Newsletter: 20 March 2011

Just a little while ago, I was talking to my cousin Sherry. It was just after lunch there. And warm! Already in the upper 80s. Getting towards dinner time here.  Still cool. Among other things,  she told me about the Girl Scouts being probhibted from selling their traditional Girl Scout cookies in front of the Juliette Low House in Savannah because they hadn’t obtained a permit to do so. Juliette Low was the founder of the Girl Scouts. We got to talking about zero tolerance and … common sense.

Can Common Sense and Zero Tolerance get along?

In the name of obedience! Oh we have so many rules! So many that unless you’re careful, you might get caught, arrested, stopped, or otherwise interfered with for doing what your common sense, (pardon the verb but here goes… ) dictates!

Zero tolerance: strict discipline, absolute observance. There may be some cases in which this is appropriate though, I can’t think of one offhand but that must be because I live in a world in which exceptions are the rule. Language is like that. And isn’t language the reflection, expression of life?

Common sense is human. It’s the result not of applied theory, but of applied experience.  Sense=reason. You have to think a little, to choose, to make some sort of decision. You take the situation into consideration. You put things in perspective. There’s a context. You do what’s right.

Zero tolerance? It’s so easy just to follow, just to obey. And we all know where absolute obedience leads … There’s no choice, no decision, no difference, no exception, no circumstance. No doubt.  But there is dissuasion. That must be the key!

Common sense, on the other hand, seems to be appreciated by the vast majority of us. Bob Dylan wrote these words:  “To live outside the law, you must be honest.” Common sense. But maybe common sense isn’t so common, either.

Sherry told me that, in the end, there was such a protest that the rule was rescinded and the young ladies were allowed to sell their cookies …  Common sense wins.

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