Pandora’s Box

D L Henderson
5 min readNov 14, 2023

November 14, 2023

I wrote an article for a town newspaper in the mid 1970’s with the title, “Casinos, a Pandora’s Box.” The topic was about losing our moral compass and sailing into dangerous waters — without regard to either the sandbars, the rocky shore, or the rapidly approaching squall line.

I started the article by saying that a city near me, Buffalo, was in Economic decline which subsequently was driving a moral decline. I would say now that the whole world is in a moral decline driven by worsening economic situations.

You see, I believe that everybody has focused too much on the material and have grossly neglected the spiritual side of life — not some ethereal, gaseous, other-worldly, vapor, but a real meat and potatoes table that nourishes and satisfies real people in the real world. Real life.

Following so-called “easy money” of gambling is no solution. It is no quick fix. Too often it is a quick and easy disaster…

We place too much of our personal security and well-being on stuff, neglecting what really matters in life.

All of this reminds me today of song lyrics by Neil Young, “Don’t let it bring you down. It’s only castles burning; find someone who’s turning, and you will come around.” However, if the “castles” are the moral structures maintaining civilization, it might be bringing all of us down, and we don’t know where or how to turn. Something to consider.

Nevertheless, I continued to state that Casino Gambling was being presented as the savior of our Economy. We had lost a huge amount of manufacturing jobs over the years — the whole country had — which I know as the one and only economic engine that drives economic growth and well-being and fills the regional bucket of wealth. For example, when my Employer left Buffalo, I figured that it took several million dollars out of the cash supply for the entire WNY Region. There was the depletion of wages, purchases from other Employers for such things as raw materials, shipping in the Trucking Industry, Restaurants, Recreation, and so on. All that money that was circulating in the region evaporated. That episode involved around 300 Employees. Imagine the calamity when in the 1970’s Bethlehem Steel laid off over 20,000 workers at their Lackawanna site!

So, a kind of desperation engulfed the area. The reaction to desperation is never well thought out and rarely benefits any decisions people can make.

Government then decided to take the reins off of the Gambling Industry. Now, in light of the new economic desperation, they have decided that legalizing marijuana and other hallucinogens, without any FDA oversight is even a better idea.

This is an edited excerpt from my article with major edits in brackets { } :

Unfortunately, “Easy Money” leads to the economic ruin of individuals, families, and even governments. Everybody likes the idea of getting rich quick. However, life is simply not like that. {Most people used to know that just getting by requires hard work, disciplined spending, and smart investing in solid things like a house.}

Government should never have been tempted to open that Pandora’s Box. {But they did, and they are continuing to open boxes as if every day is their birthday. So why are they rushing into vices which used to be the reason for Jail time? Easy Money. It’s a quick fix to fill the tax coffers in a hurry. Now, they have added the marketing of once illegal drugs like marijuana and more serious hallucinogens. So, why did it used to be against the law? Because it harms, even kills, individuals, families, and entire neighborhoods. This has become very similar to the “profit over people” format of Corporate America. Slowly at first, but ever more rapidly, people are losing their moral compass and sailing into dangerous waters — without regard to either the shallow waters, the rocky shore, or the approaching squall line.}

In the article, I wrote about my idea of basic Economic Theory:

The strength of our economy has always been highly productive agricultural and manufacturing… …What we need to do is to invest in our industries and maintain our regional agricultural resources — not in eliminating what used to be called Vice Squads. {Preying on people’s weaknesses seems like a degenerative road to travel. Yet, people seem to be liking that road. It all seems to prove the dismantling of civilized moral structure. Anything goes. Then, this is the moral slide I write about and a warning that was predicted in the Bible about the troubles in the last days…}

Then I concluded by saying that legalizing gambling was simply exploiting human weakness to fatten government coffers, warning that we keep our heads and not be conned into this foolishness.

Now, I am adding these comments… I know it’s too late to turn this stampeding herd, heading downhill toward the cliffs of easy money. But you want to know something else? All of this sliding sideways into moral decay was foretold in the Bible:

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.” — 2 Timothy 3:1–5, New Living Translation

“Remember that there will be difficult times in the last days. People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; they will hold to the outward form of religion, but reject its real power.” — 2 Timothy 3:1–5, Good News Translation

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” — Galatians 5:19–23, New Living Translation

It’s always a choice — your choice. No one can choose for you — It’s all up to you.

Follow the stampeding herd or turn away from the inevitability and unavoidability of falling off the cliff..

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between