OVER the 17 years or so I have been writing newspaper columns, I have from time to time ended by saying "we reap what we sow".
And it seems, judging by the frenzied reaction to the so-called Roast Busters horror story, that the time of harvest is here.
Why this particularly sordid business has raised such hysteria, I'm damned if I know.
That sort of thing goes on almost every day in this morally destitute country, so I suppose the furore arose because these louts, who must have IQs barely higher than their cap sizes, bragged about it on that infernal and socially destructive website called Facebook.
But where was the hysterical reaction to reports in the past week that two elderly women had been sexually assaulted in their own homes - an 87-year-old in Hastings and a 77-year-old in Papatoetoe?
To my mind, this is far more sinister evidence of the depth of our moral degradation than the sexual hijinks indulged in by benighted teenage predators.
And where was the hysterical reaction to the sickening events lately in Northland, where trusted male members of that community have been convicted of, or charged with, sexual abuse of dozens of little boys over a number of years?
And where was the hysteria earlier this year when a woman in her 30s seduced the 13-year-old friend of her son's and had intercourse with him for long enough to get herself pregnant?
These too are incontrovertible evidence of our nation's accelerating moral decay.
Now don't get me wrong. Rape is among the vilest crimes known to mankind, and especially so when it involves female children of tender years. Or, for that matter, a boy child.
Inevitably, the media are full of tut-tutters and finger-pointers and commentators, all of whom are looking for a scapegoat instead of admitting that sexual deviancy has become endemic in our society and the answers lie far deeper than anything the blame game will uncover.
Apart from the perpetrators of this sordid and sickening affair, no one has been pilloried more than Radio Live hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere, or at greater cost, since their programme has been suspended.
But don't tell me that Radio Live dumped them out of any sense of moral outrage. Or that any of the businesses withdrew their advertising for that reason.
They all acted the way they did to stay onside with hysterical listeners and customers - and picked up a bit of unpaid publicity on the side.
Jackson and Tamihere might have been unwise to question a 15-year-old the way they did, particularly in this era of unquestioning political correctness, but they sure don't deserve the pounding they've received. What's happened to free speech?
The police have come under condemnation for not acting on complaints made to them early on about the Roast Busters' sexual thuggery and it does seem much needs to change in police culture when it comes to sex crimes.
But that's not going to help much either.
Then there are those who want more and "better" sex education, which sounds to me like throwing more petrol on the fire.
And as for those 63,000-odd people who are petitioning the Prime Minister to do something, what on earth do they expect him to do?
This nation has allowed itself to become morally and ethically bankrupt, devoid of the values of humanity, decency and community, which served mankind well for hundreds of years. That's what we need to be looking at.
Meanwhile, we are indeed reaping what we have sown - and be assured that the harvest is by no means over yet.