Many of us shook our heads in total disbelief last week over the latest chapter in the Ethan Couch story. He’s the 18 year old who killed 4 people with a car in Texas a few years ago. His lawyers have argued that Ethan was so spoiled growing up that he was unable to distinguish right from wrong. They call it affluenza, and it helped to keep him out of jail for a while.
“Does stupidity among Americans not know any bounds?” some of us have been asking. Meanwhile, from BC comes evidence that there are many Canadian candidates for what I like to call the ‘terminal dumbness award’.
The centre in Vancouver that handles 9-1-1 emergency calls released their top ten list of the dumbest calls they’ve had to deal with in the past 12 months. Someone called looking for help to get a basketball out of a tree. Another caller wanted to complain to someone that his roommate had used his toothbrush without permission. Somebody wanted to complain about a neighbourhood coffee shop that wouldn’t give them a free refill.
We are supposed to have known for decades that 9-1-1 calls are for extreme emergencies, matters of life and death. Whose fault is it that so many people seem to have no idea what that means? Does it come from watching too much television, or perhaps playing too many video games?
Perhaps there’s confusion with numbers that sound similar to 911? 4-1-1 is for directory assistance. If you’re lucky enough to get beyond the robo system , you might actually get to talk to someone in a call centre that’s a mere 2,000 miles from where you live. Then there’s 3-1-1. That’s the number to call in many communities for relatively minor emergencies that are not a matter of life and death. You can spend what seems like an entire lifetime waiting to report a fallen tree after a windstorm.
Here’s a worthwhile ‘mission’ for 2016. Let’s have everyone sign up for some kind of course in ‘common sense’.
Happy New Year.
I’m Roger Currie