Who do we want for role models? People who have failed or those who have succeeded?
I would rather hear from an example who has lived a drug-free life than a temporarily reformed heroin addict or alcoholic on the wagon. I would rather get marital advice from a person who has remained faithful and married than a person who has never been married or from one who has been married 14 times. There is more to be said by obeying the rules than by disobeying them.
I don't need to acquire a fatal STD to know that abstinence is the best policy. I don't have to spend time in jail to understand it's better not to.
I didn't sit in a community seminar and figure all this out, I opened my eyes and looked around from the time I was able to do so. Aberrant behavior has consequences; I got it. And sometimes those consequences are lifelong, so look before you leap. Again, I got it. While I applaud those few who have ventured foolishly into the dark side and survived, I do not see them as role models. I see them as the few and the fortunate who have lived to serve another day. They now can see what most of the rest of us saw beforehand. And they are stuck with that baggage.
Role models can be good, but having none is no excuse for improper behavior, whether that is strong-arm robberies, vandalism and graffiti, drug dealing and use, dropping out of school, making dozens of babies out of wedlock, ad infinitum. The Lima News is full of examples every day, as are most newspapers. We don't need more examples. We need more personal responsibility and ethical accountability.