Seeing photos of people filling trash bags with gasoline recently left me yearning to once again be 12 years old with a BB gun and a complete lack of concern for (or understanding of) consequences.

I also yearn for the good old days where consequences were not delayed so long. I mean I can remember a day when you did something stupid and the vengeance of the universe was dealt to you immediately and with impunity.

When I was 12, I may not have been concerned about or understood consequences when I was doing something stupid, but I can assure I gained that understanding and concern quickly when those consequences came. Did you ever build your own Evel Knievel ramp out of scraps you found around the house and then actually use it? If you did, you probably know what I mean about instant consequences.

I blame the government. So much of the instant karma we saw in the 60s, 70s and 80s has been regulated away by the government. Have you read some of the warning labels out there today. Only the government would require these messages on consumer products.

A quick internet search produced plenty of examples (most with pictures). Here are a few:

• “Do not hold the wrong end of the chainsaw.”

• On a washing machine: “DO NOT put any person in this washer.”

• On a hair dryer: “Do not use while sleeping.”

• On a clothing tag: “Remove child before washing.”

• A clothes hanger: “Caution: Do Not Swallow!” This one comes complete with a cartoon drawing of a person who had apparently swallowed one and a circle with a line through it to emphasize that it was not to be done.

There’s plenty more where those came from.

Admittedly some of those probably came about because of the 60s, 70s and 80s, but consequences for doing something without thinking it through are nowadays much too slow. It’s like putting your hand in a fire and then a couple years later it starts hurting. That’s not helping at all.

I’m willing to say that anybody who actually needs the warning labels above are probably the same folks who are running around putting gasoline in trash bags. I know that may be a big jump in logic, but I’m willing to defend my stance if necessary.

Then you have the hoarders, who I will not call what I want to call them because 1) my mom reads these columns; 2) this is a family newspaper and 3) they are in need of the same grace, mercy and forgiveness God has given me.

I’ll just say this, if you are the reason a store is having to limit something they sell, you are causing the problem. Maybe look up self awareness in the dictionary and then read about self denial in the Bible.

Let me be clear, I think it was completely prudent last week for everyone to fill up all of their vehicles and their other gas-powered equipment when they heard that gas could be in short supply for a few days. Makes perfect sense.

I’ll even go as far as to say it was completely acceptable for each family to buy a couple of packages of toilet paper when they could last year when that was the crisis du jour.

However, it takes a pretty big leap to get from that to putting gasoline into trash bags and storage bins and then putting those into the back of your vehicle. You’re just begging for circumstances to turn against you in a major way.

By the way, I have to say that parents over the past 20-30 years bear some of the blame for this as well. The folks who need those warning labels above most likely didn’t have parents like mine, who were willing to let me learn some pretty hard lessons on my own.

Have you ever heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, I’m going to copyright my saying, “an injury is worth a thousand warning labels.”

We’ve gotten softer as parents, always trying to protect our kids from everything that could harm them and ultimately leaving them ill-prepared for a world just waiting to beat them down physically, mentally and emotionally.

People who never as a kid crashed their bike on a home made ramp have no problem crawling up in the back of their SUV with a bunch of trash bags and a gasoline pump nozzle. What could go wrong? That’s where 12-year-old me and a BB gun could teach a few lessons.

In a stroke of genius the government has now started playing the role of your siblings and friends, watching you engage in the stupid activity then, when you’re done, telling you shouldn’t do that. When I was a kid this usually happened while you were bleeding from the consequences of said activity.

From what I hear, the gasoline crisis of 2021 is over now, unless you count the prices, but let’s not go there today.

Now maybe we can start hoarding a few other things like common sense, jobs, Bibles, good deeds and empty spaces on church pews.

No trash bags required.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

— 1 John 1:8-9 ESV

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