Worried about a society bereft of hope

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Regarding the Rural Crime Town Hall meeting on Jan. 27 at the Innisfail Legion, many of the facts stated by our elected officials were old information – the economy is down, drugs are rampant, and people are desperate.

According to police 60 per cent of crimes are committed by 10 per cent of the criminal population. These are the hardcore criminals. Statistics show 46 per cent of stolen vehicles are those with keys left in them. Please people – take some personal responsibility.

Some new information is that the police are becoming better organized. There is greater cooperation among the different jurisdictions. There’s more strategic planning and they are getting results.

Solutions offered by citizens went from changing our laws to forcing criminals to pay back society while in jail. There was also a wide range of ideas put forward, such as no revolving door for property thefts, taking away the trial by jury option for property crimes, offering petty criminals better rehabilitation and structure/incentives when they get out of jail and a “stand-your-ground law” allowing citizens to protect their property with force if necessary. This last solution was received with applause (an indication of citizen frustration), but of course the RCMP countered with a huge cautionary voice. Tempting as it is, do we really want open season on criminals?

Can we go back to the “good old days” when there was less crime – 10, 20 or 30 years ago? Was their really less crime?

I can vouch for 40 years ago when we didn’t have to lock our cars and our homes, our shops and our churches. But there was crime, and it was deadly for those who got wrapped in it, or trapped by it.

There have always been murders and bank robberies and gangs. There were also the deeper crimes — the unspoken perversion of sexual abuse, neglect and alcoholism. At least nowadays these secrets are being uncovered and families are getting help.

What didn’t happen was the vandalism and the attitude that society “owes me.”

As a Christian I believe in love your neighbour, forgive your enemy and look after widows and orphans. But I also believe in a Higher Power that created all things “good” and then shut the gate to the Garden of Eden due to the disobedience of our original parents. This is called consequence. It stretches from everybody’s birth to death and into eternity.

Our moral behaviour does depend on what we believe. And when we can no longer teach the truth in a so-called free and open society so that each individual can accept or reject it we leave society bereft of hope and purpose. So why not cheat and lie and steal? Because in the long term it doesn’t matter, right?

Mary Flemming

Innisfail

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