Sunday, May 04, 2008

Following procedures

The Dalai Lama, in his book, Understanding Ourselves as We Really Are, advises us against anger, but it was hard  not to be angry about a story I heard on NPR’s weekend edition, yesterday morning.  Host Scott Simon related a Kafkaesque tale of a University of Michigan Professor of Ancient Archaeology who took his son to a Detroit Tigers baseball game.  Going to a concession stand, he ordered a bottle of lemonade and was given’hard lemonade’ a term which which he was not familiar. Information about the lemonade’s alcohol content only appeared in miniscule letters on the label.  

When a security guard saw the man’s son drinking the lemonade,  he took custody of him, rushed him to a hospital emergency room and then had the child placed in protective custody.  The father was incarcerated.  After three days,  the child was returned home, however the father, who was released from jail, had to stay in a hotel for two weeks and was not permitted to visit his children.  The authorities - security guard, police, judges, and social workers all said they were sorry for what was transpiring, but they had to “follow procedures.”  

Check out the audio clip of Simon's radio essay,, also the subject of an article in the Detroit News, at

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