If it wasnít so downright discouraging and Ė for obvious reasons Ė disturbing, it would almost (notice I say almost) be funny. You know what I mean, the constant stream of repeat offenders that one sees on a near-daily basis in the pages of The Evening Sun. Whether itís your daily dose of the Police Blotter, a county court round-up or the monthly installment of grand jury indictments, more often than not there seems to be at least one or two (or three or four) names that ďring a bell,Ē if you get my drift.
Not that it hasnít always been that way, Iím sure; every village, town and city has its fair share of troublemakers and neíer-do-wells.
Regardless, itís fairly easy to break the more serious criminal activities in our area down, if in a general sort of way: predatory sex, drugs and crimes committed in an effort to purchase and/or steal more drugs. And while alcohol abuse and drunk driving also rate right up there, well, thatís nothing new, is it?
The problem, as Iíve heard time and time again, is a lack of responsibility. Iíve heard this from judges, district attorneys, law enforcement and public defenders. And in all honesty, if I had a dollar for every time Iíve heard the phrase ďtake responsibility for their actionsĒ in a court of law ... letís just say I could go out and buy myself a nice, shiny pair of shoes. You know, the expensive ones, and Iíd have a nice chunk of change leftover.
Responsibility, defined in cases such as these as ďreliability or dependability, especially in meeting debts or payments.Ē
Because thatís what our local repeat offenders canít seem to get through their head. When you commit a crime Ė once caught and convicted Ė itís your duty to make-up for that crime to the community as a whole. In some cases, this is as simple as paying restitution or just appearing in court. In others, some time behind bars, either here on the county level or in state prison.
Itís that simple. And thereís always an excuse, trust me.
ďMy parents beat me as a child.Ē
ďIím a third generation alcoholic ... itís genetic.Ē
ďThe drugs make me feel good.Ē
ďMy dog told me to do it.Ē
Far too often, in any number of scenarios, people are quick to blame others for their own mistakes. Iíve done it, youíve done it, weíve all done it. And like a pathological liar, people will continue to do so Ė many times Ė until theyíre either blue in the face or they convince the other party (and themselves) that what they say is true. Once again, itís all about responsibility.
Iím certainly not one to talk, as Iíve had my fair share of screw-ups over the years. In fact, itís not until I came here to The Evening Sun that my life made a much-needed U-turn for the better, but thatís a column for another day.
Thankfully, none of this has permanently damaged (at least I hope so) our small-town communities, countywide. This always has been Ė and still is Ė a great place to live and raise a family. Yet itís obvious Ė just reading the paper or watching the news Ė that crime is, if not on the rise, certainly a constant worry, even here in our remote little corner of New York State. And with the growing epidemic that is prescription drug abuse (extremely addictive), itís no wonder that crimes associated with such abuse are also so prevalent; burglaries, robberies and violent crimes, to name just a few.
In any case, Iím not trying to preach here, but for those who continue to commit these crimes, please make an attempt, any attempt will do, to consider the consequences of your actions. Being responsible Ė and accountable Ė to oneself is the first step toward being responsible Ė and accountable Ė to the rest of us.
Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.