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I would argue that Ezinne Ukoha’s writing illuminates the division that exists.

If my neighbor keeps dumping his garbage in the backyard and it’s attracting bugs and rodents, and I take photographs and call the health department, I’m not making the problem worse, I’m making it known. Perhaps my neighbor thinks I’m just contentious and looking for things to complain about. Perhaps my neighbor blames me for the fines he now owes and for being forced to face the mess he has made. Perhaps my neighbor loudly declares that he’s seen me put recycling in the regular trash and so I’m just as bad and I’m the real problem. But if I had ignored his backyard and minded my own business, it would not have made the problem non existent, it would have meant the whole neighborhood continued to suffer from his negligence while he went about his merry way.

Now, maybe I tried speaking politely to him, asking that he not dump trash in his backyard. Explaining why it’s a bad idea in the long run, and that the extra effort of putting trash in cans and taking it out to the road isn’t really so much effort. And maybe he slammed the door on me. So maybe then I wrote a statement, clearly explaining the reasons that his behavior was concerning, and had a bunch of other neighbors sign it, and mailed it to him. He ignored all of this and finally I called the health department and he is now mad that I overreacted and am making such a big deal out of it. But for those who were getting nauseas from the daily reek of his backyard, my reaction seems reasonable and justified.

Just another way to look at it.

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