I always cringe a bit whenever I hear someone start a sentence with “It’s my right…” So many times the person is not really talking about a right, but rather a privilege or maybe even a charitable act; yet a mentality of entitlement has taken over in America and that person now believes somehow that they have a right to that privilege or that charity.
Such mentality, I believe creeps into the day-to-day lives of some in the form claiming some form of right to ignore rules and laws, especially traffic laws. There appear to be people who don’t believe that traffic signs or speed limits apply to them. It’s somehow their right to ignore them. I encountered such a dunderhead this past weekend at a shopping mall. The mall is repairing and repaving a part of the parking lot and so they had one of the entrances partially blocked off. With barricades and clear signage they had designated the lane that was still open as an entrance only. Big, clearly visible one-way signs pointed in. Yet as I tried to enter there sat the dunderhead (and a couple more idiots behind him} who had chosen to exercise their “right” to use that lane as an exit. And they got mad at me for trying to enter, honking and shaking fists. I could see them mouthing, “I’ve got a right to be here, too.”
I see examples of people completely ignoring stop signs all the time in my neighborhood or parking big, long-bed, crew cab trucks in parking slots that are marked “Compact Cars Only”, thus partially blocking traffic by sticking way out into the roadway. I’m sure that most of these people have evaluated the relatively low probability of ever getting a ticket for their miscreant behavior and that adds to the entitlement mentality that starts out with the thought that whatever the rule or law, it just doesn’t apply to you, because “It’s my right to park here.”
The truth is that you have a few fundamental rights that were granted to all citizens in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, plus a few more that have been codified into law as rights of all citizens. Most of the rest involves privileges that were granted by law or hand-outs that happen because the government or someone has taken pity on those in need. They are not rights and can be taken away at will.
So, the next time you start off a sentence with ‘”I have a right”, stop and think about it. Do you really or have you just decided that you are somehow entitled. Remember that I have the right to call the Ordinance Enforcement Officer the next time I see your big truck parked in the Compact Cars Only area; and that’s a right that I will exercise.