Editorial – Ten Commandment enforcement

Jeff Burgar

A local lawyer has often said, “It isn’t the idea of doing something wrong that stops most people from breaking laws. It’s the idea what might happen if they get caught that keeps them honest.”

Many people will agree with that. We don’t cheat on taxes because of penalties. We don’t shoplift because it might hurt our reputation. We don’t rob a bank or steal from our neighbour because of potential repercussions. It just isn’t worth the hassle if we get caught.

So what happened to being a “good” person? You know, as in listening to the Ten Commandments?

The Ten have good intentions in mind. Do we follow these rules for living over fear someone “upstairs” will catch us out? Meaning no telling what wrath might befall us?

Or is it too often these days, not Ten Commandments, but Ten Suggestions? Meaning we can sort of piddle along as our inner voice tells us.

With this in mind, one wonders about two dogs seized from their owner by Edmonton animal control officers in March last year. There were a few incidents. The first was in January, when peace officers got a complaint about the two animals outside in cold weather. A lengthy story about the dogs and the circumstances can be found at a link to the CBC story that came out a few weeks ago. The link is at the bottom of our southpeacenews.com website.

Both dogs had doghouses, one with a warmer pad. One dog was an Alaskan Malamute, the second an English bulldog. Both are now dead. One died in custody. The bulldog went to a friend of the seizing officer, ran loose, hit by a vehicle and died.

Says the still grieving owner, “They would have given their life for me. When it came to the pack, I failed.”

Police refuse to comment, saying it is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, two health workers are now fired after confirmed allegations about racist treatment from a patient. Six months before this incident, another woman died after recording the racist treatment she received in the same regional health network.

In America, the governor of New York State is at this time, under fire from seven females alleging sexual harassment. It still isn’t decided if he should be investigated.

Would these incidents or alleged incidents have happened if there were cameras everywhere, recording the entire events? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

After all, most locations for photo radar are advertised and well-known. But the cameras still catch speeders. These days, just about any happening has security cameras, plus lots of cellphone pics of what is happening. One would think, if the theory of fear of consequences holds true, people including law enforcement, would be far more careful.

But they aren’t. Does this mean there just aren’t enough cameras out there? Whether they be watching cashiers count change, cameras watching for shoplifters, cameras on cops and citizens and any place people are involved, more cameras and recordings might be a better rule.

The Ten Suggestions just aren’t doing a good enough job it seems.

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