Editorial: Common courtesy

When you get down to it, most public laws and ordinances grow out a lack of thoughtfulness and common courtesy between citizens. When one citizen disregards the reasonable wishes of a neighbor, the legal authority eventually steps in to require courtesy under the threat of fine or punishment.

As a result, we have laws to guard the most reasonable human wish to keep on living (thou shalt not murder) to the relatively trivial wish to cease loud noise-making late at night so we can get a good night’s sleep (disturbing the peace). Because of the latter, most communities restrict the time fireworks can be ignited during the Fourth of July weekend. And some communities have laws prohibiting leaving fireworks “trash” left strewn on residential streets.

We shouldn’t need laws to enforce common courtesy, but we do. In these contentious times, when civil conversation seems to be a dying art, we can and should do better. Jesus made it simple enough: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” —DR