The Midnight Redlight Dilemma

Recently, I was on campus very late — approximately midnight. I live relatively close to campus so walking wasn’t an issue, but I tried to catch the bus anyway so I would only need to walk halfway.

As I waited at the Columbia bus stop for the 201, the only bus still running at that point, I took in my surroundings. Besides those waiting with me for the bus, and those waiting on the other side of the street for their bus, the intersection was deserted. A car would pass by once in awhile, but otherwise it was pretty damn empty.

This moment brought back a moral dilemma my father would often ask my sister and I when we were kids: You’re at a redlight in the middle of the night in your car. No one is around. Do you go?

My young, naïve self would think “Yes, yes! GO!” because I was an impatient preschooler, even though I knew better. It is technically wrong to run a red light, even if it’s the middle of the night in the country.

Y’know that old anecdote “You can take the boy out of the country, but can’t take the country out of the boy,” that’s kind of like me and Catholic school. Not that I’m overly religious, but the ethics they have taught me continue to this day. For example, I still feel uncomfortable wearing hats inside. Even on the bus, I just feel weird wearing a hat.

So anyway, it’s midnight and I’m waiting. The old dilemma of the red light crosses my mind, and then I catch the bus and go home.

Cut to Halloween night — my disdain for drunk university students is doubled. Jesus H. Christ, students lose a lot of morals when they get drunk. My Halloween was not the greatest, but I’ll admit I dislike going out in general so I was already biased against the evening. It was cold that night, people were running after taxis like predators after prey. People were obnoxious, getting right into me and my friends’ faces. People were just downright rude. I saw a mob form — legit, I called 911 because a large sum of people stormed an innocent car.

I was waiting for a taxi with my friend, and I was very concerned for what would happen when ours showed up — would someone else try to fight us for the ride? Thankfully it was uneventful, but that doesn’t change the fact people on the streets were calling at our taxi to stop. Some people actively blocked the streets for some cars — hence the mob mentioned earlier.

Going out on holidays like Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day is exactly why I want to get out of Waterloo as soon as possible. I dislike living in a university town because, frankly, the students ruin it. Yes, the suburbs are much quieter but it doesn’t change how I feel about living here. Most of the time, the students are fine — I’m not gonna say upstanding, but fine. It’s the Friday and Saturday nights out, the partying holidays that I just hate. Students lose some serious morals when drunk and that’s messed up.

I mean seriously?! People are SWARMING CARS just to get home?! I’m not condemning those who drink, but can’t society have the same respect, whether you’re drunk or sober? IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?

This is the midnight redlight moral dilemma: should we act unethically when no one is looking? Typically no, but alcohol changes people and often not for the better.


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