Recently, I’ve been on jury service.

It struck me that all the defendants had something in common.

They all couldn’t accept that their actions would have consequences.

They couldn’t see the connection.

It seemed to me, most crimes start off this way.

A tiny little thing that gets out of hand.

A belief that they are in the right.

And that’s enough.

A few years back, I passed a traffic warden in Soho, putting a ticket on a parked car.

A man came rushing out of a shop and started swearing at her. Screaming at the top of his lungs, abusive and threatening.

The traffic warden spoke calmly into her walkie-talkie.

Soon a police car arrived and several police officers got out.

They told the man to calm down.

He started screaming at them.

They said they were arresting him.

As they tried to put the handcuffs on, he fought them.

He went to court charged with assault, and resisting arrest.

He probably got prison, or at least probation.

As well as a large fine and a police record.

A parking ticket was, by this time, the least of his problems.

What he suffered from was not being able to see cause and effect.

Not understanding that his actions would have consequences.

Assuming that because he felt he was in the right, that was enough.

I heard him as he ran out of the shop, yelling at the traffic warden.

That they shouldn’t be allowed to fine people for parking.

He paid his road tax.

He’d already paid to use the road.

Then he yelled she shouldn’t have given him a ticket, he’d only been gone two minutes.

When the police arrived he yelled it was the traffic warden’s fault for giving him a ticket.

She was the unreasonable one, they should arrest her.

When they arrested him he refused to allow them to handcuff him.

He yelled there was no need, he wasn’t resisting.

Everything made sense in the world inside his head.

Just one problem.

This wasn’t that world.

This was the outside world.

And his refusal to acknowledge the way it was in the outside world caused everything to escalate.

But that’s how it always happens.

People refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

Although the warning signs are clear, they ignore them.

The yellow lines were already there when he parked.

Someone didn’t come along and paint them under his car while he was in the shop.

They were on the ground, plainly visible, he chose to ignore them.

He didn’t accept there would be consequences.

He chose to scream abuse at the traffic warden.

He didn’t accept there would be consequences.

He chose to resist the police.

He didn’t accept there would be consequences.

Which, eventually of course, there must be.

Now I’m not saying everyone must always obey the law.

That’s your own choice.

All I’m saying is the law does exist, like a brick wall exists.

Just like the outside world exists.

If you ignore that fact, it will get painful when you run into it.

By all means break the law.

By all means do whatever you want.

But recognise the consequences before you do.

And either accept the consequences, or don’t do it.

The time to make the choice is before you commit the action.

Not after.

By then it’s too late.