The Ontario Safety League is urging a crackdown on stores that sell drug paraphernalia to under-aged teens: “The provincial government should crackdown on convenience stores that sell bongs, drug pipes, pill grinders and similar items, the Ontario Safety League says.  Brian Patterson, president and CEO for the Ontario Safety League, said an undercover operation this spring carried out in convenience stores in Toronto and Barrie that carried drug paraphernalia found staff were routinely willing to sell to 17-year-old mystery shoppers.”  (Antonella Artuso, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief, July 17, 2014)

Selling drug paraphernalia is already illegal so a crackdown should simply mean applying the laws that already exist.  But what is the suggested crackdown?  The Toronto Sun reports;

“We need action to stop neighbourhood stores from selling drug paraphernalia, particularly to our children,” Patterson said.

The OSL is calling on the province to ban the sale of lottery tickets from convenience stores that carry illicit drug paraphernalia.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said retailers convicted of wrongdoing will lose the right to sell Ontario lottery tickets.

“We don’t have a mechanism within the system by which to remove lottery terminals unless they’ve broken the law,” Sousa said. “We have to respect the agreements that we have in place, but we’ve got mechanisms there to protect the public interest.”

Apparently people feel that taking away a store’s right to sell lottery tickets (a legalized activity that many are addicted to) would hurt the local venders more than any punishment provided by law for selling illegal drug paraphernalia.    What do the local venders as a group think about this whole issue; “The Ontario Convenience Stores Association supports the prohibition on the sale of illegal drug paraphernalia, but argues that federal law already deals with these items so new provincial penalties would likely be ineffective.”  (Toronto Sun)

What is really disturbing about this development is that we aren’t dealing with drug lords in some cartel in Mexico or South America.  We are dealing with convenience stores – mom and pop shops – at every corner in our towns and cities.  The owners live in the neighbourhoods that they sell this stuff in.  When ordinary people put profit ahead of morality we are in trouble.   The decay of moral responsibility in society advances with every soul that sells out for profit, convenience, fear or just plain apathy.

Austin Brunson writes; “As a whole, moral behaviors and actions are steadily losing their value as advertising becomes more sensual, immorality becomes the norm, and values such as honesty and integrity no longer play an important role in our daily lives.  Although many people turn their head to the rapidly declining moral society, the problem needs to be recognized and faced head on with immediate action.”  Brunson argues that the individual in society can play a crucial role in moral reform; “People want to be good and to be the cause of something that will better society as a whole.  To have enough influence to create a moral change, we need the individuals themselves to have the drive.  This drive is something that cannot be forced or impressed upon any individual.  Moral reform of the country is a big movement.  If the individual is not deeply committed to the cause, it will not last, nor will it have to drive to push the much needed moral change.” (Ibid)

Being deeply committed to a cause is a not popular in our individualistic society.  It’s ok to donate money, wear a ribbon and honk your horn for a cause that’s popular and not controversial.  Any positions that can be construed as intolerant or prejudicial are not allowed to be publicly expressed.  Yet any moral or ethical stand by definition has to be prejudiced against it’s opposing position.  So problems that we face are hard to dialogue on when the rule is to talk around your  position rather than stating it plainly.  But in order to have moral reform a society has to collectively agree that it has  big problems.  Few want to risk appearing  intolerant or bigoted by speaking out?  Real talk about real problems in society is stifled.

As a result many people today feel that things are going just fine.  They see no need for change.  A similar kind of moral relativism and decay had beset Israel in the time of their Judges; “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)  This philosophy widely adopted by a society is simply self-interest carried to its end stages.  No amount of legislation can make a people moral at this point.  Everyone looks to their own profit margin – the shop keepers as well as the politicians, priests and trusted officials.  Current events in any newspaper attest to this sad state of affairs.

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