Many readers may not remember the famous intro to the television show Dragnet. Two detectives knock on a door in attempt to discover the truth. In order to break the case, they question the unsuspecting friend or witness. Such is the stuff of what I will share with you today.
The weather had been beautiful. It was the perfect night to be out and the evening found me in a lovely part of town cruising Whole Foods. (A very therapeutic event for me, if I dare say.) While exiting the idyllic neighborhood, I suddenly noticed that the gas station I was pulling into was out of gas. That was bizarre, I thought to myself. Things like that don’t happen in this part of town.
Multiple gas stations and 40 minutes later, I finally found fuel at the opposite end of the city. Naturally I topped off. Little did I know, what transpired that night was just the beginning of what was to become a stampede to the gas pumps. Within 24 hours three-fourths of the stations in my town would run dry. And the situation was to last about four days. People flocked to fill up their tanks, and as they say in the South, “Their ugly came out.” Reporters throughout the city were on the scene commenting on how selfish people had become and were stunned by the behaviors they encountered while filming their stories.
An article emerged from CNN online during this time that noted the panic and reported that people were waiting in line for up to an hour to fill their tanks. Drivers were even following gas trucks that entered the city to see where they were headed. Some gas station lines were a mile long.
Interestingly, CNN did some due diligence and determined that fuel had continued to flow into the city during this time, barges were coming in, and pipelines were working. However, when a million cars decide they suddenly need gas in a 24-hour period, the schedules for delivery to replenish aren’t prepared for the instant change.
The moral of the story might be this: Some one, some where, said some thing that kicked off an assumption. The rumor was not correct and no one appeared to be interested in searching for the facts. The initial thought of the populace was to take care of themselves first by trusting their “source” without question. Due to this reaction, in a matter of hours, an entire city was crippled. If you ask me, there is something we need to learn from this event.
When we are the recipient of information, what type of research do we honestly do before acting upon it? Do we earnestly try to first locate the source, then dig for the truth? I would venture to admit, we do not.
Sadly, as we are also seeing in this election cycle, we are too quick to take our news first hand, without truly getting to the truth before we make a decision or act. May we strive to be better citizens in this respect. Should we do so, I suspect our lives would reap the benefits of a much more “thoughtful” world.
Just my thoughts.