Tuesday, November 4

How does anyone know "the rules"?

As I look around the community in which I live - the country, the state, and the regional council where I live I wonder if anyone knows the rules of good behaviour.  Not that there is a written document, but I wonder how ordinary people get to understand what is accepted behaviour these days?

I guess it is always a problem - whatever community one lives in.  Even if there is an expectation that people "know" the rules they still disobey them.

This may be a long and convoluted explanation, but hear me out.

I have just been reading about a 26 year old man who with a 19 year old friend set out one day last week to trespass on railway property with the aim of doing some graffiti on trains.  I am quite sure both men knew that it was to be an illegal act.  But they went ahead.  I don't know all the detail, but the older man somehow was electrocuted.  He did survive initially - with burns to more than 80% of his body.  Apparently the other man called the emergency services.  He would have known then that he was in big trouble.  Fortunately he did not desert his friend - who later died from his injuries.

Stupid?  Ignorance/disobeying the rules?  Graffiti in this way is illegal, trespassing is illegal.  Was the "high" they got from their way of having fun worth it?

I know nothing of the 26 year old - but he certainly displayed little concern for his or his friend's welfare and no thought about his family who are probably busy as I write this mourning his death, and preparing for his funeral.

As I ride and walk around my small community of less than 4,000 I see the piles of rubbish in the streets and parks.  People who carelessly just drop the paper, drink can or bottle, or other rubbish right where they stand so that they do not have to walk a few steps or put their own rubbish in a bin.  I saw it when I drove around Australia - along the roadways all around the country is the evidence of the stupidity and lack of care by hundreds and hundreds of travellers.  They just chuck their rubbish from the vehicle as they drive by.  I have spent hours cleaning up the side of the roads and highways.  I lament the stupidity of this "morons" that seem to think that others should be responsible for their mess.

But I go back to my question, "how does anyone know (or learn) the rules of our society?

What on earth do students learn at school?  What do parents teach their children?  Why, as young adults, do people think that they can commit violence, public disobedience, and crime without their being consequences.

Many of my peers wonder at the wisdom of banning parents from smacking their children.  According to the "do-gooders" it creates a violent society - but as I write this, towards the end of 2014, we have a much more violent society than I can recall when I brought my children up - and they are parents themselves these days.   Did I turn out to be violent because my parents smacked me - or hit me with the wooden spoon?  Most of all my parents used it as a threat - for if one had experienced the wrath of an angry parent dishing out punishment with a strong hand or the wooden spoon - the pain is something that you did not wish to have again, so you obeyed the rules.  My children who were threatened more than actually punished, did not turn out violent criminals - for they too knew that the consequences of their actions might result in PAIN.  There is no fear or no consequences that young people these days have to face, and parents have less "tools" to use in their efforts to teach young people right from wrong.

Did the 26 year old trespassing graffiti vandal consider the consequences of his actions?  He was probably full of bravado with no thought as to any problems with what he was doing.  He's dead now and his family will have to deal with his death, the costs (yes, funerals are not free) and other consequences of his demise.

I could guess that 26 year olds don't read the papers, watch the television news, and ignore the copious pieces of paper that turn up in our homes detailing the various changes in the law.  They don't see the programs where potential travellers are denied an opportunity to travel because they have a criminal record.

Those who litter our country with no concern are probably the ones that want to be kind to animals, do something about the pollution and want the world to be totally free and safe, without understanding that we all must take a role in making the world a safer, cleaner and better place with a better future than we seem to have now.

With all the money spend on publicity concerning the health risks of cigarette smoking - and I see young people, many of whom look as if they are unemployed, continue to smoke.  Even older people who perhaps should know better continue to smoke.  I don't know what to do about that.

We all know that drug taking is a major problem - not only with health (it is proven that mental health diminishes with frequent drug use), but with the chaos that fills the lives of those who continue to use drugs, the potential to end up in jail or hospital, the massive cost to the community.  It is a major problem.  I knew in the 1970's of the consequences of drug use - as a registered nurse in a psychiatric hospital - we saw what drugs did to the mind and saw the consequences of people whose lives were ruined by their drug taking.  Still people seem to think they can take drugs with no consequences.  How can we teach them the truth?

How many idiots drive on our roads without a licence?  How many drive unregistered vehicles risking so much?

We must find a way to re-educate people - even some really formal re-education programs in return for Social Security.  People who rely on government pensions (unemployment, disability, aged) should also be required to do the right thing to qualify.  So if they smoke - reduce their pension, if they do drugs, reduce their pension.  If they do crime - apart from being dealt with by the courts they should get less money in their pension.

Do people know the real consequences of drug taking, smoking, law breaking?

Reward those who obey the law and are law abiding useful citizens somehow.  Worth thinking about!



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