R-E-S-P-E-C-T; find out what it means to me.
I can’t remember what site I read it on now, but it was a facebook status from someone who was driving, running late and her child asked why she wasn’t going faster to get where they needed to go? She replied that the Police could be hiding anywhere and it was best not to speed in case you got caught. Turns out no less than 5 minutes after this conversation the Police did turn up and stopped her for a random breath test; all clear and good to go. The kids were ecstatic; “that’s amazing Mum, and now I can really see why you should never speed!” The mother was happy for teaching her kids a valuable lesson in life. End of post. Nearly all of the comments waxed lyrical at such providence that the Police turned up when they did and how it taught her children a valuable life lesson on why you should never speed. Seriously, hundreds and hundreds of comments at what an awesome event had occurred.
I just felt sad. Sad for us as a society and sad for our children. Are we really teaching them that the only reason to do the right thing, was not to do the wrong thing in case you got caught? Why aren’t we teaching them that the speed limits exist for our safety and that of our fellow road-users? (Sorry for a bit of a Top Gun mis-quote there) Why can’t a parent say to their child that our law says for our safety, that the speed on this road is 60 km/hr and all good citizens should obey the law. Without law, there would be anarchy. What lesson is it to teach that speeding is OK, or breaking the law, any law is OK, as long as we don’t get caught? Saying this to our children sets them up to disrespect the law, ergo the Police who enforce it, and that is the cause of a lot of our issues in society, the FTP mentality I see and hear so much of.
If we start teaching our children that it is acceptable to break some laws, such as speeding in a 60 km/hr zone but that other laws such as murder and rape are unacceptable, what does that make us?
That Police Officer who gave you a ticket for doing 68 in a 60 zone may have been to a traffic accident earlier, and helped identify someone from their dental records as their face was left on the road. That Police Officer who issued you with a drinking in public fine, may have been to inform the parents of a one punch attack victim which left a young man fighting for life in hospital. That Police Officer who gave you a move on notice from your local pub may have just attended a domestic assault, resulting from the abuse of alcohol. It’s a slippery slope disobeying what you deem to be a trivial law such as low-level speeding, then the next one up, and the next, and the next. Where do we stop? Who says which laws are acceptable to break and which aren’t? You? The Police? A Law is a Law – if you want to change them, then rally and petition and do something about it, but to be teaching our children to blatantly disregard those that you can get away with it? Just no.
My point is that ALL laws are laws, no matter how trivial. The Police do not get the choose which laws they uphold; their job is simple; to uphold “the law”. They do not let some laws slide on a bad day; they have a duty. A duty of care to protect us from others and ourselves. As such, you do not get to choose which laws you obey, however petty you may personally deem them. You obey ALL the laws; not because you might get caught, but because you respect the laws of our country and those whose job it is to uphold them. If you choose to sleep under the safe blanket of protection our Police Officers provide, then you must know that that blanket is woven from ALL laws, from speeding in a school zone, to murder. Every law makes up the civilisation in which we live. You cannot teach your children that you don’t speed in case you get caught, because then you would have to extrapolate that you can’t murder people in case you get caught. One law might be annoying, the other is abhorrent but they are both laws. They are the laws that keep us safe.They are the laws that make us a better society.
“The worst evil of disregard for some law is that it destroys respect for all laws.”
It makes me so sad when I hear people complaining they got “caught” and then blaming the Police for catching them. Its simple; respect our laws, all of them and teach our children to respect them too. If you don’t agree with a Law, then make a stance to change it, don’t flaunt your disregard in our Law enforcers faces. Trust me, they see the tragic consequences of breaking these laws……your worst day is their every day.
Please don’t teach your children that the only reason we are good is in case we get caught being bad; teach them the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, and the simple act of respecting those whose ultimate job it is to keep us safe. If you teach them this core lesson from a young age then maybe they wont be self taught (as I was) and hope that they are bloody lucky that they learn their lesson unscathed.
Then maybe we will raise a better generation than the blameless one we are seeing come up through the ranks now.