I have something to get off my chest today as we get more details about the 3 women in Cleveland. I have some very good friends who are law enforcement, and they risk their lives and they do a great job. But what happened in Cleveland was a failure on two counts: the people who “thought something wasn’t right” and then did and said nothing, and the cops who were called on at least two separate occasions after reports of “naked women in the backyard wearing dog collars” and then didn’t follow up.
If something isn’t right, report it. If you report it and nothing is done and you still think something isn’t right, follow up. Report it again. And again. And again. Trust your instinct. If something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. For some reason today, society conspires to suppress that side of our human nature. We’re born with the ability to detect abnormal and dangerous circumstances – we all need to do a better job listening.
We ALL see things from time-to-time which should be reported, whether that’s an unsafe driver on the road, a neighbor whose backyard campfire is suddenly putting out WAY too much smoke, or seeing naked women in dog collars in the yard next door. But when was the last time you reported it? Or are we all just all too quick to chalk it up to “well I don’t want to offend anyone, and they seem to all be consenting adults, so I’ll just go back to watching American Idol?”
Take care of yourself and your family. Then turn right around and take care of your neighbors. If you don’t say something, who will? Is it law enforcement’s job to know every bad situation when it arises? How could they possibly know that, short of turning this country into a police state?
Individual liberty is paramount in this country. We’ve all fought battles, recently, to secure liberty. We’ve won some and we’ve lost some. But maybe we’re missing the point – maybe the battle isn’t about liberty at all. Maybe the battle we should be fighting for is to secure our right to personal responsibility. When our society demonstrates an obvious lack of responsibility (in reporting, acting, investigating, following up, taking care of each other), THAT is when our government is quick to show up and step in.
Let’s turn the tables on this. Learn from the lessons of Cleveland. Take care of each other. For God’s sake, our liberty depends on it, and in some cases, our lives depend on it too.
If you’ve ever seen the tv show “I Survived…” one of the running themes is how frequently people see tragedy right in front of them, often times literally staring them right in the face, and yet they turn around and walk away. For many of us, this is the Normalcy Bias all over again. We’re expecting to see normal things, and even when confronted with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we see what we want to see – what we expect to see – and we ignore the rest, even to the point of dismissing it as “someone else’s problem.” All so we can get back into our daily routine. There are dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of stories from 9/11 where, even when people watched a plane fly into a building right next to them, they turned around, walked back to their desk, and checked their email or called their spouse to talk about dinner plans. They rejected a visual (or otherwise… some even felt the impact and felt the heat of the explosion) input, even when true, because it didn’t fit into their schedule.
We see that over and over and over… and we’re seeing it again in Cleveland.
Take responsibility for your own life, and let’s take care of each other. Because no one else will.