As a believer in free enterprise and a marketer, I sometimes wonder how the modern nanny state type government we have allowed to emerge in the West functions at all.
Recent news items about young girls being harassed by police officers for having the initiative to sell lemonade without a permit in several US states were bad enough.
Now it seems that elderly home owners this side of the border are to be persecuted for being foolish enough to try to protect their own property. A news item today reported that a 61-year-old home owner was charged by the police for firing a shot to try to arrest 2 much younger thieves he caught in the act of stealing his property from his house. He did not actually shoot at the thieves from what I understand, just tried to stop them.
Isn’t it amazing that our wonderful police force could not protect the law-abiding residents and business owners of Vancouver during the riots in June. Until 2 weeks ago, and perhaps to this day, they have not been able to arrest a single criminal from those riots despite good co -operation from the public and huge numbers of photographs and videos of the perpetrators.
Going back a few years, the police could not (or the government was too spineless) to protect the residents of Caledonia during an illegal occupation and blockading of public roads in that town. Huge financial losses were incurred by residents, business owners and a developer. Public and private property was damaged, and ultimately Ontario taxpayers footed the bill for government ineptitude.
But within hours of a law-abiding elderly homeowner trying to protect his property, the police are there to charge him. The paranoia about firearms in a country that was largely tamed with them is, quite amazing.
There was also the case recently where a Toronto resident had several police cars descend on his property, was arrested and taken away in handcuffs because out of frustration, he killed a raccoon in his garden with a shovel. Frustration because despite numerous calls to the city authorities, he could not get any help to deal with the problem animals.
Imagine if he had used a gun to kill them in an arguably more humane fashion, he would probably be looking at life imprisonment with solitary confinement.
I am not condoning cruelty to animals at all, the obvious solution in that case would have been to trap the offenders and release them in a conservation area.
This incident was apparently gleefully reported to the police by neighbors (what a wonderfully neighborly thing to do) who then tried to get enough support in the surrounding area to have the subject of the case drummed out-of-town.
What people should realise, is that whether we like it or not, urbanisation disrupts nature. In any conflicts between man and wild animals, man tends to prevail. Some species like raccoons, mice, rats and mosquitoes see human activity as a ready source of direct or indirect food. This increases the chance of conflict and the need to remove or dispose of the unfortunate animals.
I am not for a moment questioning the bravery or dedication of individual police officers and I imagine they are equally frustrated at being restrained from dealing effectively with real criminals yet directed to intimidate law-abiding home owners, shop keepers, and young lemonade sellers.
What is the world coming to when the ever-expanding government makes it increasingly difficult for law-abiding citizens to possess firearms, fails to contain crime then prosecutes us for trying to protect ourselves and our property.
For all our claims of a superior society, various so-called “3rd World” countries seem to respect individual rights to protection of life and property better than we do. It’s just a pity that most of them have no respect for political rights or tolerance of opposition to the regime that happens to be in power.
Am I being to harsh? I would love someone to provide evidence that I am wrong, but I fear we are on the slippery slope to a big brother type government out of George Orwell’s 1984. I have seen my own country destroyed by a dictatorial government’s actions. People there refused to believe what was happening until it was too late.
The downside is that, at some point on that slope, solid, honest, law-abiding citizens may wake up and decide that enough is enough and start taking matters into their own hands. Admittedly that would be difficult with the population largely disarmed, but as the people of Libya have just shown, where there is a will, there is a way.
Anarchy and vigilante action are the last things we need, lets hope enough people wake up and elect leaders who have the moral fibre to reverse this trend and start looking after the law-abiding people not the criminals.
What has this got to do with marketing? Nothing directly but everything indirectly.
The police getting their priorities wrong is not going to affect us directly unless we are unfortunate enough to have our house or business attacked by rioters, we are foolish enough to try to protect our selves or our property against crime or we try to dispose of garden pests wearing fur coats.
But this is yet another example of the thin end of the wedge. Every additional restraint that an expanding government places on us through new legislation or different police priorities that we accept without a murmur, is an invitation for even more restrictions. Today elderly home owners may be the target, tomorrow it may well be the internet, working from home in designated areas, a cap on income in specified industries or professions, or even where we can live and what car we can drive.
Wishing you success (and safety) in all your endeavours.