Time and time again, as I walk or jog through my neighborhood park, which is owned jointly by our development and the city, I see people with their unleashed dogs. Keyword: unleashed. At both entrances to the park, a sign is posted that clearly reads “Pick up after your pet and keep dogs leashed at all times.” Simple, right?
Apparently not. This morning, I saw a regular: a woman with her big dog and a lacrosse-style ball-throwing toy. As she exited her car (the dog was already in the park, unattended and unleashed), our paths crossed exactly at the point of the sign. Surely, I thought, this coincidence will cause her to rethink her lawlessness and leash her dog, or just leave the park and find a real dog park. Nope. My faith in humanity was crushed once again.
On high alert, keeping my eyes on the dog, I continued my walk. And then the thought crossed my mind: If these folks refuse to follow a posted park ordinance, in what other ways might they deem themselves above the law? I know, slippery slope argument without evidence; but still, the thought frightened me. It especially concerns me in this day and age when corruption and myriad egregious behaviors are being flouted, and outed, at every turn, in politics, business, entertainment, finance, education, and nearly every arena of society. Worse, the whistleblowers are endangered and threatened by the perpetrators, just as sexual assault victims are called liars and gold-diggers.
This morning, I wanted to stop, point to the sign, and tell the woman in the park that perhaps she ought to leash her dog. Then, a wave of fear came over me: Could I handle a full-blown confrontation with a stranger? What if she watches me leave the park and finds out where I live? What if she retaliates in some way? That might sound silly, but I wasn’t willing to risk my safety.
This lead me to a realization that, as a woman, it is not only seeing males that causes me to go into high alert: it is anyone who might cause me harm, especially someone with a big dog, a big wallet, a big ego, or a big important position.
Somehow, I will sleep tonight, and I hope that writing this post will relieve some anxiety over what may seem to some readers as an insignificant issue. Either way, I have already validated my feelings and thoughts.