Can you imagine in this day of passwords, locks, and alarms to protect our most precious valuables, lifesavers (literally) like this one on the remote Ring of Kerry stay posted, unguarded? Talk about the “the honor system”! We saw a few of them on the western part of our recent trip in Ireland. They were not in plain sight, but around corners at the bottom of steep cobblestone and patch-work accesses of small beaches or old, hazardous boat launches. All the easier to snatch off the post and pop into one’s car if one was so inclined.
Yet the well-chosen, philosophical and theological one-liner, “A Stolen Ringbuoy— a Stolen Life” appealed straight to one’s conscience. Would you dare remove the buoy for any other reason than, God-forbid, its intended purpose to save someone drowning in the nearby sea? Would you dare risk eternal consequences?
I know I wouldn’t, but then I had a cynical thought. What if a person was so full of wickedness or didn’t believe in eternal consequences? What if they didn’t care about their fellow human being? Could they be so caviler to vandalize? Remove the ring and toss it into some ditch?
Then I scanned the tawny, brush-topped cliffs sloping into the foaming surf, hemmed in by the mystical turquoise sea. Behind me were the endless rolling verdant hills dotted with sheep, rocks and old church foundations. How could one not feel closer to Heaven, or at least an unwavering, deep and reverent calm? An unquestioning obedience to that sign?
Cliffs and sea on the Ring of Kerry
It isn’t often you witness “the honor system” today. I did notice an unmanned stand at Dublin airport that allowed you to take liter of water trusting you’d toss one euro into a box. Come to think of it, two years ago at a national campground in New Hampshire we were on our honor to deposit the right fee in the tube as we exited. What other “honor system” situations are out there? Please share.