Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Caught!

I was meandering down a windy street, heading for the BK for an early lunch, when I saw blue and red lights flashing from the other side of the street.

My initial reaction was something like, “Yes! Uh huh! ‘Bout time. You thought you’d get away with it, then blam!”

I was pretty sure the little red sedan had made an illegal right turn in a construction area, and Mr. Policeman was there waiting. Why did I have such a mean-spirited, taunting reaction to the poor gentleman?

This had been a legal right turn, and a shorter way to get to the north side of town, before the city decided to rebuild the 6-lane bridge. According to my 8-yr-old, it’s been at least 3 months. So when that no right turn sign went up, I fumed, but I obeyed. I also watched as others slowed to a near halt trying to make the same illegal turn, backing up traffic in the process.

It’s nice to see justice once in awhile. It’s nice to know that for once, someone blatantly disobeyed the law and had to pay the price. Have you ever worked somewhere where there is favoritism, or where it doesn’t matter whether you take a 10 minute break or a 30 minute break on the clock, because no one is paying attention? You feel foolish for following the rules, because no one else is, and no one in management seems to care.

I read a story this week about a lady who used to work in a factory in China. Like a typical socialist-type factory, everyone was paid the same wage, all the time, no matter what. What happened? People goofed off, showed up late, took long lunches. They took their knitting into the factory because they could. They didn’t bother to follow the rules because there was no incentive for keeping them, and no punishment for breaking them.

That’s why I got so thrilled at the driver’s misfortune. He got what he deserved. Mercy and grace have no meaning without justice. There’s a reason for social order, and it’d be a better world if we all tried to follow the rules (at least most of the time).

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