Update This was also printed in Saturday's Telegram on Aug. 28.
There have been a couple of good Telegram articles recently about the good and the bad of St. John's famous/infamous George Street. A few hard-hitting messages came through - George St. has an image problem, there is an alarming hard drug problem, and our culture of alcohol glorification show no signs of waning. Police authorities surely have their hands full dealing with weekend brawls, vandalism, noise and unruliness. Councillor Tom Hann saw it first-hand as he took a drive with the RNC 3 am Sat. night. The police say it would be helpful to install closed-circuit television cameras on George St.
Maybe it will deter some potential public brawls on that particular street, but it won't stop people from acting out of control either with drugs, booze, or their inner selves. Our whole culture, whether it's a city, town, or outport, has found the lure of alcohol, well, intoxicating, and from young ages on up, many still glorify it. For better or worse, our realities are influenced by the activities, personalities around us, attitudes, and habits that are powerful in our environments. This particular witness to a culture of over-drinking has noticed that there does not appear to be much emphasis, in general, on self-control. At least it wasn't a topic in my school curriculum, or there were few, if any, public messages about it. As we see, it affects adult behaviour and society in negative ways.
We are all human, and it is not always easy to take control of some habit that we have become accustomed to. However, as we also know, good habits can begin to replace unhealthy ones, and we can control our lives, rather than have negative habits control us. It goes for drugs, alcohol, food, and personal behaviours.
Naturally, parents and guardians have a huge role to play in educating their kids, and imparting messages of self control when it comes to potential problem temptations. However, young people still don't hear much about self-control in general. On the contrary, it's cool to throw away any antiquated sense of that, to "treat yourself", "just do it", "par-tay", and don't even think about what any "foods", drugs or alcoholic toxins can do to your body. As a matter of fact some restaurants use an opposing message to self control by their tantalizing "All You Can Eat" lure.
A message that can be out there more, is that we as individuals can control so much, like what we decide to eat and drink, and how fit we are, hence also helping to control the demand on health care, and the demands on the authorities who have to patrol all the George Streets, wherever they are. What happens on George Street and lots of roads and streets are preventable in the long run, but the roots of the problems and behaviours need to be studied, and addressed by every segment of our culture.