Knee-Jerk Jerks

March 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday, we had a very ‘unheated’ conversation about the manner in which the Malay government handled missing flight 370.  I’m sure a lot of the comments were due to “missing aircraft overload” since the airliner’s disappearance has been the center of every newscast. Speculation of highjacking, dishonest pilots, thoughts, questions…my God, how confusing, and one single black box can never answer all the questions that have been raised.

My bone of contention came when others discussed the amount of money that should be paid survivors for having lost loved ones, and since I’m not a fan of suing people over things they don’t and can’t control, I took exception.  I suppose having read “Overreaction Nation by Lenore Skenazy” in a 2012 issue of Reader’s Digest spurred me on even more.  May I quote some of her statements verbatim…of course giving her full credit?

“Nothing is too small or too insignificant for Americans to get worked up about.”  She emphasized her quote with this story.  “A bus full of ten-year-olds is evacuated in Massachusetts.  Is there a terrorist on board?  A fire?  A wolf?  TRY: a peanut!  It seems to be a single legume, unarmed, on the floor, but you can’t be too careful can you? What is there’s a child on the bus who allergic?  What if he hurls himself toward the nut and eats it quicker than an elephant coming off a juice fast?  There’s only one way to make absolutely sure that tragedy never happens (besides the driver picking up the nut and throwing it away):  mass evacuation.

Overreact much?  Somewhere along the line, we’ve lost the age-old ability to distinguish between getting our feet wet in a puddle and the Poseidon Adventure.”

Ms. Skanzy goes on to mention how one town banned a barber pool because they might be distracting to motorists, a school in Virginia gave a boy a half-year suspension for launching a spit-wad (assault is assault), and when a young man relieved himself in a reservoir in Portland, the city, in reaction to a pint of fluid, drained the entire reservoir of eight million gallons.  She asks, “What do the bureaucrats think the fish do in that water.”  Ignoring these petty and stupid offenses might have sent a message being delivered  to the public that indicated no one cared about their safety.

Recalls have become a way of life to avoid being sued.  If someone is forewarned by a product recall, then they can’t hold a company responsible.  If you want someone to blame…try the media.  Their announcement such as “The danger in your den–details at eleven” leave us wary and waiting only to hear a wayward screw may have snagged fur from a passing dog. Or even better, CNN reported on a baby taken from a health-care facility (in 2010 ONE out of 4,3000,000 births resulted in a kidnapping) and made new mothers distrustful of nurses because they may well be baby snatchers in disguise.

When one child in Michigan displayed symptoms of over-imbibing, which by the way was highly unlikely, and the restaurant switched to single serve juice boxes under suspicion of having spiked kiddie drinks for decades, rather than enjoy a free meal on the house, the parents sued for $25,000 for emotional distress and medical expenses.  Ms. Skarnzy indicates “All this knee-jerk overreaction is turning us into idiots, going nuts on cue over the pettiest of problems and demanding apologies, precautions and laws that are unnecessary at best….”

Ms. Skenazy’s article did a fine job of showing our mentality when it comes to safety, but where do we surrender our own responsibility? I’m not indicating that the grief incurred by losing a loved one is a petty problem, but even if a recovered black box shows pilot error, the pilots are dead as well as the others aboard, so who is accountable, and should  the airline have to pay people who surely have been told during their lifetime…what goes up, must come down.  Unfortunately, airplanes once in a while descend sooner than they’re supposed to.  What is a life worth on the market these days, and does money alleviate pain?  I say no, but the majority of others believe insurance companies need to dish out the dough to those with lost loved ones.  Maybe I just don’t have much believe in the insurance system since my health insurance cancelled me when Obamacare came into play, and when my basement flooded while we were on vacation due to a broken pipe, my homeowners cancelled me too.  Yes, I expected them to pay for the damage because I pay them an exorbitant amount monthly just in case something happens…just as I do with my car insurance, but when I step on a plane…unless I have a policy against my demise, I don’t believe my family would expect a crash to be a means to making money.  Just my two cents worth…and I’m not inviting an argument.  We simply agreed to disagree, and that’s what civil folks do.


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