Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Lee Dresselhaus / L’Observateur / June 16, 1999

So. It has occurred to me lately that we’re missing something these days,something valuable that seems to have gone astray.

What got me off on this particular tangent was an article I read about a 13-year-old boy in Los Angeles. It seems this boy was given a bag ofmarijuana by a friend while at school. He didn’t want it and didn’t have aclue what to do with it, so he took it home and gave it to his mother, who then notified school authorities. The school authorities then promptlyexpelled the boy because of their “zero tolerance” policy concerning drugs on school property. They said that the boy should have turned the weedover to the principal instead of waiting to turn it over to his mother. Sothey expelled him.

I read this article with the same degree of astonishment and irritation that you feel when you see someone do something really, really stupid and you can’t do a darn thing about it. That’s when that feeling came over methat we’re missing something and shortly after reading this journalistic jewel, it occurred to me just what it is.

We’re missing common sense. And it’s happening more and more.I suppose technically the child should have turned the weed over to the principal, but instead of giving the kid the credit he deserved for his honesty and the fact he brought it to the attention of a responsible adult, they slammed him. What kind of lesson do you think that taught that child?I know what I would have thought at that age. Honesty is the best policy?Yeah, right. Adult propaganda. Being clever and not getting caught is thebest policy. Honesty is for idiots. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if thatkid has that slogan framed and hanging on his bedroom wall now..HONESTYIS FOR IDIOTS. Maybe his Grandma even embroidered it for him and put it ina nice frame while they we’re looking for another school for him to attend.

Yep, there’s a lesson for our kids, alright.

Since I’m on the subject, there was another example of this lack of common sense a while back in which a young girl was suspended for giving another girl a Midol for her menstrual cramps. And an even better one..howabout the girl who had a severe asthma attack while on a school bus and was given an inhaler that was the same prescription by another girl. Thatgirl was also suspended. Those schools also cited the zero tolerancepolicy and called what those girls did “distribution.” Okay, I understandthe reason for anti-drug policies in the schools but, man, if there’s not a common sense issue there I’m a spotted gecko.

And the lack of common sense isn’t restricted to our schools these days.

Take a look at some of the lawsuits out there that our courts hear. Likethe one (my favorite) where the little old lady got the hot cup of coffee at McDonald’s, spilled it in her lap while attempting to drive and drink hot coffee at the same time, then sued. And won. Why would the court evenhear a case like that? Good thing I’m not a judge. If I had been the judgereviewing that suit I probably would have said something to the effect that, hey, the coffees hot. It’s supposed to be hot, Granny Flash! Now getout of here and take Clarence Darrow there with you. Another example arethe people who run from the police, have an accident, then sue the police because they ran in the first place and the police chased them. What’swrong with that picture? If I were the judge the whole thing would take about three minutes. The conversation would go something like this: Judge: Let me get this straight..you were in violation of the law, theofficer attempted to pull you over, and you fled, right? Weasel: Right, your honor.

Judge: And while you were fleeing a lawful traffic stop you had an accident in which you broke your shoplifting hand and you want to sue the police for a gazillion dollars now, right? Weasel: That’s correct.

Judge: Bailiff, shoot him. Now. Good thing I’m not a judge. For some people, anyway.And finally, the whopper. This one is a grand slam. It involves the schools,the courts, and law suits. Plus an imbecilic lack of common sense that isastonishing even by today’s standards. How about the case last year inwhich the parents of a 6-year-old girl sued the parents of a 6-year-old boy because the boy kissed the girl on the cheek. They cited sexualharassment. Sexual harassment! Since when can a 6-year-old sexuallyharass anything? When I was six I still believed girls had cooties and I sure didn’t have a clue what sex was. And unless this kid was freakishlyadvanced, I’ll wager he didn’t either. Anyone with common sense shouldknow this, shouldn’t they? Unless they’re blatant opportunists.

So, take a look around. If you see any of that common sense we’re missinglaying about loose, let someone know. There are some people out there whodesperately need it.

Lee Dresselhaus is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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