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on consequences

I had been watching a documentary on TV and had become bored enough to have picked up my tablet and started checking emails by the time that the programme ended. I was so engrossed that I did not realise that a new programme had begun until some of the dialogue started to prick my hearing.

The new show was about someone who had been jailed whilst living abroad and whilst it seemed a fair assessment to say that he was ignorant of the law that he had broken, there was little doubt that he had transgressed from what was presented. What struck me though was the complete denial of his friends and relatives that he was in any way at fault, the concept of other countries having different laws to us being dismissed as almost not relevant. Their dear relative/friend was simply a victim of silly foreigners and their odd ways.

It seems a feature of modern thinking that wrongdoing, if perpetrated by someone close, can just be glossed over and forgotten. Another example of this was on the news in one of my recent travels abroad when two late-teenagers died when they crashed the stolen car that they had been racing around the streets in. Parents and friends eulogised the pair as fine young men, yet the police confirmed that they had both been arrested several times for stealing cars. I try to be fair, but to me fine young men do not go around stealing cars and driving like idiots.

I am all for being supportive of friends or relatives who are in trouble and would not drop a friend simply because of something that they did, but that is different to denial that anything had happened. Helping someone get through troubles is an important part of your relationship with them, but part of that help is accepting what they have done and dealing with it in a mature way.

Our actions, and inactions, have consequences. Equally we should respect the ways of others and, when in their country, strive to understand that we may not be able to behave there in the same way as we do at home. For me the consequences of my failure to pay attention to the TV and turn it off at the end of my programme got me into this musing so perhaps I got off lightly, but then I was in the privacy of my own home. But when out in our own or other people’s communities we should be prepared to conform or the consequence may well be loss off liberty or life.

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