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posted: 1/11/2013 5:00 AM

Editorial: Doing the right thing, no matter the cost

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

When was the last time you did something that you knew would hurt your bottom line but did so anyway because it was the right thing to do?

People do charitable things all the time. We celebrate them at every opportunity.

Some of the grander gestures of late have included people dropping Kruggerands into red kettles and the efforts of Walt Meder of Arlington Heights, who prompted the Daily Herald to run a toy drive for WINGS, the Palatine-based emergency shelter for homeless and abused women and children.

But what about those who risk their livelihoods to do the right thing?

Kevin Slota, a co-owner of No Limit Arcade in Algonquin, was so disturbed by the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., that he decided to pull the plug on a dozen of his most violent video games -- 20 percent of his inventory.

Slota told staff writer Lenore Adkins for Sunday's edition that he'd heard TV news reports that popular violent video games might have been to blame for the shootings.

"For adults, it's one thing, but we have 8- and 9-year-old kids coming in ... blasting away," Slota said. "I said, 'We don't need these games.' I can replace them with something else."

He'll replace the first-person shooters with milder fare -- mostly throwbacks to the 1980s that are fine for all ages: Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger and Q*Bert.

Slota's stand is impressive, but he's not alone. Even municipalities get in on the act once in a while.

With the legalization of video gambling machines throughout the state, some communities stuck to their principles and refused video gambling within their borders, despite the allure of revenue.

And last year, when a majority of the suburbs switched to electrical aggregation -- in which the municipality would negotiate cheaper electric rates on behalf of residents and businesses from a variety of vendors, about 60 said no to a "civic contribution" they could have legally collected. Some leaders called that "contribution" an added tax on electrical users that erases some of the savings the lower rate would have provided.

In this often litigious society, where some people will sue over spilling hot coffee on themselves, others, faced even with the death of a child, choose forgiveness over vengeance.

Declan Sullivan of Long Grove, a Carmel High School grad who attended Notre Dame, fell 40 feet to his death from a lift while taping a football practice for the university during a windstorm two years ago. Rather than sue the university, Declan's parents chose another route.

"We never felt like we had to teach anybody a lesson," Barry Sullivan said in a recent story. "At every juncture, they treated us with kindness and concern, sympathy, and obviously they accepted responsibility for what had happened."

Defining the "right thing," of course, will always depend on the circumstances of a given situation. Still, in so many instances and diverse facets of life, people put their scruples ahead of their financial interests. Next time you're drawn to a dramatic story about theft or wrongdoing or any of the darker activities that can dominate the news, that's an encouraging thought to remember.

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