A gas (petrol for international readers) station attendant was tragically killed in Toronto last Saturday when he attempted to stop a driver leaving without paying for $112 worth of gas (petrol).
My sympathies go to the victim’s family and I hope the person responsible is soon caught, and locked up for a very long time.
Within a few days of the tragedy, a liberal member of our provincial parliament is already calling for legislation to make it mandatory for motorists to pay for fuel before filling up. It seems he intends introducing a private members bill to get this idea into law. I don’t know if he really believes this has a serious chance of making it into law, if it will make any difference to the incidence of fuel theft , or if he is just trying to get publicity for himself.
This is yet another example of nanny state thinking, trying to deny individuals and businesses the right to make their own decisions, rushing new restrictions into law because of just one or very few isolated incidents. Not taking into account the inconvenience to hundreds or thousands of law-abiding citizens that would result from the new laws. Perhaps I am just a naive baby boomer, but it seems that this is a particularly liberal knee-jerk reaction, and one in a long line of similar new laws in the last few years in Ontario. Thankfully some were defeated by public opinion, like no passengers in vehicles driven by under 18 year olds. Others are still on the books like banning certain breeds of dogs even on suspicion of their breeding.
Still others that have no place in a democracy like confiscating a driver’s licence even though he is below the legal limit of blood alcohol or impounding vehicles for alleged speeding before the driver has been found guilty in court. Adding to the nanny state control of our lives are the incorrectly named traffic offences of “racing” or “stunt driving” when no other vehicles, timing mechanisms or stunt equipment are involved. It makes a mockery of objective law enforcement and reinforces the suspicion that traffic fines are seen as a lucrative source of municipal or state revenue to be used at the subjective discretion of police officers on the ground.
What happened to common sense and freedom of choice in decision-making? Both sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Surely it is up to individual gas station owners and attendants to decide on how to handle payments. Our local gas station for example, has prominently displayed signs advising that all gas purchases must be paid in advance after 9pm at night. However they do not enforce that for regular customers. They have the choice and attendants can assess the risk.
Just imagine the numbers of irritated customers at large filling stations trying to fill up before a long weekend or anticipated price rise if they all had to pay in advance. What about people who always fill their tanks like myself and many others? We do not know how much to pay until we have filled up.
What next, more regulations for gas stations today, perhaps tomorrow the nanny state will be telling us what colour cars we can drive on the grounds that certain colours might be offensive to some obscure minority group. Perhaps new restrictions on Internet Marketers.
Time for all freedom loving people to say enough, let’s stop this erosion of individual rights while we can, before we end up more controlled than the Russians were under Stalin.
Time also to accept that we need to be responsible for our own actions in our business and personal lives, not expect the government or “them” to solve all our problems for us.
Let gas station owners take all necessary precautions to protect their workers and prevent theft, punish criminals effectively, but don’t inconvenience the majority of peaceful and law-abiding customers.
I know I am biased, I have experienced at great personal cost what happens when the state uses laws and the police force to terrorise the population and deprive law-abiding citizens of their property, freedom and even their lives. That was in the third world, it is very worrying to see it happening here in the first.
What do you think? Leave a comment, agree with me or call me nuts, I don’t mind, start a debate.
Wishing you success.