“Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judge obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them.”
— Hermann Hesse
A poster in a frame once stood near my bed carrying the above quote. I had saved my own nickles and dimes, and while my older sisters were spending time shopping for clothes and record albums, I had my eye on that poster. On one trip to the shopping center’s dime store, I finally had enough money to buy it.
Even then, I loved the power of words. I often checked out library books of quotations, and one other quote that I would have loved to have put on a poster was one from Chief of the Blackfeet: “Our land is more valuable than your money. It will last forever. It will not even perish by the flames of fire. As long as the sun shines and the waters flow, this land will be here to give life to men and animals.”
For those who respect the land and all of the animals that can come with it, blessings should rain down.
An imperfect world
If we lived in an ideal world, this shouldn’t require all sorts of written laws and rules and regulations. But, obviously, there are those who attain land and animals and do not sense their own laws within them, and this past week in Ohio, this turned in to one tragic topic.
For quite some time, neighbors had asked officials to do something about the man near Zanesville with 70 acres and many exotic animals. They were told that no laws pertained to this situation, so no action was taken to protect the animals or those on neighboring farms.
Imagine, for a moment, having your land adjoin this farm. One man whose land was photographed for the national news with an enormous dead lion lying against his fence had complained mightily, as he feared for the safety of his family and his horses.
After sheriff’s deputies were forced to kill dozens of tigers, bears, lions and other wild animals turned loose by their owner, who then took his own life, Ohio’s governor John Kasich signed an executive order to crack down on those who keep such wild animals on their property. This gives local officials more power to better regulate animal ownership, while also giving Ohio Department of Natural Resources power to review and inspect properties of all native wild animal permit holders.
Emergency orders had been signed by the previous Ohio governor, prohibiting exotic animal sales and ownership, but Kasich had let this expire, saying the state had no legal authority to enforce this.
Shame on us
Regardless of who should have acted to protect both a community and a legion of beautiful animals, it is obvious that nothing was done.
Politics and the written law shouldn’t play a part in something so elemental. What has happened to our common sense, our sense of civility and stewardship, our ability to sense our own laws within ourselves?