Spending a lot of time outdoors on public lands puts me in the proximity of a large quantity of Rule Breakers. I like rules. I feel that rules, in this case, are there to facilitate an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience for everybody and to conserve natural resources. Rule Breakers offend me on an almost visceral level. I’m not saying that I never break the rules, but I do make my best effort to follow them. I think about the consequences of my actions and the fact that I have to accept them. While I am a unique individual I don’t think that makes me exempt, or above the law.
It is my hypothesis that most Rule Breakers are driven by selfishness/greed and laziness. Lack of common sense is probably a close third. If more people made an effort not to be selfish or lazy the world would be a much better place. Accepting personal responsibility would also be an improvement. I do not deny that some rules are stupid and/or discriminatory BUT that doesn’t give me, or anybody else, license to brazenly disregard them.
The appropriate course of action when confronted with a senseless, or inequitable, rule is to comply, calmly and courteously remove yourself from the situation, then take the appropriate steps to get the rule changed. Some appropriate steps might include intelligently addressing the governing body that created the rule, making other members of the voting public aware of the inequality, or voicing your disapproval with your feet and/or money in a good, old-fashioned boycott.
Under no circumstances is it acceptable to blame or attack, verbally or otherwise, the person who has the unfortunate job of enforcing the rules (most people in such positions do not enjoy being the Bad Cop, it would be easier for them to look the other way, but then they wouldn’t be doing their jobs. Anybody who has had to care for children knows this, if they stop and think about it). Accept the fact that you did something wrong. It is also essential to teach your children these concepts. There is a big difference between being an independent thinker and being a public nuisance, or worse; a thug.
Apparently, according to my observations, public nuisances/thugs/Rule Breakers are not constrained to any particular social category. They can be anybody from green, vegan, tree-huggers to conservative, influential, pillars-of-the-community. If you choose to be selfish (and/or lazy) you very well may become a Rule Breaker.
I don’t take the family dog on the beach, I buy a fishing license, and I don’t exceed the speed limit. It would be very easy for me to break these particular rules, but I don’t, because it would be wrong. I don’t want to be a Rule Breaker. Sure, “well behaved women rarely make history” but I’d rather not be history.