Friday, April 15, 2011
© 2011, the Institute for Applied Common Sense
Not long ago, a friend of the Institute sent us this story from a major news source:
Beverly Hills Police officers responded last evening to a collision involving a single vehicle at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. The driver and passenger were killed. As police examined the wreckage, a little monkey came out of the brush and hopped around the crashed car.
One of the officers looked at the monkey and said, "I wish you could talk."
The monkey looked up at the officer and nodded and raised his head up and down.
"You can understand what I'm saying?" asked the officer.
Again, the monkey picked his head up and down.
"Well, did you see this?"
"Yes," motioned the monkey.
"What happened?" asked the Officer.
The monkey made a gesture as if he had a can in his hand and turned it up by his mouth.
"They were drinking?" asked the officer.
The monkey’s head movements indicated another "Yes."
"What else?" said the Officer. The monkey pinched his fingers together and held them to his mouth.
"They were smoking marijuana?"
The monkey shook his head again indicating, "Yes."
The monkey then made a kissing motion.
"They were kissing, too?" asked the astounded officer.
The monkey again nodded affirmatively.
"Now wait, you witnessed your owners drinking, smoking, and kissing before they wrecked?"
The monkey shook his head vigorously providing another "Yes" response.
"And what were you doing all of this time?"
"Driving," motioned the monkey.
This unfortunate incident reminded us of the potential risks associated with monkeys seeing other monkeys doing dangerous things.
While Common Sense might be relatively simplistic (and capable of being appreciated by monkeys), and frequently merges with Personal Responsibility, there are times when Personal Responsibility is a far more complicated and nuanced concept, depending on the environment and the monkeys involved.
In prior posts, we spoke of the need on the part of some individuals to be right, rather than accurate. Today we shift from being right to having rights.
There’s a “rights” story out there that’s been gnawing on our peanuts for the past couple of weeks. And while many had much to say about the potential threat in the months leading up to the story, once the threat was actually consummated, there were very few American political leaders who had much to say.
Perhaps it received so little attention in the media due to other more pressing stories, such as the Japanese nuclear radiation risk, the potential shutdown of the U.S. government, and our involvement in Libya. Or maybe most regular citizens just didn’t care once the act occurred.
We’re talking about Terry Jones, the Pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida, who, in 2010, threatened to burn Korans to mark the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11.
When he initially made the threat, virtually everyone came out of the woodwork, out of fear that the ensuing fire would engulf their abodes, or real estate projects in which they had invested. But after faking us out with a song and dance alongside a organ grinder and suggesting that he had realized the folly of his ways, on March 21, 2011, the Good Reverend conducted a mock trial (consisting primarily of members of his congregation as jurors), after which he went through with the burning.
Unfortunately, the burning of the books may have been a factor in the attack shortly thereafter on a United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, which left at least 30 people dead, and as many as 150 injured, following 5 days of rioting.
No one will ever be able to prove, with any degree of certainty, whether the exercise of the Good Reverend’s right to express his views was a contributing factor to the bloodshed. But we were surprised at the paucity of coverage of the event by the media, and by how little our political leadership in this country had to say about the burning, and its possible ramifications.
Particularly those in American society who generally argue so forcefully against burning anything which they value.
(Although we do not have any empirical evidence to support this, our guess is that Kobe Bryant received more press accusing a pro basketball referee of being related to Liberace.)
Maybe we were all afraid that some other monkeys out there might repeat the show, and that others might try to imitate the original.
Or perhaps it made some of us actually realize that the exercise of our individual rights might not always be the most responsible thing to do, depending on the environment and the parties (or monkeys) involved.
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