On July 15, 2016

Who’s smarter: people or puppies?

Dear Editor,

Here at my Rutland home I have a wonderful golden retriever named McKie. He’s the most mellow, people-loving creature on the planet. We feed him an all-raw diet of healthy meat and local produce and he will soon celebrate his 10th birthday in apparent good health . . . a long time for many goldens.

McKie loves people and other animals. When we have guests he meets them with his butt wagging wildly and always grabs one his toys or a kitchen towel and brings one to them as a present.

At the same time, if McKie hears a disruption around his home he is not shy about telling “dad” that he needs to go out and investigate. Once in a while it’s a deer, woodchuck or other critter invading his territory and he did his job.

Sometimes it’s a just passerby, and if appropriate I go out and apologize if he scared them. Telling them that he’s contained by an electric fence and can never get close or leave the premises and there’s never a bad word. Often we make new friends.

Now, as a community we’re hearing undue commotion over the refugee resettlement plan and like McKie we might bark a little and check it out. No harm done. While none of McKie’s visitors ever yelled back at him or at us with angry words and labels as if we are weird, bigoted or prejudiced, this is different. Yes, it is.

At my house we are as kind, giving, responsible and tolerant as our gentle protector. However, if we, as equally well-fed, loving, giving and tolerant human beings exercise our rights of free speech and we abide by the intention of democracy . . . which is to have healthy disagreements . . . then we are all inherently wrong and branded for very foul crimes and nasty intentions for our speech.

This is very sad. Intolerance and bigotry flow from both ends of the spigot. I do not wish to tolerate or endorse either side. Leave me alone. Respect my rights and those of others to speak as well as McKie to bark when they observe risk or foul play . . . without emotion or self-righteous motivation.

None of us should hate anybody. McKie may bark, but he will soon lick your feet and accept your visit. Stop by, chat with your neighbors and see for yourself that peace and open healthy discussion are the only answer, not secrecy and the orchestrated division of the community.

Royal Barnard, Rutland City

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