I was laying in bed ’round 6 a.m. this morning when I heard this:

Male voice: "Yeah. Hi. I’m on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center. We just
had an explosion on the, on the like 105th floor … We have smoke and … it’s pretty bad."

911 Operator: "Sit tight. Do not leave, OK?"

I’m not going to get on anyone’s case, here. I’m confident that 911 operators are well trained, professional, and provide generally good, tried & true advice for most situations most of the time.

But people, 911 operators aren’t accustomed to taking calls from exploding skyscrapers. If you called a 911 operator to tell them that there was an explosion in one part of your house and that it was burning, would they tell you not to leave? No, of course not. Naturally, neither the operator, or anyone, had the slightest inkling that the buildings would come down. They probably reasonably thought that the safest place was to stay put. Then again, the guy was there. The operator wasn’t.

I’m just sayin’. You know, even when someone sounds authoritative, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re talking about, so you’re never really relieved of your responsibility to think and judge for yourself–to make sure the advice you’re getting is sound, and if not, to advise yourself.

It’s particularly necessary to  keep this in mind in today’s shirk responsibility, blame  someone else, tell-me-what-to-do, "CALL THE AUTHORITIES! … WAIT FOR THE AUTHORITIES!" helpless-victim culture.

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  1. Tobey A. Anderson on March 30, 2006 at 21:43

    keep talkin. the more who do, the more will listen.

  2. Neal on March 30, 2006 at 16:06

    How do we turn the tide on a culture where people are constantly thinking they are a victim? I surely don't know. We are a people of inaction – deer caught in the headlights. And I really don't think there's a way to turn it around on a mass scale.

    But maybe this is just the way of things – in a vastly populated world that is regulated in every way possible, we become dependent on the system to take care of us.

  3. W. J. St. Christopher on March 31, 2006 at 08:30

    I've got MAJOR authority issues; consequently, I tend to follow my own instincts.

    My mother hated that, but, it's saved me more than once.

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