In today’s issue, we carry an article about a young man of Chester Cottage whose bright career in the British Armed Forces was extinguished last Friday when he was found to be guilty of possession of an unlicensed firearm.
The 29-year-old was apparently a vital asset to his battalion and an all-round exceptional soldier whose leadership skills had been noted, as attested to by his commanding officer. What then could have gone so wrong during his visit home for Christmas 2021 to make him take such a risk? This very sad story is just one example of how a failure to think beyond the present could have life changing, devastating consequences.
While many actions we take in life could benefit from careful thought before we act, were we to second guess every decision prior to embarking on a course of action would make for a most frustrating existence. We are speaking here not about mundane everyday actions, but those that we know to be unlawful, dangerous or inconsiderate and for which the consequences could be dire.
How do we maintain discipline and do the right thing even when everyone else may be engaged in wrongdoing? Peer pressure has enormous power for good and for bad. If we are to believe the testimony of this soldier’s commanding officer, in the strict conditions of the British Armed forces the young man did everything they asked of him, and he excelled. In the looseness and camaraderie of friends and family here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, he became a law breaker. It is unlikely that he or those around him even considered the danger such conduct posed. But a soldier cannot be anything other than disciplined because loss of discipline can produce poor outcomes. This young man surely understands this now.
His future is by no means over and will not be forever burdened if he draws the right lessons from this unfortunate cascade of undisciplined conduct. The lesson he must learn is a hard one. If you choose to abandon your responsibility to do that which you know to be right and avoid that which you know to be wrong, grave consequences may follow. We all should take heed.