Opinion: Hammer needed to ensure common sense

It has become painfully obvious over the past couple of weeks that common sense – much like good taste and morality – is next to impossible to legislate.

In the throes of a pandemic like none of us have ever witnessed before, we’re being urged to do whatever is necessary to limit the spread of the virus, including keeping a safe distance from one another. This call for social distancing from government and health officials isn’t difficult to abide by and seems like the least we can do to prevent what could be catastrophic consequences, yet there are still many out there not getting the message.

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To be fair, the majority of people are heeding the appeal and doing what they’ve been told. I was out and about in South Delta last weekend and, save for a handful of teens at the skate park in Tsawwassen, everyone I came across was staying the required distance away from each other. That’s not to say there haven’t been numerous examples of bad behaviour here, and there certainly are well-publicized instances of it elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, which has earned the dubious distinction of Florida of the north.

It’s a shame there are those out there that don’t get the seriousness of the situation we’re facing, but like so much else in our society, unless some people are specifically prohibited from doing something, they’re not going to stop. Suggestions, pleas, warnings and other efforts to get the message across are simply lost on this segment of the population.

The countless instances of panic buying we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is just another example of this kind of selfish behaviour. It stands to reason that if you stockpile supplies and strip store shelves bare, the people coming after you are going to be out of luck. Common sense – and common courtesy – would dictate that shouldn’t happen, but it took stores implementing limits on sought-after items to finally rein some people in.

As the pandemic intensifies, each incremental measure imposed by increasingly frustrated government officials has essentially prevented individuals, groups and businesses from doing something that should have already ceased. They’re being forced to impose common sense, which is a sad commentary on our society.

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