[ I originally wrote this article in 2003, but felt it is worthy of repeating
; Bill Johnson]
When I was a child growing up there was a radio program and later it was placed on television, named “Truth or Consequences”. They gave contestants difficult, sometimes impossible questions to answer. If they failed to tell the truth - gave the wring answer - they had to pay the consequences. The consequences were to perform some embarrassing acts that required suffering. There had no choice, if they missed, they had to pay the consequences. After they paid the consequences, they received a prize for their efforts.
The deterrent for bad behavior was that you would always be caught and then there would be consequences to pay.
Our society has changed. Today there is a laxity in enforcing the rules and even civil law.
Now imagine a basketball or football game without referees. And you can visualize the problem. The biggest or meanest kid wins.
You could hear the squawks of all those decent citizens, “We hired you to put an end to the growing crime rate, not bother us upright citizens.”
What the people didn't realize was that upholding the law does not mean to let lesser kinds of lawlessness pass and then stop it when it gets violent. If there is no consequence to a minor infraction, people will continue to push the envelop until they get stopped and have to face consequences. Once you go too far into lawlessness, it is difficult to stop.
Our society insists upon eliminating the consequences for whatever actions people want to take. Today, rather than face the consequences, society provides ways of reducing the consequences. Abortion has become an easy way to eliminate the consequences of extra-marital sex.
Today we are fighting Islamic fundamentalist terrorism on our own shores. Suicide bombers do not mind blowing themselves up as long as they take people with them. In their mind, the consequences for their actions are a blessing in heaven.
We have to take another look at consequences. If you don't tell the truth, you have to face the consequences. If you destroy someone else's property, there must be consequences. Most people realize that there are many factors which cause an individual to take part in riots, looting, violence, and other anti-social activities, but there have to be consequences for these acts. Some would rather blame society for creating the atmosphere in which they take theses actions. It does not matter why people do these things, it is their choice. But there must be consequences for their actions.
Changing people is not accomplished by allowing them to escape the consequences of their actions, but by ensuring that there are consequences.