You Do Not Have The Right

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

I often see people talking about how the world has gone crazy lately. How things are going downhill. How there is no loyalty or dignity or honor or respect.

While I agree with a general downward spiral of reality, I also think that this shows a lack of understanding of where our species has evolved from. Rewind 300, 200, or even 100 years, and the majority of people today would have serious difficulty surviving or accepting the reality of the era. Go back even further to the hundreds of thousands of years that humans have been on earth...and you get the idea.

That being said, though, much of society's strife has come from the notion that we have the 'right' to something. I'm not really sorry to be the one to do not have the right.

Brock Turner, you do not have the right to rape an innocent [unconscious] woman because you happen to be athletic, white, or an Ivy League student. There is a vast amount of [warranted] outrage towards someone who was literally caught in the act of raping a young woman and only sentenced to 6 months' jail time because the judge said that a longer sentence could have 'serious consequences' on him.

Yet, the consequences of his conscious actions towards someone else which will affect her for the rest of her life, are minimized? Minimized by the abhorrently short sentence given to this...'man'...who felt that he had the right to violate someone's well-being. You do not have the right.

You do not have the right to lock up other living beings for your own entertainment. I have been silent about the killing of Harambe, a 450 pound captive gorilla who was murdered after a young boy fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati zoo. Yet...I find myself constantly thinking about how we, as humans, have the arrogance to think we can tranquilize and hold a wild animal captive in a cage for our own entertainment.

An animal stronger, faster, and potentially even more intelligent than us [in some ways]...locked up for their entire life, to be...looked at. You do not have the right to determine that your life is more valuable than another living, breathing, thinking being.

Harambe is, obviously, far from the only example of this. The other day I saw an article about a lion who lunged at a small child in the zoo, only to be stopped by the glass which contained him.

The photo shown in the article, of the split second when the lion hit the glass, was heartbreaking to me.

This lion is held against its will natural instincts in an artificial environment which is confusing and unfamiliar to him. Our ego, once again, has taken a freely living animal out of its own existence into one designed for our entertainment. Sad. It is just, sad.

You do not have the right to tell someone how to live their life. You choose your path, and they choose theirs. It is none of your business to tell them what will or won't bring them happiness, or how they 'should' do something.

Elliot Rodger, you do not have the right to murder women because you were lonely. Because you were a 22 year old virgin and had never kissed a girl. Because you had a deep hatred for women who rejected you and for men who were sexually active. Because you saw yourself as the perfect man, the "true alpha male" as he you said in your videos - and yet all women rejected you.

You do not have the right to assume fundamental characteristics about a person because of where they were from or how they were raised. Prejudice may be the worst quality of our species, and we need to overcome it.

You do not have the right to see someone naked without their consent. You may remember around two years ago when there were leaked nude photos of a certain actress...I spoke out freely against looking up these photos and why it was nobody's business, but the person they were intended for, to see them.

Privacy is increasingly important in today's world, yet it is taken less seriously. Just because there may be certain media which gets into the wrong hands does not mean that it is your right to view it. "Because it's there" is not a reason to invade someone's privacy. Be a mature adult and move past it.

You do not have the right to take advantage of someone because they made a mistake. You do not have the right to invade someone's privacy because they 'gave you the chance.' You do not have the right to make someone go against their will. You do not have the right to assume someone is okay with something because they are drunk. You do not have the right. You do not have the right to make someone feel badly about themselves because of how they choose to live their life.

You do not have the right to victim blame a woman for being hospitalized by her professional fighter boyfriend simply because her chosen profession falls outside of your moral code. Your choices are yours. Her choices are hers.

You do not have the right to make decisions for anyone except for yourself. If we all realized this one simple thing, the world may become a better place.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my blog here.

Connect with James on Twitter.