Common sense takes a backseat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Are we all really better off than we were, say 30-plus years ago?

Or have we evolved, no make that corroded, to the point where society constantly finds itself on the defensive; often making knee jerk decisions rather than using common sense.

Ponder over these scenarios separated by 35 years.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1971 – Crowd gathers. Mark whips Johnny. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody is arrested and nobody is expelled.

2006 – Police called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. Both are charged with assault and both expelled, even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Billy, being a typical boy, is throwing a football in the yard and accidentally

breaks a window in his father’s car. As his punishment, Billy’s dad gives him a whipping.

1971 – Billy is more careful next time he’s outside tossing around a football, ever mindful of the whipping he received. He grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2006 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Interviewed by a state psychologist, Billy’s sister says her dad has spanked her on occasions for misbehaving. The dad is sent to prison and the mother winds up having an affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Jeffrey won’t be still in class and disrupts other students.

1971 – Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal.

Henceforth, he sits still in class.

2006 – Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin; becomes a zombie; and the school winds-up receiving extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Jack, who lives on a farm and loves to hunt and fish, pulls his pick-up truck into the school parking lot with a rifle in gun rack.

1971 – Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack’s rifle and goes to his car to retrieve his new rifle to show to Jack.

2006 – School goes into lock down; FBI called; Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or rifle again. Counselors are called in for traumatized students and teachers. Vice-Principal is fired, but his record (hidden from public view because it’s a personnel matter) doesn’t show up at the next job where he’s hired as a Principal.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, places them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

1971 – Ants die.

2006 – ATF, SBI, FBI and Homeland Security are summoned to the scene. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. FBI launches investigation of Johnny’s parents; DSS removes siblings from the home. Family is placed on a terror watch list.

Scenario: While at work, Mark gets a headache and pops a few small white pills.

1971 – One of Mark’s co-workers also complains of a headache and Mark shares his medicine, which helps both feel better and they have a productive day at the office.

2006 – Drug enforcement officers are summoned by Mark’s supervisor. Mark’s office desk and car are searched for drugs.

Scenario: Mary turns up pregnant.

1971 – Five high school boys leave town. Mary does her senior year at a special school for expectant mothers.

2006 – Middle School Counselor calls Planned Parenthood, who notifies the ACLU. Mary is driven to the next state over and gets an abortion without her parent’s consent or knowledge. Mary is given condoms and told to be more careful next time.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1971 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2006 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by the state democratic party. The national media becomes involved, marching in experts dressed in slick, three-piece suits who collectively explain that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is banned from the core curriculum. Pedro is given diploma anyway, but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can’t speak English.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary, who offers a hug to comfort the young boy.

1971 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2006 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison.

Now, tell me, under which of these end-result scenarios would you like to live?