Our Two Cents…

The waters of New Braunfels are becoming quite conservative compared to years past.

In a recent news story from the Houston Chronicle, new regulations were outlined for the area, particularly including restrictions on inner tubes and alcohol. There were even strict restrictions placed on jumping from bridges, dams and trees.

It’s assumable that these restrictions were made with the safety of tourists and patrons of the area in mind. Unfortunate accidents and events have most likely occurred because of looser policies regarding the aforementioned issues, and these boundaries have been set in place specifically to lessen them.

It’s still lame. But not for the reasons that might come to mind.

Not only does this say a lot about how authority figures in the area are on a completely different level than who they’re there to protect in mindset, but it also makes a pretty vivid point about human nature in an unrestricted setting. That point is that human nature and basic intelligence sometimes aren’t enough to protect people from harm.

It’s sort of like a Tragedy of the Commons theory. That school of thought basically revolves around the idea that if people are given the freedom to use a commodity without restriction, they will eventually overuse it and lessen its value if not completely destroy it. This applies to parks, national forests, and apparently now, the New Braunfels River.

It’s sad that what narrows down to a couple of parties that must have just gotten a little too far out of hand resulted in rules that will end up making it a lot harder for normal, fun-loving people to have a memorable and mildly wild day on the river. The “disorderly few” as they were called by Mayor Bruce Boyer have caused the application of rules that will inevitably look like they are trying to “scare off” patrons.

Ultimately, not only do these newly enforced rules make it clear that people don’t think about what they’re doing until they suffer the repercussions of their actions, but also that we as a society have lost the ability to be far-sighted. We don’t think about the effects our actions are going to have within a month, a year, or a generation. People our age, especially, make sure they’ll live through what they’re doing and will be able to get home in time for work, and that’s if they’re vaguely responsible.

These rules wouldn’t have had to be set into place if everyone who had the privilege of using the New Braunfels river as a place to relax had been more mindful of what their actions would actually mean for the area even after they were gone.

We should take these rules as a sign that it’s time to think a little bit more about our collective actions. The things we do have a far-reaching effect on many other aspects of our lives and the lives of those around us, and the sooner we realize that and act on it, the better.

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