Jan 252004
Authors: J.J. Babb

This simple statement seems to be pushed to the wayside by many

individuals. As Americans, we are born with certain rights, and

many seem to think no matter how or why these rights are exercised

they needn’t be reprimanded.

But with the gift of these rights, comes the burden of

responsibility. This responsibility should be used with doing

anything and everything. It seems people use their “rights” as an

excuse to be rude or disrespectful to others. I often hear, “Well,

it’s my right” when explaining improper behavior. Well, yes it sure

is your ‘right,’ but have some respect.

For example: our freedom of speech is a given right. We are all

born with this right to speak our minds against the government and

one another. Yet, with this freedom comes the responsibility of

being a good citizen.

It is each of our individual responsibility to not cuss out our

boss, tell our mothers to drop dead or scream “fire” in a crowded

theatre. The latter in fact is against the law, due to the simple

fact that people forget responsibility in using their American

given rights.

Last week, I became very irritated with someone forgetting

responsibility while exercising her rights. A 19-year-old mother

decided it was her right to breast feed her child in the checkout

line at Wal-Mart.

Yes, breast feeding your child is your right. In fact, I am a

staunch supporter of breast feeding, it gives children nutrients he

or she may not receive elsewhere and it is a bonding experience

between mother and child which will last a life time. But along

with women’s right to breast feed, comes the responsibility we all

have: respect societal norms and other individuals’ wishes.

Not everyone, in fact I’m sure very few people, want to see a

mother whip out her breast and feed her child in a checkout line.

This is a private act, something that should be saved for the

privacy of one’s own home. I understand sometimes breast feeding

may have to be performed in a public area, but please use some

discretion and decency while performing this act. It is your right,

yet one should take responsibility in exercising this right.

Responsibility within rights must often be used within the

newspaper business. Publications, even student newspapers in

Colorado, have the right to free press. We can print whatever we

want, including the names of rape victims-legally anyway. Yet, is

doing so responsible? No, newspapers have taken the responsibility

to not re-victimize individuals through the press.

As Americans we need to be grateful for our rights. We are the

freest people in the world, and yet are the rudest. We take the

attitude that with our given rights we can do whatever we please,

whenever we please. This attitude is unacceptable and


Next time you attempt to use “It’s my right,” to justify

grouping your girlfriend or boyfriend in public, screaming cuss

words at a coworker or breast feeding in a supermarket line,

remember, please use the responsibility given to you along with

your rights.

J.J. Babb is a senior studying journalism. She is the design

managing editor for The Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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