stricter control, and he figured Neal would do ok. I don't think Kramer was going to be horrible to Neal, but I do think he was going to make Neal color inside the lines. He probably figured that Neal would adjust given time. To some degree, Kramer is probably right. Neal could have adjusted, but he wouldn't have been happy.
I think Kramer truly believes that he would be a better leader for Neal. He was very disappointed, angry, and hurt when he realized Peter's full involvement in Neal skirting his grasp. I do believe that he was genuine in his assertions that he feels (at least on a surface level) that Neal and Peter would both be better off without each other. That doesn't make him right, of course. I just don't think he's pure evil.
I disagree that Kramer threats were silly. There were convincing enough for him to have the authority to bring Marshalls to arrest Neal at the hearing. So we may think the charges were specious,but Peter did not. Neal trusted Peter's judgement and when Peter indicated to run. Neal trusted Peter's gut reaction. Neal ran as Peter told him to.
When the man who has for years tell you to run instead of trying his best to get you to stay, you don't argue. Peter has a better feel on what he can get away in the DOJ better than Neal. You seemed to argue that Peter over reacted. I don't think so . Neal was endangered form Kramer's intentions. Any one is vulnerable from the machinations of the justice system when it decides to to use it authority for personal motives.
We'll just have to agree to disagree on this point. I think Peter made a foolish decision regarding Neal's future, based in part on his own selfish desires and ego, and also because he panicked. Out of the many evils he and Neal have faced, I find Kramer to be the one that would probably be the easiest to defeat.
But Peter made his decision, and Neal did too. So we'll see what happens. ;-)
I just hope we get some actual consequences for Peter, and not just Neal about this whole situation. Peter can't keep getting away with abusing the system the way he does without someone calling him on it.