On litter and trashy people…

A few months ago, I kicked around the idea of starting up a weekly limited feature focused on topics that some people might consider controversial, unpopular, or otherwise not appropriate for polite company. Nothing much came of the idea then, but it has stewed in my head ever since. This is the next of what I like to think will be a recurring series of Friday evening contemplations. If you’re easily offended, or for some reason have gotten the impression that your friends or family members have to agree with you on every conceivable topic, this might be a good time to look away. While it’s not my intention to be blatantly offensive, I only control the words I use, not how they’re received or interpreted.

Any time I’m forced out of the house on such mundane errands as going to work or picking up groceries, I can’t help but notice just about every road I travel is hopelessly trashed with anything small enough to fit through the window of the average passenger car. There are a few predictable spots where a couple times a month you can count on finding a couch, a mattress, tires, or other large items that “feel off the back” of someone’s truck. 

The average person seems to go out of their way to avoid actually using trash cans even where they’re readily available. They’re satisfied with throwing whatever’s at hand directly on the ground in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, or wherever they happen to be when they have something to discard. 

That people can’t collectively be trusted to do something as basic as not throw an entire bag of McDonald’s wrappers out their car window isn’t surprising, but it’s a sad commentary on exactly how low the bar of expectation really is. It would make me wonder what the conditions are in people’s homes. Given that they can’t or won’t keep things clean when they’re in public, I can only assume they live in utter filth in private where there’s no one at all to judge them.

Based on the sheer volume of trash that’s piled up alongside the road over the winter, I can only speculate that it’s the result of a sizable minority of the population who just well and truly doesn’t give one single shit about anyone or anything around them. Since there are already laws that “prevent” littering, I don’t suppose we can legislate our way into making people any less slovenly. We could, however, enforce the hell out of the laws already on the books – fine people into oblivion, throw some of the worst offenders directly into jail, or hey, maybe even seize the vehicles that were used in the commission of the crime.

Until being an absolute shitbird is made prohibitively painful, I don’t see any other means of getting after yet another issue that stems from a complete lack of personal responsibility and non-existent consequences.

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