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Thursday, January 3, 2008


I am so ashamed at what is happening in my native country, the good ole US of A, I am in a way happy that I have moved away. Incidences of the lack of display of plain old common sense argues to the fact that many people are getting “stupider and stupider” – even though I am aware that it should be “more stupid!” I would not want my readers to think that I might be stupid and cannot write correctly!

As a side light, years ago when I was awarded an United States Public Health Service grant to study staph infections at the Jimmy Fund Building, part of the Harvard complex of institutions. I was speaking one day with one of my mentors, Dr. John Enders, a Nobel Prize Laureate for his work on polio virus. He told me that a problem with Catholics is that when they disagree with the Church, they leave it. Dr. Enders thought that a better thing to do would be to stay in the Church to try to effect a change. I thought that what he said was quite perceptive and had much merit.

I say this in the context that perhaps I should not have left the US and that I should have stayed there to cause a change in my own country. But, being a Medical Man who has been interested in science and mathematics all my life, I consider the numbers of people in the US getting “dumber and dumber” I feel that anything I could do to cause change would be akin to “urinating in the ocean!”

What prompts me to write this Blog is the story of the 10 year old girl who brought a steak knife to school to cut up the steak her mother gave her for lunch. The school powers-at-be over reacted. The teacher confiscated the knife, the 10 year old was suspended from school for 3 days, the police came and officially arrested her, and the incident became part of her permanent school record which is to follow her throughout life. Why were all these things necessary? The reason given is that the school board has a “zero tolerance” on such matters. What a whole lot of garbage! When I was in grammar school, the nuns would have completely ignored the incident thinking that using a steak knife to cut one’s steak for lunch would have been quite reasonable.

There is a bright ending to the story, however. When the incident arrived at the Office of the State Attorney he reacted also. He thought the whole thing was ludicrous and ordered that the entire episode be stricken and the notation in her school record be removed. However, he was able to do nothing about her 3 day suspension which had already occurred. Well, thank God for a reasonable man who demonstrated common sense. But look at all those school officials who preceded him! There were probably at least several –5– levels of authority: the teacher, principal, school board, police, and local states attorney before it got to the level of The States Attorney. Five out of six acting dumb are not good odds.

Why did it have to get to the State Attorney’s office before it was corrected. And what about this often-cited-by-ignorant-school-officials “zero tolerance” business? Everyone from teachers to principals, to school board members want to be amateur lawyers. We have too many lawyers as it is – one of the problems in the US – without a bunch of people without law degrees trying to practice law!

Every time I get into an airplane in the US I must remember to put my penknife in my regular luggage or they will confiscate it from me. A small penknife can do little harm. I know the 9-11 hijackers used box cutters. But let us be reasonable here. They at one time banned small nail files? Have you ever tried to cut someone’s throat with a small fingernail file. No, I have not either. But let’s be reasonable here, or is that too much to ask?

One day I took a 40 minute flight to one of the nearby islands of Panama City. Yes, I should have known better but I had my penknife which was confiscated. I was given a receipt. When I arrived at the island, the penknife was returned. Remember I left the US, the nation which claims to be the “freest nation in the world” to move to Panama, a place many US people consider a third world nation. But do not kid yourself. Being here in Panama for slightly over 20 months, I have seen freedom that I NEVER experienced in the US.

Another incident which was reported two weeks ago was about a 14 year old student who was apparently a female child wonder in skeet shooting and was eligible to enter the Olympics. The authorities found in her car a box of shot gun shells which she forgot was there. She was charged and the incident became part of her permanent school record. This will, most likely, prevent her from competing in the Olympics. What a tragedy. Again “zero tolerance” was given for the harsh punishment. Are we all going nuts?

The US is becoming a nation of “you can’t do this and you can’t do that.” There are so many innocuous things we cannot do. But we can kill a trimester baby.

Take another senseless thing. In my state of Maryland it is against the law for parents to give their children under 21 an alcoholic beverage, such as beer or wine, for dinner – a supervised family event. The parents have no rights. Such rights are usurped by the state who can’t even balance their budget.

Here in Panama, if you go out to dinner with your underage children, allowing them to drink a glass of wine appears to bother no one. My friends, where would you rather be: the US or the free nation of Panama?

All of this foolishness simply boils down to the lack of common sense. I have given up on the good ole USA. Let others try to change the world. Let me live in peace with freedom.

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic

p.s.: There have been several books written on the subject of the lack of common sense in the US. Google, buy, and read them.



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