I had the pleasure of visiting a friend down in Appalachia country over the weekend. It was a delight, the countryside was beautiful, and everyone I met was not only a character, but someone I could easily spend time with.
One gentleman worked for the fire department, and told me a few funny stories about the plight of being the last county to get any upgraded services. Their dispatcher was still referring to the color of a barn’s roof in order to give the emergency vehicle directions. The fact that it was the dead of night didn’t seem to register. Luckily, they figured out where they were supposed to go, and got there in time.
The sad part about our conversation was that the local officials had circulated a special list to these gentlemen, and the instructions that they were not to disturb those people on the list. The meaning was clear. These were special persons in our community, and whatever they chose to do, it was your job to look the other way.
As a student of behavior, we want to fight the propensity to judge a person, or a society on its choices. I can tell you that the gentleman relating this story to me thought the list was an injustice, but we didn’t discuss it in depth.
More to the point, it’s likely that only the high and mighty are on that list. If you are rich and powerful, then you are above the law. That is what “the list” represents. And all too often history has recorded events where such people commit great crimes against society exactly because they feel they are above the law.
So, consider the list at this county level. And think about whether there is a list in your county. Is there a list in your state? Perhaps such a list even exists at the national level.
Are YOU on that list?