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The Cost of Ethics

If there is one thing I’ve learned over my years on this plane it’s this: it’s not always easy to do the right thing. And in a more pragmatic sense, it’s not always cheap to do the right thing.

This came to mind as I read the story of a Utah gun maker which recently turned down a $15 million deal with Pakistan for its precision rifles. Desert Tech is based in West Valley City, Utah and was founded on the principle of keeping America and its allies safe, according to Desert Tech sales manager Mike Davis.

The company was on a short list for a big-bucks contract with Pakistan but turned it down because of ethical concerns. With the current unrest in Pakistan the company, according to Davis, could not be sure the weapons manufactured in their plant would not someday be used to kill American troops.

“We don’t know that those guns would’ve went somewhere bad, but with the unrest we just ended up not feeling right about it,” Davis told a local television station per an Associated Press report.

Davis went on to tell the tv station that this decision was based solely on ethics and morality. It should be noted here that the contract would have been completely legal and very lucrative for the company. In this instance, however, doing the right thing won out over making a buck.

I’ve seen far too many instances of the buck winning out, however. It always amazes me to what lengths seemingly good, hard-working people will go to make a quick buck or two. From cheating on taxes to flat-out lying on mileage reports, it happens every day. And these aren’t even large sums of cash we’re talking about. We all tell white lies every now and then, we all speed on the roads, these are small things that are a part of our lives that we, in all likelihood, don’t think twice about. But to make a conscious decision to cheat on taxes, cheat on your spouse or just cheat an acquaintance out of a buck or two, these are things that rot the soul.

So, kudos to a company that turned down millions of dollars based on nothing more than sheer principle. It’s stories like these that re-affirm my faith in the world and make me want to do better in my own life.

Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune and the Van Alstyne Leader. He can be contacted at news@amtrib.com or rwilliams@vanalstyneleader.com.

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