Sunday, September 5, 2010

There is no “Aint hurtin’ nuttin’” clause

You see it all the time in our fabulously amazing outdoor places where folks obviously sets the rules aside (or common sense for that matter) and do whatever they please. One guy is ripping his speedboat across the no-wake zone while another one is lighting bonfires in the no-fire area. One person is shooting everything in sight half a yard from the campground as where others are getting completely plastered in the no-alcohol areas. 99.9% of these instances are passed off with this supposed “Aint hurtin’ nuttin’” statement if questioned, even by authorities. The stories span from noisy dogs to drunken campers. Most are anecdotal or uncomfortable at best but several times a year this leads to confrontation, injury and even death across the country. Assault and arrest charges soon follow. This is really a problem when the “Aint hurtin’ nuttin’” mentality comes in contact with other folks trying to enjoy the outdoors.

Some people really think that rules are meant only for other people and can be skirted past as long as they are not hurting anything. I hear this excuse used so much that there must actually be some Lionel Hutz (Simpson reference) Lawyer type introducing this a plausible defense for Reginald and Roberta RuleBreakers. Rest assured I have looked through the rules and regulations multiple times and can tell you there is not an “Aint hurtin’ nuttin’” clause. Of course I only reviewed the Colorado regulations but pretty sure that it’s the same across the board for other states.

I started to write and cite some examples of close calls and minor skirmishes with a few ill-behaved persons in the outdoors. But readers would be better served to review some advice and solutions instead. The hardest part for me is knowing when to step in and point out the violation versus avoiding an all out brawl for a misdemeanor infraction such as “menacing wildlife”.

1. Gauge the infraction versus worst-case scenario: Meaning is the problem worth stepping in and butting heads? I tell myself that I have a 50\50 chance of getting into fisticuffs anytime this happens.

2. If you do step in, have some backup: It is always best to have one person step in and have a second in the background with the cell phone poised to dial authorities. Once the fur starts flying person number makes the phone call, gives quick summary and directions-then jumps in to save the first guy. As soon as you say, “We can take them”…hopefully this rule pops into mind.

3. Don’t get involved if you don’t have to: The managing authorities are the folks who should be contacted immediately at the first sign of a serious outdoor infraction. They are trained and equipped to handle any situation that is bound to escalate out of your control. Jot down the number of the local agency or managing authority of where you plan on going just in case. You can kick back on the sidelines and watch the action from your campsite rather than get involved yourself.

4. Follow the rules. Everyone else is going to be following the rules at your local lake or campground so you will just look like an ass when you start doing rooster tails in the swim-beach section on your jet ski. People swim there. I had to throw this in to remind even myself at times that rules are rules and they are there for a reason (even the ones that may seem ridiculous).

Seeing how we have managed not to burn down the entire Rocky Mountains over the summer, it would be good to finish out the year avoiding any “Tossed-Butt Gulch” or “Lost control campfire” incidents. There have already been a few occurrences where “Aint hurtin’ nuttin’” actually led to someone getting hurt. Summer heat and too much alcohol doesn’t exactly bring out the best in most people. My guess is that after this 3-Day weekend…Mr. Hutz is going to have a little more business.

Good luck and Good Fishing!


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Years ago, I had a painter/friend who lost his life.. He built speed boats on the side.. He had taken his boat out to our man-made lake and tested it... Apparently, he raced it so hard that it flipped killing him and his buddy. He left a young wife and two kids...Steve was always doing crazy things, he'd be the first to admit it...

SweetiePea said...

Great post. One of my biggest pet peeves is smokers who flick their cigarette butts anywhere and everywhere. It's not only inconsiderate and unsanitary but I've seen still lit butts being flicked right into dry bushes etc... So terribly dangerous.

FHC Outdoors said...

Great advice, and it's difficult to put an end to "people's fun", but safety comes first.

BeMistified said...

If it isn't hurting them or anyone in their immediate party then, they really don't care. I say "they" meaning those who do flick cigarette butts out the window, go to sleep with the camp fire roaring, driving/boating after consuming a 12 pack but to what they think is "just a few beers"

Even if their actions do hurt someone else, it is the other persons fault, the other person/people shouldn't have been there.


Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

You are a wise man indeed. I tend to be of the "rules are not made for ME" mindset at times, but I seem to be outgrowing it quickly. So quickly it almost saddens me. But then, I remind myself that there are good people like yourself who actually respect people who AREN"T rebels, so I might be ok in the end.
Good, GOOD post.

sowbug said...

Too true. Just found your site and will be adding it just ours based on this post alone. People used to know the so called "rules of the road". Yes you're absolutely right they plead the "Ain't hurtin'nuttin clause". "Don't "high hole" me bro!" Is one of our favorite prosecutions.

sage said...

Good guidelines! I remember the summer of the Yellowstone fires. Iw as hiking in the Sawtooths (Idaho) and there was a fire ban on. One one large lake, I sat out at night and could count four fires burning by other backpackers--of course, there were no cell phones back then and I was a long ways from a ranger's station.

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Swamp Thing said...

Me, my friends, and my brothers are pretty much safety/regulation nazis. It's not because we are good people - it's because we have a history of having insanely bad luck with law enforcement.

As a result, we hunt & fish a lot of weekdays. We prefer private land and will pay to "get away" from the crazies. When we spend time on public land/water, we get as far from access as we can.

People are a-holes. It's just a universal truth. I would rather stay away from them because these confrontations almost always ruin my day off of work.