Stopping to Think

Stopping to Think

By Earl Perkins
Thursday Review Associate Editor

You don't have to be extremely smart, make great decisions or be really lucky in life. However, if you pay attention and think through your daily plans before you act upon them, you might end up with a better life than many other people.

Pick up the local section of your newspaper, and just glance through some of the stories. I did that the other day, and several stories just jumped out at me almost as a pattern.

There are hundreds of wonderful charities in most towns, but in my Florida city several people were recently arrested for running an illegal gambling operation. Records show they took in millions of dollars, but passed along less than two percent of that windfall to those in need. Now many other charities in the area are being investigated, slowing down their donations in the wake of negative headlines and making it difficult to rais funds to help those in need.

Then turn to the police briefs section, and see if you want to trade places with some of these folks. A 29-year-old driver in an SUV was travelling at an extremely high rate of speed as he turned into a townhome complex, losing control as the vehicle shot through a fence and flipped over in a retention pond. He won't be celebrating a 30th birthday.

Another man retired as a police officer after 36 years, then took a job as a bailiff in the court system. Less than two months later, he was crossing a street on foot when a young driver killed him with a vehicle. Many people ignore traffic laws and drive at high rates of speed, showing little concern for other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Innocent citizens are dying left and right, and I don't see things improving. When the police do affix blame, these people just call their lawyer or refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Some of them are even lawyers and judges.

The rest of the newspaper section is just more of the same bad news. Police identify a fatal gunshot victim, seven-time felon gets life for home invasion robbery, a 62-year-old newspaper vendor run down by errrant driver, 23-year-old man killed in single-vehicle crash, former executive indicted for price-fixing, video of man killing a horse draws attention. Every single day is like this--it seems to go on and on.

If we all tried to be courteous to others and made better decisions, this world would be so much better for everyone. But so many people are in a huge hurry, worrying about themselves while talking and texting on the phone while driving, often enclosed in their own bubble and barely aware of their surroundings. I'll try to pay attention and be a better citizen today -- will you?