Americans need to use common sense

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dear Editor,

What is wrong with people in this country?

I’ve read comments all over the web condemning Zachary Christie, the little 6-year-old boy who brought a Boy Scout knife/fork/spoon set to school, calling him everything from a thug to a hoodlum.

Sure, there are plenty of people that are defending him, but it is the few morons that think that zero-tolerance is even remotely a good idea that really start the words pouring from my keyboard.

When I was a kid in Boy Scouts, we’d bring our Boy Scout pocket knife to school with us on the days that we had Scout meetings! And not a single person in my school was ever stabbed.

No, I take that back — a kid was once stabbed for trying to take another’s crayons. It was probably in first or second grade. I guess you’re going to say, “See, that’s what happens when a Boy Scout is allowed to bring a knife to school.” Boy, are you in for a surprise — the kid used a No. 2 pencil.

But this isn’t even a pocket knife that we’re talking about. It was an eating utensil, which is essentially the equivalent of a butter knife! What was the kid going to do with that? He would have a better chance of inflicting more serious damage with the fork that the school cafeteria provides every day for lunch.

And while I’m on the subject of Scouts, let me discuss for a moment Matthew Whalen, the 17-year-old who was suspended for keeping a 2-inch pocket knife in his vehicle as part of a survival kit. One of the most cherished mottoes of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared.”

We teach children this in school for every situation from fire safety to tornado drills. Boy Scouts are taught to take that one step further and to always be prepared for the unexpected. So a small pocket knife in an emergency survival kit in the car of a Eagle Scout should be expected — not abhorred.

It is high time that the people in this country wake up and start using some common sense. When any judge or jury, be it the Supreme Court or in a school district, makes a ruling based solely on the letter of the law without regards to the circumstances surrounding the “offense,” then it is truly a sad society that we live in — a society in need of a change.