I don’t pretend to be a professional human being, but I play one on TV (well, home video). Through my years on this planet I have slowly learned lessons relating to human nature and interaction, which naturally has to continually evolve since our methods of communication with our fellow man are also constantly changing. I’m not perfect at it by any means, but I feel my wisdom increases in this area with each and every day, plus I find my blood pressure tends to be more even-keel when I apply the lessons learned. (In case you’re wondering, this is a prologue to what I’m about to vent.)
Thus my disdain for what are known as knee-jerk reactions. I have absolutely indulged in them, and I unequivocally admit that almost each and every time I wound up being in the wrong (or, at minimum, wishing I had put a bit more thought into it before I pounced). More often than not, these types of responses create heightened pulse, attacks on emotions and are effectually a waste of time and energy. Oh, and-plus-also, they hardly ever lead to an optimal solution to the issue or topic at hand; rather they perpetuate angst and almost outright warfare between opposing viewpoints and those who hold them.
In our local community, I learned of a fairly decent example of a patellar event in a situation where a retired sheriff found himself on the wrong side of the law (due entirely to his own choices and actions) and also on the wrong side of the prison bars… in a jail cell of a prison which happened to be named after him. (Check out the story, including charges incurred by the sheriff, on the Denver Post website.) However, be still your hearts (and knees), as this is not the reaction to which I’m referring above.
Where the community knees come into play is the fallout from the fact the building bearing his name – undoubtedly considered an honor and distinction, both for building and body, when it was bestowed – now housed a person whose name is very publicly associated with crimes related to sex and drugs. Community outcry has now led county officials to consider changing their policies for naming buildings/sites after people. (See the story on CBSDenver.com.)
So here’s my question: WHY? I’d like to hazard what seems to be the only logical guess I can come up with…
the building itself is obviously embarrassed to have to provide shelter to an alleged criminal while his name sullies its exterior facade. I mean, look at that red brick siding… it’s obviously blushing!
OK, that was obviously tongue in cheek, but the question still stands as to why it is suddenly necessary to go to the lengths of assessing and probably changing the method of naming inanimate, uncaring and unfeeling objects after any living person (their new idea is to wait until after a person has died, ensuring no scandals come out before they decide to hang the letters permanently on a wall) simply because ONE lone tool seemed to lack the judgment and honor which prompted the facility’s new name in the first place.
What I love the most about this outcry for change where it’s hardly necessary is this: skeletons really don’t have a statue of limitations for emerging from closets. Whose to say anyone is ever going to be “safe” to name a building after an individual when truth could eventually come out about their indiscretions, even after they’ve been six feet under for months or years?
All I’ll say is the honorable workers in the signage industry are probably laughing their asses off at this new development; their industry just got a boost based on yet another knee-jerk reaction.
So how about we all try this (me included, as I can always use the reminder): before we spring our knee up in ire and steamroll through a situation, possibly quashing any remotely decent ideas, policies or people along our way, let’s perhaps keep both feel firmly planted and put some honest thought into all sides and possibilities available. THEN, when our pulse is at a steady rate and our heads are cool, determine the best response and roll with it. I guarantee little Jiminy Cricket, Mr. Conscience, will rest better at night.