Just a Thought: Whatever happened to common sense?


Who’re you going to call? I don’t think Ghostbusters really exist.

You wake up in the middle of the night to a thud in the other room. Your heart is racing as you leave your bedroom. You walk out into your living room and you find yourself face to face with a stranger. You pick up your phone and you have no one to call.

In these crazy days we can feel helpless as the world spins around us. Our helplessness turns to fear. Fear leads to a lower quality of life and maybe even depression. To overcome this we have to reinvent ourselves daily, beginning by looking deep within ourselves. We have to find a way to avoid letting others steal our joy.

Society has to have structure and order. This has occurred since mankind began. Whether it is a country, an organization, a family, or even a commune, somebody has got to lead. Somebody has got to be able to provide direction and be able to resolve disputes between members.

For society to function you’ve got to have people in places with authority to take actions to make things happen for the betterment of the group. Even if the leader routinely makes bad decisions, decisions need to be made.

A group of strangers shipwrecked on an island have got to get themselves organized to survive. A jury has to be organized to render a fair and just verdict. A social injustice organization must be organized to reduce wrong acts.

A highway does not maintain itself. Food doesn’t accidentally make its way into a grocery store. Water doesn’t just magically appear when a person turns their faucet handle.

Left unchecked, things naturally drift towards chaos.

Chaos may work for a short period of time, but eventually order must return. Rules exist to avoid chaos. Chaos exists when people choose to not follow rules. There will always be some who don’t want to follow the rules. When a group collectively decides to ignore rules, it tests the authority over them. On a more basic level, parents face this when a child acts out. Do they respond with grace or law?

 Recognize it is always easier to tear down than to build. An untrained group of men can tear down in a day what it took a trained construction team six months to build. Some people are not interested in building, only tearing down.

With all this being said, whether it is by election, appointment, or a historical privilege, there will always be people in power whose job is to provide direction and avoid chaos. There will always be the “haves” who are making rules for the “have nots.” In America, giving the same vote to the “haves” as well as the “have nots” is our way of trying to empower everyone equally to be able to bring about change.

Many people who don’t like the rules feel they are victims of the world around them. I am not saying that all rules are good nor that there aren’t true victims among us, only that many victims wear this label because they choose to.

If I get knocked on my rear while playing basketball with the official right next to me not calling an obvious foul on the other player, I could sit on the floor the rest of the game, yell about the poor call by the official, and then say to the crowd “look at me, I’m a victim. I shouldn’t be here on the floor.” Or I can recognize I have suffered from a poor call, get back up, run down the floor and do my best to work with my teammates to change the outcome of the game.

Society is a complex issue packed with social injustice. Life is not fair. Accept this but don’t use it as an excuse to not accomplish what you need to be accomplishing...because there are things you need to be accomplishing. And don’t use the fact that social injustice will always exist as a reason to not fight for justice today.

It seems we’re living by two standards today. Little Johnny is bullied by his third grade classmates. The student who bullied him gets suspended for a half day. Johnny grows up and bullies others in a mob format and suddenly his behavior is acceptable, even celebrated. If bullying behavior is not all right in third grade, it is not all right in a mob downtown. Let’s apply the third grade test to grown adults.

Sometimes I go to bed at night wondering what happened to “common sense.” God gave us emotions and they can be very powerful. Emotions may flare for a while and that is all right, but common sense has got to return at some point.

Common sense tells us that because a corrupt judge is exposed you don’t do away with all the judges. Because an accountant embezzles from his client, you don’t do away with all CPAs. Because an elected official loses his position for taking bribes, you don’t remove all elected officials. You don’t penalize those who follow the rules because one of your own doesn’t. It would be like punishing all tattooed men because one tattooed man shoots another.

All this being said, every society will have bad people. Every society has to find a way to handle them. Who is responsible for stopping the man with a machine gun shooting up people in a crowded area? There has to be a system in place before this happens. There has to be people who will run into danger when everyone else runs out. One mad man in minutes can directly change the lives of thousands. And then after it happens, we look for someone to blame other than the shooter.

Law enforcement officers receive significant training on how to handle any situation they may be put in. I’m thankful for the commitment our law enforcement makes to receive training to make the best decisions given a bad situation. I’m now thanking everyone in law enforcement for their service. They don’t deserve the rap they’re getting.

My challenge to you today is to use common sense. It is okay to be emotional. This is fine. Cry, yell, or lose sleep. It’s your life. You have the freedom to experience any of these. But don’t lose touch with common sense. Don’t respond to a terrible event of harm to one by causing further harm to innocents. Don’t let emotion take away your common sense.

Don’t allow the sins of one to color your view of others. This leads to racism.

Recognize social injustice, but also recognize wrong acts that would not be permitted in third grade. 

Rise above the fray. Don’t be ruled by fear. Look inward and accomplish what you need to be accomplishing independent of radical factions.

Don’t allow others to rob you of your joy. You may need to turn off your television and instead get down on the floor and play with your children.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850. 


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