When I see other parents out and they are using some form of leash on their child I always feel a bit strange. It does seem as though they are granting their children the same amount of respect they would grant their pets. Conversly I will probably use some form of leash when TheBoy gets older so that way he has some what more freedom than if he had to stay right next to me the entire time.
What is strange is that while it may afford a more discreet method of travel essentially I am on a leash every day. This is not some monologue by a hack comedian about how "my wife has me on such a leash, I can't even go to the grocery store by myself because I am so incompetant... har har har." No I actually have an electronic leash and it goes by the handy moniker of baby monitor.
No matter what I am doing, if TheBoy is not with me then I have to take the electronic leash with me. Sometimes I sneak out of the house without it, if I need to run a bag of trash to the curb or something similar, but for all intents and purposes I have it near me always.
So it would seem that the real person I feel sorry for when I see a child wearing one in public is myself.