Using good judgment and common sense can make the difference between life and death.
| It is always wise to consider the issues of life from the perspective of common sense and sound judgment. We are forever hearing from those attempting to justify the exercise of poor and misguided thinking. Everyone is to blame except the one who launched out in the leaking boat of foolish miscalculation. What follows are examples of life lessons lived out in every day that dawns, the often tragic consequence of poor judgment and lack of common sense.
Where indeed should we begin when searching for appropriate examples? We need only close our eyes, and, as it were, point to any of the many scenarios we know all too well.
Let us begin with a typical example found in headlines far too often. A young woman and her friends are celebrating their college graduation with a trip to one of the common island destinations. The island was crowded with young folk seeking a let it all hang out getaway before job searches begin. Our young lady and her friends seek out a trendy nightspot where the party goes on late into the night. As would be normal, they become acquainted with other young vacationers and a few local men and begin to party with them. They drink and dance and party until late into the night. At some point, our young woman decides to leave her friends and depart with one of the men she has been talking to throughout the evening. As the party wanes in the wee hours, our group of women returns to their hotel and collapse into beds. Upon waking the next morning, the group realizes that their friend doesn't appear to have returned to her room. They become concerned when she was nowhere to be found. For all of their searching and inquiry, their minds can only answer to the last time they saw her.
Does any part of our story sound familiar? You know very well that it does, as it is more common an incident than we might like to think. If you suggest that such things rarely occur, I would say that they happen more often than we ever know. When they do come to our attention, it is most often because these stories have become international news.
But wait, exactly what has happened to our young lady? The fact is, no one knows, or should we say that at least one person knows. As authorities search and follow as many leads as present themselves, it seems that our young vacationer has vanished without a trace. Oh yes, that young man that went off with our young woman. Well, he seems to have disappeared as well.
Please allow me to forego all that would naturally surround such a missing person case, and begin to ask some of my questions. Why would a pretty - did I not tell you she was pretty? Well, she was or is. Why would this woman with what we assume as obvious intelligence, go off into the night with a man she has only known for a few hours? We might expand that question by asking why any woman - or man for that matter - would give even a fleeting thought to intimacy with a person they don't know? God knows it could be an ill-advised decision even when they are known, let alone when they are not.
Now, you may say that such things are perfectly reasonable in our day and time. Alright, normal it may be according to the mores of society, but does it show sound judgment and common sense? As far as I am concerned, there is nothing sound about such behavior. It doesn't matter that we live in these times or those times or whatever times; sound judgment remains sound, and common sense remains what it is.
Those of you having taken the time to follow this brief moment of a young woman's life will know full well what you would first think if you followed such a story in the news. Allow me to be blunt and tell you what you would think: that poor girl is probably dead. Your experience with world events would have taught you that the worse case scenario is most likely the correct one.
If the story of the missing young woman becomes more newsworthy, it is usually the result of family flying directly to the location and pressing local authorities toward a more dogged pursuit of the case. In such cases, it is unfortunate that those charged with solving such mysteries are ill-equipped and less interested in conducting a full-court press toward a quick resolution. From their perspective, they have seen such things time and time again, and they usually turn out to be nothing of a serious nature.
But this is an American family that has every intention of getting answers. Because they are Americans, they take center stage and hold a press conference which centers on telling the public about their daughter and pleading for information any may have.
And so it goes in a faraway place. A family agonizes over a missing daughter and hopes against hope that she will be found safe.
But as such stories often go, our young woman will not be found safe and well; she will be found dead if she is found at all. This situation is a tragedy conceived by the evil of one or more, predicated on the ill-advised actions of another. It is so regrettable and was so completely unnecessary. The upshot: poor judgment can be deadly.
DISTINCTIONS THAT MUST BE UNDERSTOOD
At this point, it may be wise to point out a few distinctions concerning those mistakes that we all make. The dictionary defines a mistake as an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge. If we take this definition at face value, we see that mistakes come in all sizes and are of every hue. We could surely say that there are mistakes and then there are mistakes. Many are the simple result of human error, while others prove deadly and remain open to questions. A driver driving at well beyond the speed limit is fully aware that he or she is breaking the law and putting their own and other lives in danger. Does this knowledge cause them to change their behavior? In most cases, it makes no impression on them whatsoever because they give it no consideration in the least.
PEOPLE DIE EVERY DAY:
Of course, it is undoubtedly true that people die every day. People are dying at this very moment. People may die of natural causes or illness. A great many people die through the miscalculations or poor judgment, sometimes on their part, and at other times on the part of others. A drunken driver may cross the center line or a split second of texting may end the life of some innocent victim. I watched a documentary entitled 'There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane' The story centers on the tragic and gruesome Taconic State Parkway head-on crash that took the lives of eight people, four of which were children. Diane Schuler was driving the van that caused the accident. After the crash, it was determined that Schuler had drunk heavily on that day. Later investigation revealed that she had begun self-medicating for a very painful tooth. The children in Diane's van had tried to call someone to inform them that their Aunt was acting in a very bazaar manner and driving very erratically. But time ran out for Diane and all but one of the children, who survived. The documentary held little back, showing Schuler's lifeless body as plain as day lying face up on the side of the road. The head-on collision was one of the worst accidents to occur in that part of the country since the 1930s.
And why did it happen? The answer is plain and simple. Diane Schuler could not have used worse judgment and displayed a more significant lack of common sense. One can only surmise that she was in so much pain that she self-medicated with what she had available - alcohol and drugs, but that is hardly a viable excuse. And yet, for all the pain Diane caused buy the grossest negligence possible, her family defended her by insisting that she rarely used alcohol and would never have used drugs in the presence of the children. This innocence on the part of Diane they continued to insist upon in spite of toxicology reports that nailed Diane Schuler to the proverbial wall. Eventually, stories changed to show that drinking had occurred on their camping trip and that Diane did use marijuana regularly. Was Diane trying to ease her suffering from a painful tooth on that fateful day? It does seem so. In any case, it all boiled down to another case of a complete lack of common sense that culminated in the death of eight innocent people.
Not too very long ago I watched a highway safety documentary made by the highway patrol of a northern state. I can't remember the particular state. Being an amateur historian, I watch hundreds of documentaries. However, never have I seen one quite like this. The highway patrol filmed particular highway fatalities brought about by careless and irresponsible driving. The film was graphic and held nothing back. Whether the victim or victims were killed by their poor judgment or by that of another, the message was frighteningly brought forth. If you act irresponsibly and use poor judgment, you may lose your own life or take the life of another. The many ghastly ways in which people die in automobile accidents should frighten anyone into being more responsible. The pictures taken by highway patrol photographers were most often of bodies crushed in mangled cars, heads protruding from windshields, and bodies burned beyond recognition. Most often such attempts to affect the behavior of drivers come to naught. People will continue to behave in the same potentially destructive ways because they refuse to believe that such things will ever happen to them.
Exactly what is it that causes people to behave in foolish and irresponsible ways? What blinds them to the use of sound judgment and common sense? These are questions that most often leave us completely baffled and amazed. We should be amazed and awestruck at how people can be so stupid. Yes, you heard me right, they are stupid. Even so, when they cause the death of someone, they are trotted out before us as basically good people who made a mistake. There is often no end of denial.
And so, what is our conclusion and what can we further say to make sense of what we have read? I must admit that I do not assume to have the answer. I could only plead with people to think before they act, and do not suppose of the good intentions of others. In using sound judgment and common sense you may save a life, and that life may well be yours or many others.