The insanity of expecting perfection
By Dan Klein
When will we end our national insanity and admit that human beings are anything but perfect? When will we get back to realizing that people make mistakes and that bad things happen every single day? When will we regain our sanity and become a nation that understands and accepts imperfections and forgives honest mistakes?
I hope it's soon, because right now we really are headed toward national insanity, anarchy and destruction. The way we're going we'll soon be lynching garbage men when they fail to pick up our trash one week.
Police in America kill approximately one thousand people per year (Washington Post). The number of these deaths that fall into the accidental category are minuscule (around 1%).
The Journal of General Internal Medicine puts the number of preventable, inpatient deaths in American hospitals at approximately 22,000 per year. Of these, 7,150 are people who die every year from hospital errors. The remainder were preventable, but were of patients who were only expected to live three months. Let me repeat, these are preventable deaths of people who have trusted their care to nurses and doctors and who died because of errors made by those doctors and nurses.
Should we incarcerate every person, in a position of authority, when they accidentally do something that causes injury or death? Do we allow the mob to storm hospitals with pitchforks and take doctors and nurses to be burnt at the stake for errors that they make? Is there a difference between a police officer who accidentally uses her pistol (when she clearly meant to use her Taser) and a doctor who amputates the wrong leg? Or a nurse who causes death by accidentally giving the wrong medication?
If America is going to demand infallibility from police officers, then we must go all the way and demand the same from doctors, nurses, firefighters, EMTs etc. Anyone who is given the power of life and death and makes an honest mistake, should be dragged out of their homes by the mob and burnt at the stake. In America we have no room for compassion anymore. In America, the mob only wants to fulfill a blood debt. In America we have lost our humanity.
It’s already happening in law enforcement; police officers are quitting and the ability to recruit new officers has stagnated. Why would anyone want to be a cop in today’s America? Why would a man or woman risk destroying their family and their livelihood when one honest mistake will ruin it all? And if we are all equal under the law, doctors, nurses and EMT’s will be next.
In America there is no reason to consider the “heat of the moment, split second decision” that goes very wrong. A doctor accidentally amputates the leg of a diabetic only to discover later he took the wrong leg and now will make the patient a paraplegic. A nurse, working double shifts, accidentally gives the medicine meant for a heart patient to someone else, causing that person’s death. An EMT's actions at an accident scene, where chaos is happening, performs the wrong emergency procedure and kills the person they are trying to save. This happens over 7,000 times a year. If we are going to hold police officers to this standard then we must hold everyone else to it as well. Make room for 7,000 more inmates in our prisons, because human mistakes will now cost you your freedom.
If our correctional system is there to rehabilitate, how this will incarcerating these people help when they never intended to do harm? How do you rehabilitate someone who made an honest mistake?
America has lost it’s ability to govern. Maybe we never had that ability to begin with. Today, when the mob comes for you, there will be plenty of politicians, district attorneys, media pundits who will gleefully egg them on and do their bidding. They will do the mob's bidding because they are despicable cowards.
America has lost it’s soul and its sanity.