Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Exceedingly Thin Line

Last night some hooligan tried to burn down the golf clubhouse out here.  Although not a golfer, I am reminded by this incident that there remains an exceedingly thin line everywhere between what we call "modern civilization" and "anarchy" - not just outside a G20 meeting in Toronto.  A friend of ours with close ties to the RCMP was recently informed of something I've suspected all along: that we nice, law-abiding, semi-affluent folks would be shocked at the criminal activity that goes on just barely under the surface in our own little community - let alone in those big sinful cities down the road.  The truth is, few people anywhere seem to have any respect for anything these days (themselves included), let alone "the law".  (From income tax cheats to the more obvious gang-bangers, perverts and low-lifes, it seems we're barely keeping the lid on outright mayhem.)  Yet, it is those very laws that make us "civilized".  Without the rule of law we risk descending to the level of, say, Afghanistan, where power still clearly resides in the most vicious tribal warlord - and kids are given a gun instead of an education.  Personally, I think we have been too soft on crime, with the result that we have more of it.  And don't give me that liberal, bleeding-heart, crime-prevention-through-social-development crap.  Just as kids need (and ultimately appreciate) boundaries set by their parents, citizens need laws that are enforced consistently by society if they are to be respected.  Respect is the key.  Respect is lacking.  To get it back we need laws with teeth enforced fairly and consistently.