Friday, February 22, 2013


So I’m pulling into Target the other day and this car is sitting in the “no parking” zone. Of course, it’s blocking traffic for people heading in that direction, so we’re all having to wait for openings in order to get around the illegally parked vehicle. I’m sure the driver thought, “I know it says no parking, but it’s just for a second.” Once I get into the store, I grab my items and head to the register. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting. Then a new register opens up two aisles down. “I can take the next person in line!” the cashier shouts. Three people behind me, who had just shown up, rush over to take the spot. They weren’t the “next in line.” But no worries.

Then I go to 7-11 and a car zips into the handicapped parking spot. The driver jumps out. No, handicap sticker, no special plate. But she’s just running in real quick to get some cigarettes. Seriously, it’s only 30 seconds, what’s the big deal?

I make my way to the grocery store, where a woman is buying a boatload of sodas and chips. Limit 3 per customer, the sign says. So she has her kids pushing separate carts as well. Technically, they are separate customers so…what the heck?

Driving to work this morning I was doing 55mph in a 45mph zone. Hey, it’s just 10mph over the speed limit. No big deal, right? And besides, that road has six lanes. There’s no reason for it to be only a 45mph zone. It’s a stupid law. And I’m a responsible driver. I can handle this stretch of road at 55. Let those who can’t handle it drive the speed limit. I’m “different.”

When did we, as Americans, no as human beings, decide that some rules just don’t apply to us? Because we’re “special?” Because the rules are silly in the first place? Or perhaps because “I’m not really hurting anyone?”

I have a friend who gets paid in cash for his work. The government doesn’t need to know about that income, right? Hey, the IRS screws over so many people, it’s time some of us screwed them back. It’s only fair.

We’ve all heard the stories about people on welfare and food stamps who own iPhones and live rent-free on the government. And for some reason, those stories infuriate us. But at the end of the day, they are no different than the rest of us. This sense of entitlement in our country isn’t just for the poor. It’s all of us. We all want to believe we deserve to be treated differently. That some rules just don’t apply…or at least they shouldn’t. And, if you’re completely honest with yourself, you’re probably guilty of it somewhere along the way.

To you, parking in a handicapped slot for only a few seconds may not be a big deal. But to someone else it is. Speeding is a prerogative. Or jabbing Uncle Sam is okay. He’s not gonna miss my few bucks. But to others, those are serious offenses. You can’t choose how your sense of entitlement, no matter how big or small you view it, is going to impact someone else.

And that’s my beef with people who are against stronger background checks for gun sales. I know the majority of gun owners are responsible. They keep their guns locked up and out of the reach of their kids. They don’t clean loaded weapons. They never point a weapon at another person, not even jokingly, unless they seriously intend to use it. Good for you. But it’s not you I’m worried about. It’s those who say, “Hey, it’s a silly law. I should be able to sell my gun to whomever I want. It’s not my responsibility what they’re going to do with it after they’ve bought it.” And the gun ends up in the hands of a gang-banger or someone who doesn’t have the mental capacity to be a responsible gun owner. Even a farmer passing down a rifle to a grandson could have major repercussions down the road.

Now, you responsible gun owners are thinking, “that’s stupid. I shouldn’t be legislated because of a handful of irresponsible people.” Maybe YOU shouldn’t. But some should. Not everyone is as responsible as you. And while you see this as trivial as parking in the no parking zone for 3 minutes, it may have tremendous impact on someone else.

I would think that gun owners would be all for this legislation. If you’re truly a responsible gun owner who doesn’t want weapons to get into the wrong hands, if you’re tired of the image of gun owners being tarnished by the nutjobs who misuse a weapon or get one illegally, then why not be for stricter background check laws? Imagine what it would do for the image of the gun industry and for gun owners to whole-heartedly endorse this idea. It says, “We want ALL gun owners to be responsible ones.” It’s a win-win. Sometimes, the rules DO need to apply to everyone.

But maybe I’m crazy. I’ll just shut up now, skip out of the office early because my boss is out of town, stop by the front desk on the way out and grab three lollipops from the jar on the counter that says, “Take One!”, head to the movie theater where I’ll take up two parking spots because my car is nicer than anyone else’s and I don’t want it dinged, cut in line because I want to make sure I get the best seats and put a coat in the seat next to me so I have some more elbow room.

After all, I’m entitled.

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