Today I read a story that left me feeling confused, frustrated and a little angry.
According to a news article (10 Jul 2013) a man left his dog inside his closed up truck in the heat in a Walmart parking lot while shopping. A (now former) Walmart employee, Carla Cheney, confronted the man about it. He responded - sadly rather arrogantly - that he will simply not be shopping at Walmart in future.
Cheney's manager responded to the situation by firing her! What the...?!!
Why am I confused?
When a dog dies in a closed, hot car - which happens way too frequently, if you ask me - everyone is up in arms about animal cruelty. Yet - heaven forbids - someone tries to prevent this and their 'arse' gets fired!? I don't get it... Oh yes, that's right. Every man has the right to do with his dog whatever he pleases - including harm or kill it. That's freedom, right? (dripping with sarcasm) No, that's cruelty. And no, it's not ok! You do not have the right to hurt or endanger your dog. Do something about it, or don't have a dog!
Perhaps people should learn the importance of thinking before acting, because once the damage is done no amount of sorry, regret or tears can reverse it. Am I an uptight arse? You can call me whatever you want; my animals are alive and well and cared for to the best of my ability. How about our society start promoting the following of some good examples for a change instead of firing those who stand up for good.
Why am I frustrated?
I don't understand the messages that some actions send to people. Is Walmart saying that they don't mind how many dogs die in their parking lot as long as people are shopping their little hearts out when it happens? Come on, what's happened to discussing matters? Why can't we express our disagreement, explain the preferred rules for conduct and the consequences should it not be adhered to in future? Man, even give the woman a written warning if you feel the need to (even though still overkill). At least next time she'll know that she could lose her job for caring about animals and she could decide whether or not she has guts enough to risk it. No, instead they fire her on the spot - a whole family lose their livelihood. How very sad! But hey! at least this arrogant, reckless man might continue to endanger his animal at that store when he finds out just how much they value his business.
I feel frustrated because we live in a world where it would seem that we are apologizing to the cruel and lawless while punishing the innocent and those who stand up to defend the good. It seems that society goes out of its way to make sure that the offensive don't get offended but to hell with those who pay the price or those who try to save and preserve what is good. Teaching a new generation these twisted ways of liberty without responsibility or consequence, I can't help but wonder what kind of future the world is expecting. Is it possible that we are creating a society that makes fire in its lap and expecting not to get burned?
Sometimes I get so frustrated about the whole issue of rights. At times it would seem that each person is so consumed with his own rights, no matter the cost or consequence to anyone else. To me that doesn't sound like freedom. It rather sounds like selfishness - the terminal disease of our day.
Just how do we deal with "rights" so that everybody gets to have their way? Here's a news flash: it's not possible to please everyone!!
Why do I feel angry?
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it can take as little as twenty minutes for a dog to die from heatstroke in a hot car. Just twenty minutes!
I feel angry for every twenty-first-minute-tragedy when it's been too late - especially when someone did speak up to warn of the danger or the risks and someone can't say that they didn't know. I feel angry for the wasteful way in which people live, carelessly thinking that it only happens to other people... until it happens to them. I feel angry when I hear the apologies when a 'sorry' cannot restore a life or a limb - no matter how heartfelt or sincere.
I feel angry when someone demand their rights but don't allow someone else that freedom. In this case I feel angry that one man gets to put his animal in harm's way and another person lose their job for pointing out his obvious foolishness. I feel angry when a person demands the right to get drunk and drive, but the person(s) who is killed in a drunken drive accident didn't have the right to use the road safely and arrive alive. I feel angry when a person demand to drive too fast (effectively breaking the law and endangering other road users) and someone doing the right thing is hurt or killed in an accident - better yet, they get blamed. I feel angry when someone demands their right to own a firearm and recklessly lets it lie around, ending in a six-year old boy shooting and killing someone with it. The list goes on and on...
I feel angry when people demand their rights and refuse to acknowledge (or accept) the serious responsibility that can never be separated from the privilege.
I feel angry because feeling angry doesn't change anything once it is too late, and because feeling angry doesn't make fools wise, or the reckless or careless to become responsible and respectable. No amount of anger can control another person's choices, and concentrating on it makes me an angry, miserable person.
I think that the woman did not deserve to be fired. I think that she did the right think pointing out to this man that he was not being considerate toward his dog. She did not have the power to change his behaviour, but at least she was true to herself in voicing her concern. She did what she could do. The rest was out of her hands.
I care about animals and I think that the man behaved like a stupid fool leaving his animal - without food or water - in a hot, closed up truck! I think that he should have known better! Instead of apologising to him, I think he got a fair reprimand and even though he didn't feel good being told it - I'm sure his pride was punctured - he should have realized that she was actually right and to change his ways for future reference.
Ok, so this bud was careless and arrogant. It's done. You can't reverse that. But what would make me respect him more, is if he would go back to Walmart, acknowledge to this lady's (ex) boss that he behaved like an 'arse' and that she was right to point it out (even if he didn't like it); that she didn't deserve to lose her job - that it was overkill - and for Walmart to reinstate her. Then, next time he goes shopping, he should leave his dog at home where it could be safe and cared for - learning from his past less-than-optimal behaviour. How's that for a solution?
Just imagine... It is my right to be kind. It is my right to be generous. It is my right to consider others as I pursue what I desire. It is my right to be friendly. It is my right to be polite - please and thank you.
It is my right to live and let live...
Imagine if we would start demanding rights like these!