How smart are we?

By Joe Rector

I certainly love this country. So often, I give thanks that I was born here and have had all the opportunities that the United States offers. We are the greatest country in the world at this time, and I hope the same holds true for years to come. This country is the bright beacon to the rest of the world. Presently, troubles have crept up on us, and to many, no escape from them seems possible. However, our country has faced plenty of dire situations, and I hope and pray that we citizens have enough courage and wisdom to face head-on anything that might threaten our way of life.

With that said, I find that my worries are heightened when I watch some of the stunts citizens pull. For instance, the eclipse that recently occurred put on full display how little common sense people have. In those areas where a total eclipse was total, hospitals and emergency rooms were placed on the highest alert. Doctors expected multitudes to descend upon those facilities. The reason for such concern was that too many individuals would stare at the eclipse without wearing the special glasses designed for the event.

Most of us don’t lie out in our yards and stare at the sun for any length of time. We were told that staring at the sun could adversely affect our sight for the rest of our lives. Yet, I watched people who could see the total eclipse sitting in lawn chairs, leaning back, and tilting their noggins upward. As they glared at the event, their jaws dropped and that made them look like someone who wasn’t playing with a full deck.

How dumb does a person have to be to pull such a moronic move? We in the South have been taking a beating from our northern brethren for being less than intelligent. All have seen memes and writings about how little intelligence we below the Mason-Dixon Line have. Well, I’m here to state that fewer of us stared into the last eclipse that occurred a few years ago.

What bothers me so much is the fact that Americans have a way of ignoring advice that we are given during serious times. I’m reminded of my college years. During my senior year, I was a head resident of a dorm at Tennessee Tech. That year, a tornado moved with Cookeville in its sights. I hurried five floors of residents to the bottom floor for the best protection possible. I manned the door to the dorm in case other residents appeared.

On one occasion, I opened the door to see some drunk moron on the roof of an adjacent dorm. His friends and head resident were pleading with him to come back into the dorm and head for shelter. He refused and yelled to folks below, “I’ll come down as soon as I see the tornado!”

What an idiot he was. Little did he know or consider that if he saw the cone of the storm it would be too late for him to reach safe quarters. He was lucky that the storm jumped the entire city and set down on the far side of town before it once again tore apart homes and flattened a large swath going up Monterey Mountain.

Common sense is in short supply. I wish we had a vaccine filled with it that all of us could take. Such a treatment might be the only thing that saves our country against some of the events that are headed our way. If we Americans don’t wise up, we might lose all that we have and sink into ruins, just as so many other great empires have done throughout history. Please, think a little before performing stupid acts that hurt not only yourself but also the ones you love.