Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BE GOOD


I was talking to my neighbour who just happens to be a retired city detective today standing by the garbage bin. The garbage bin isn’t important to the story, it was just there and so were we. I did confess to Stan that I put some garbage in his bin this last garbage day. That is another thing that has no impact on the story. While I am talking about things that aren’t important, I might as well mention that both Stan and I hated our old garbage man. We both didn’t like him for the same reason, but I think my dislike was greater than Stan’s. It seems that this garbage man (and he was trash) didn’t like the metal cans that we used to have. He would bang the can on the edge of the truck and put a big dent in it. Every garbage day I would pick up the dented can and hammer it back out for the next week. It turns out that Stan would do the same thing. I knew there was something I liked about Stan.

Well, eventually the garbage guy tossed our lovely metal cans in his truck and we both called to complain. The city offered to buy us new cans, but the fun had gone out of it and they would have given us pretty new plastic cans. Happily, the city went to the garbage bin and it is my hope that our trash guy was one of the hundred or so that were laid off. Tough on the other 99 though.

So, Stan and I were talking about how the city seems like it is becoming more crime ridden than it was. The police seem to only be interested in gangs and the drugs and violence they generate. I don’t doubt that it is a problem, but it is the disease, not the symptom. I should preface this by saying that everything I say is based on my observation and more than likely has no basis in the reality of crime prevention.

I think it begins with the little things. Things like running a yellow light, coasting through a stop sign when no one is there, “sampling” the grapes/cookies/chips at the store and not paying for them. People seem to me to think of themselves to the exclusion of everyone else. It is OK to keep the money when the teller makes a mistake, because you spend a lot of money in this store. Your car needs $1500 dollars worth of repairs and you sell it without revealing the problem. I could go on and on.

I am guilty of some of these little crimes, but I do try to follow the laws as written. I guess part of the problem is that some laws are just unenforceable for the most part unless you want the 1984 police state. You can’t break the little laws! It really does lead to breaking bigger laws and human beings can justify almost anything. I know a guy that would lie and cheat to get a “deal” and although technically legal, what he did was ethically and morally wrong. One day I was talking to this guy and he told me that his one son was in prison and he couldn’t figure out why this particular boy went bad. I didn’t bother to tell him that his boy had learned that life should owe him a living at his father’s knee.

Little lies aren’t the same thing as white lies. White lies are said to make someone feel good, and little lies are said to justify what you just did. You know what you did was wrong, and so does everyone else, but we have become used to it. The pendulum will swing back again some day and we will once again wait to cross the street when there are no cars coming, we will drive the speed limit, we won’t pour oil and paint into the sewer and we will treat people like we would like them to treat us.

Have a fun night and BE GOOD!

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