While slogging along on my run this morning in the woods I encountered an unleashed dog with no collar. Good sized pooch, my initial impression was that he wanted to play but I learned a long time ago to remain leery. As I made my way closer to him, what appears to be his owner comes into view jogging as well. Fit looking guy, and clean cut. I asked him as we got closer if he realized that his dog was supposed to be leashed within the state forest, he said “I sure do!”, so I remarked that the rules obviously must not apply to him. He told me that his dog is good off the leash, of which I replied that it doesn’t matter. By this point we had continued on our ways, I’m sure my fellow runner thought I was a grump laboring on a run and just couldn’t see what a good doggy he owns.
I thought about this encounter as I ran (helped take my mind off the pain) and how we as citizens enter a covenant with our fellow citizens to basically follow the rules. That are “rights” are granted by our society as a reward for living within this covenant. Follow the rules, respect others, contribute to the well being, and you are then free to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our rights only extend as far as our neighbor, at which point they must be balanced against the public good. It really is a fragile construct we agree to live by, trusting in our court systems to arbitrate grievances and our legislature to pass laws for the greater good yet without limiting our ability to live as we’d like. Due diligence is needed by our citizens to watch our government to ensure they represent our determined best interests, and that same due diligence is needed on our fellow citizens to ensure that our ability to live together is equitable. When this balance gets out of hand, this is when you see gov’ts topple and citizens take more drastic measures to restore balance. I wondered further on why this guy thought it was ok to blow off the rule. I’m sure he figured it was a small thing, as it was a fairly remote running area so what was the harm? Likely none, although I didn’t appreciate the adrenalin kick when I saw the dog as a potential threat to my safety. I figure it is because not a lot of people experience fear in their life anymore. Our gov’t and our society have created immense safety nets for our citizens so that there isn’t much ramification for failure anymore as “someone” will take of them. Personal accountability seems to be on the wan now along with that as hardly seems to be consequences for being responsible for our choices for actions. This has been going on for generations, will be interesting and daunting to see how this plays out in the coming years of fiscal scarcity and cuts to entitlements. Our safety net is likely to get smaller, which means mommy and daddy gov’t won’t be there to pick up after us when we fail. While today’s encounter was truly a small thing, it did get me thinking. Recognize that it is a mighty big jump from an unleashed dog to the nanny state, but anything to pass the time as damn was it hot and muggy.
Filed under: Uncategorized