Imagine you are at a stoplight at 2 am with nobody in sight. The light remains red way beyond the time it takes for you to establish that it is safe to travel on. And it continues to beam red. How long do you sit there, burning fuel and wasting time before you go, without the permission of the light? Personally, I don’t. I simply look both ways and then I drive. Why? Because I don’t choose to seek permission for that which is within the parameters of common sense and when it does not involve private property.
I recently mentioned my proclivity for burning red lights to an acquaintance who with shock and awe proclaimed, “But that is against the law!” There are two discussions that arose from that observation: the first being the difference between what is lawful versus what is moral; the second being the absurdity of traffic laws and our choices to obey some, but not others, and our justification for doing so. It is in relation to the second point that I have since been on a rant of ginormous proportions.
I feel like Dr. Seuss…”Would you, could you with a bike? Would you, could you on a trike? On foot, by stroller, or with a skateboard roller? Tell me, tell me…what would it take for you to burn that light?” Nobody would wait, at 2 am, for a light to turn green before crossing by foot, or bike, or otherwise, besides with a car, truck, or motorcycle. It would be ridiculous and possibly even unsafe. So why on earth would one who is operating machinery that has required education, a license, registration, and a level of ability greater than all of the mentioned transportation forms not exercise discretion and push on? Fear. And not fear of causing harm or damage to another, but fear of being caught by an imagined authority who has been trained to generate revenue for the state at the expense of your common sense.
The stop sign in the photo could be found in Nashville, Tennessee after the flood in the spring of 2010. And although it is certainly against the law to travel by boat across the road under normal circumstances, it was exactly what was needed that day to save people, pets, and possessions. So how is that really any different than not exercising discretion at any other time?
Please, please, please, stop and think. Think about what you do and why you do it. And then do only what it is that you believe to be good and true. And let the chips fall where they lie. Then you will be your own hero.