Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Lesson in Natural Consequences

And an apolitical one at that!

This is the local story of two dogs that were shot dead last Thursday night.  What some people see as a case of animal cruelty others see as a case of natural consequences.

Before I go any further let me state, for the PETA people, that a do not condone the killing of pets.  The issue here wasn't the dogs, it was the owners.

It all started months ago when the owners, the Lubliners, started getting complaints about their dogs' frequent barking.  They ignored those complaints.  The neighbors then turned to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office (DCSO) for help.  The Sheriff's department has charged the Lubliners twice with animal nuisance. 
As someone who dealt with disrespectful neighbors and nuisance barking, I can tell you that to get charged once with animal nuisance requires three verified occurrences of nuisance barking.  The verification can be video or another neighbor outside of the complainant's household.  The complaint must be filed--it's not as easy as picking up the phone and complaining.  Each complaint results in the DCSO making contact with the offender.  Subsequent charges require only one complaint.  A charge requires an appearance before the court, it isn't just a fine that can be paid.
What does this mean?  The Lubliners were contacted by DCSO no less than four times about their barking dogs over a four month period.  You can bet the Lubliners were also contacted numerous times by neighbors who knocked on the door to resolve the issue or left notes before contacting law enforcement--trying to be a good neighbor.
At the core of this issue is a person's individual right to enjoy his home.  According to Colorado state law that right is protected and is nearly absolute.  Nuisance barking impedes upon that right--which is why it is illegal in most communities.  If you work and/or have children you cannot have dogs barking constantly in the early morning or late at night.  The Lubliners said they let their dogs out for an hour on Thursday and found them dead around 12:00AM when they made the call.  So it's fairly obvious they had no problem depriving their neighbors of sleep on a school night.
The legal system exists to prevent situations like this from going "critical."  But the Lubliners didn't respect that either.  What solutions were left for an otherwise law-abiding individual who just needed a full night's sleep?
Let's recap...
  1. Folks have a right to enjoy their homes and be able to sleep
  2. That right was infringed upon by selfish neighbors--and that infringement was known 
  3. The Lubliners were likely contacted by neighbors directly who made an appeal to their humanity/decency to remedy the problem.  Such an appeal was rejected.
  4. The neighbors then attempted to use the law (the "system") to resolve the problem.  The Lubliners ignored repeated contacts by DCSO and were being taken to criminal court.
  5. The only viable options left for relief are outside of the "system."
Those options that are outside of the system are what I often call "natural consequences."  The system is artificial and it when it fails all reverts back to nature.  In nature, individuals solve their own problems according to their own moral code/needs.  A neighbor needed sleep and peace more than he needed to respect his neighbor's pets--thus the dogs are dead.
What's also interesting is how the Lubliners became their own worst enemy.  They conditioned their neighbors to ignore noise!  No one heard the gun shots that killed their dogs.  No one would have given any thought to a dog barking during a violent home invasion or other property crimes.  Their behavior almost begged for this outcome.
After all of this, there isn't an ounce of acknowledgement of their own culpability...
"I don't know what kind of person it takes to go ahead and think they have the right in this case to take someone else's family members away from them," Lubliner said.
The kind of person is a individual who believed he has no other options because of the Lubliners' behavior.  Again, not condoning what happened, just pointing out the mechanics of it.

Now thinking about this little lesson in natural consequences...   What recent events, on a national scale, are similar?  Will more dogs be killed?  If so, would the dog owners ever admit they are responsible?

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