Irresponsible acts have consequences

Sometimes responsibility is a hard lesson to learn. It often takes a session or two in the school of hard knocks for it to sink in.
And so, for some of the young people who have enjoyed congregating in Vandalia’s municipal parking lots, the lesson has begun.
Members of the Vandalia City Council this week began discussions that – if carried through – may result in those young people being prohibited from congregating in the lots at the intersection of Fifth and Johnson streets. An ordinance is being drafted, and the council will vote on it at an upcoming meeting.
“Why are aldermen picking on them?” you may ask. “Why can’t the kids have a place to meet with friends? After all it’s only half a block from the police station; their behavior can be monitored there.”
That’s where the issue of responsibility comes in.
It’s not a problem for the kids to be there. It’s what goes on there. One only has to drive past the lots to see what apparently has been allowed to become acceptable behavior among the young people.
Trash is casually strewn around the municipal parking lot and the caboose lot. Multiple windows have been broken in a nearby vacant house. Parked vehicles have been damaged. Concrete capstones from the brick walls around the city lot have been removed and smashed. The walls have been rammed by vehicles and destroyed. Landscaping bricks around the caboose have been removed and strewn about. And vehicles have been hot-rodded dangerously close to pedestrians – both within the lots and on Johnson Street.
Downtown workers who use those parking lots have complained about feeling intimidated by the young people when walking to their cars in the evening.
Within every crowd, there are bound to be a few knuckleheads. That’s just the way it is – for kids as well as adults. But it’s up to those with a sense of responsibility to positively influence their friends. They must have the courage to challenge their friends when stupid stuff starts happening. They must set a good example by doing the right things, even when others are tossing their trash on the ground or destroying others’ property.
Unfortunately, not enough responsible kids have stepped up.
As a result, everybody is going to suffer. In cases like these, there’s a direct relationship between rights and responsibilities. Irresponsible behavior is about to result in the loss of the right to hang out in the city lots.
And they have no one to blame but themselves.

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