Intelligence = Common Sense?

see arial, sickness sans-serif;”>By Leo G. Alvarez

Intelligence is no guarantee of common Sense. Repeat after me, “Intelligence is no guarantee of Common Sense”.

Keep that I mind the next time you vote for a candidate, consider the appointment of someone to a Commission or Committee, high level position, or judgeship, or even consider that in yourself.
In 2014 California voters by a 59.6% to 40.3% vote passed Proposition 47 which re-classified certain non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. It also provided for the early release of some prison inmates serving time for those re-classified crimes. There was a “carrot” added, that money “saved” by the realignment of these laws would fund a newly created “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund”.

Short sided thinkers failed to consider why these prisoners were in prison, other than the fact that they had been sentenced for committing crimes some considered as non-violent. This is where emotions overrode common sense.

Forget the term “…all men are created equal…”. They are not.

Some of us are born to loving and caring parents, regardless of the family’s then financial situation. All families evolve because the core of the family and its values and philosophies evolve over time because of circumstances and events, and through example and word those values and philosophies are passed on to the children. Because each one of us is a unique individual we receive and interpret those values and philosophies slightly or dramatically differently. But that aside, it is the entire family that forms part of the individual’s personality until (s)he begins to interact with children and adults outside the core family.

It is because of this sub-set of personality that we choose the path we will follow, a path with numerous forks, loops, and switchbacks. In other words, we can, and do, take forks in this life trail that brings us to where we are today. Keep this in mind.

What Proposition 47 advocates did not consider is the personality of the criminals behind bars, particularly the Three Strikers, who were there not just because of the “minor” and “non-violent” crime they were sentenced for but because of the life choices they had made. Many of these criminals are intelligent, and they truly believed that they could “get away with it” when they committed a crime, any crime. But they lacked the common sense that tells you and I that we might elude being caught once or even twice, but that the odds are that we will eventually get caught.

It did not take long before these early released criminals were back to doing what they knew “best”, and crime spiked in communities across the State of California. And it didn’t take long for neighborhoods to sense it and then feel it, as did law enforcement, the judges, and some politicians. What no one had considered is the recidivism rate and the simple admonition that “…a leopard cannot change its spots”. This is a simple matter of common sense.

So, what is in today’s news? From the Associated Press, “Federal inmates with long rap sheets going free”. “Federal officials say roughly 40,000inmates could be eligible for reduced sentences in coming years.”

Intelligence is no guarantee of Common Sense. Nor is experience.

Leo Alvarez is President and co-founder of the National Association Against Child Cruelty, President of the Children’s Wall of Tears™ and retired from law enforcement after 33 years

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