Kurt Reynolds: The law of unintended consequences
April 6, 2018
As much as I love being lectured by people half my age, I must respond to Mia Belluomini's letter. I'm so sorry that too many adults failed to and continue to fail to take into consideration what is called the law of unintended consequences.
Here are some of the things that have changed radically since I was your age and younger. We didn't have the destructive demon of social media or "smart phones," which sadly don't help people be any smarter. We didn't have so many adults acting like children, while expecting children to behave like adults. Adults were better at leading by example. Our parents and teachers taught us about personal responsibility instead of blaming others. There was no obsession over "harming my self esteem."
If we did something wrong, we were given a fair punishment that didn't include five minutes in the time-out chair. We kept score during Little League games, three strikes and you were out. We were allowed to play dodge ball. We were allowed to give Valentines to whomever we wanted in our classrooms. We could invite, or not invite, whomever we wanted to the party.
If we did not sit still and be quiet in a manner that was convenient for the adults in our lives, or if we would rather look at birds and planes out the window and not listen to a fascinating lesson on how to convert fractions to decimals, we were not diagnosed with a mental disorder and put on medication. People didn't make false accusations about racism and sexism because they disagreed with our views. We considered the police and Armed Forces the good guys and the criminals the bad guys (and using "guys" was not considered sexist).
I'm so sorry so many people failed to realize that, while an open mind is good, a mind so open that the brain falls out is not good.
We were taught that we had to do much more than show up to succeed. We did not learn politics from late-night talk show hosts and Saturday Night Live. We did not have 24-hour-a-day non-stop cable news that creates "murder porn" — over and over coverage of horrific events and the aftermath including sadness, grief, protests, arguments and the name of the killer and the dead long afterward, helping fuel a twisted or criminal mind's need for infamy. To be not only remembered, but unforgettable. And yes, there is a difference. We didn't reward law breakers, whether it was the penal code, immigration laws, or the vehicle code. We were taught that "it's very cool to follow the rules."
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Something that has not changed in more than 240 years is: Americans own guns. For a gun to kill, a person must squeeze a trigger. How many of American school shooters (the real statistic, not the unreal one, do the research on what's counted as a school shooting) are NRA members? The Parkland, Florida shooter sent up more than just red flags, up to and including advertising that he wanted to be a school shooter.
I'm sorry, Mia, that, as you wrote, you live your life in fear. But I hope your generation and future generations will once again begin to use the scientific method and remember some laws cannot be broken, such as the "Law of Unintended Consequences."
Kurt Reynolds lives in Smartsville.
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