Stopped at a traffic light in St. Albert I observed three vehicles in a row come to a rolling or no stop at all while rounding the corner to go into Home Depot. A better and more enlightened man would observe the poor folks were in desperate need of some electrical fixture or much-needed part for their toilet that simply could not wait the 2.7 seconds it takes to come to a full stop.
But not being a better man, rather a cynical man, I observed to my wife that in an age of moral relativism people only seem to obey the laws when there is strong evidence of getting caught. And if caught, people will simply rationalize their misdeed away or narcissistically make themselves the victim of the strong and oppressive arm of the law.
Now while that is a gross oversimplification it does apply to a certain and growing segment of society who simply do not care about anything but themselves and their own personal gratification – be it momentary or long term. Thankfully most of us do come to a full stop at stop signs and traffic lights, most of us do obey the distracted driver law (although I slipped once myself last week) and most of us do not engage in wanton acts of vandalism.
How do we account for that small minority of schmucks who engage in acts of vandalism here in Morinville? Sure we can all shake our head and snicker at the juvenile dumping of soap into the centennial fountain, an act of vandalism that while we can tsk tsk at the level of disrespect for community property, we know inside many find it kind of cute. But a sudsy fountain isn’t a tipped over and damaged display sign, profanity-filled wall of graffiti, broken bottles on the sidewalks for children to step into. It isn’t the broken step rails on Morinville businesses or stolen and destroyed garden items from residential properties.
These acts of vandalism are wanton because they are both deliberate and unprovoked. And while the youth of this community are often the ones blamed for the destruction, it has been my experience that a lot of the damage is done by the drunken schmucks making their way home from a Friday night or Saturday morning bout of good old fashioned binge drinking.
We can be thankful the weather is turning a little nippier, a drop in temperature that never fails to make drunks move a little quicker along their wobbly path towards the next morning’s hangover.
Our police are busy and have a large area to cover. A drunk tipping a barrier may not be a top priority on a Saturday night. But if we see it, we ought to make it our priority to report it nonetheless. Rather than rationalizing it is some harmless activity, we ought to consider it a violation of our rights to a peaceful community.
Perhaps a fine or charge or two will make some think twice before vandalising another’s property. But then again common sense has never been in large enough supply to undermine the effects of too much alcohol.