I figure that the dogs and I are somewhere around 650 round trips of that strip of green to the left of the freeway running from lower right to upper left. It’s about 3.5 miles from the loft up to the taxiway of the airport, and back, and we’ve been at it for 2 1/2 years.
They’re on leash until we get to the park, then off leash for about the 30 minutes it takes to walk the length and back, then back on leash for the walk home. Of course, this is for their own protection as there are streets to cross and such.
The park has always had a "dogs must be on leash" sign, but most people, of which there’s aren’t many at 8am, just ignore it. The grounds keepers are usually out and about by 7, or even earlier in the summer. San Jose Police often drive through early in the morning as well. The grounds keepers always greet the dogs when they see them, and the police will often issue a nod or a wave. Nobody, except the occasional private busy body (whom I always promptly and explicitly tell to "fuck off and mind your own business") has ever said anything about the dogs being loose to run & roam.
So today a "Park Ranger" sporting a uniform and driving a green official truck goes out of her damn way to drive up to me, stop the truck, get out and tell me that "the dogs need to be on leash at all times." Do you understand the outrageous presumption in that word I emphasized? …Not to mention the whole thing is simply an euphemism for: "I command you, and if you refuse, I will cause you harm." There wasn’t another soul in the park anywhere in eyesight. I said not a word to her. I simply called the dogs, clipped them up, and walk down the road. Not a single word. Pathetically, she tried to make nice with the dogs as I was clipping them up.
I thought better of confronting her, or the violence implied by the command. You must understand: the penalty for uncompromising defiance is death. At some point, you will either submit, or you will loose you life. Even for walking a dog. You’re welcome to protest that people don’t get shot for such things, and they generally don’t, but why don’t they? Because they submit. They may make a fuss, they may protest, but they eventually always submit. And if you carry the logic forth, the reason they submit is that everyone understands, implicitly, that non-submission is going to escalate things. What I’m saying is that if you choose to be uncompromising about it, escalation goes right up to your death.
So what’s the moral implication?
Well, who were the dogs hurting, and who were they going to hurt? Who was I hurting? There’s the distinction, and you might bear this question in mind: ought there need to be a law or ordinance (euphemism for things written on scraps of paper) for that ranger, or anyone for that matter, to stop me or my dogs if we’re in the process of doing harm to someone, or were clearly going to harm someone?
Do you get it? The law, you see, is superflous. If someone’s being harmed, doesn’t everyone already know what to do and to what extent?
Well, this probably happened because I’ve been walking later (8-9) the last few weeks and months, primarily because I’ve been sleeping so well with the fasting and exercise. I think I’ll just go back to 7-8, early enough that I’ve never seen the Rangers out there. My objective is to walk the dogs and give them some time to run & roam. If I encounter the bot again, I think my approach will just be to cut to the chase and ask her straight up how early I have to be out of the park in order to avoid them. If she has an ounce of reason left in her bot brain, she just might go for such an arrangement, which will suit me fine.