This is my column in today’s Greenville News.  I hope you enjoy it.

A few forgotten truths, culled from the ER

Call me bitter, angry, burnt-out or cynical.  Call me cruel and judgmental.  Call me whatever you need to call me. But don’t call me a liar.  I work in an emergency room, where the worst of culture is put under a kind of societal microscope and seen all the more clearly.  And what I see, friends, is not promising.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that many in our culture have never learned that anything was right or wrong.  The fault lies with generations of families who abandoned the idea of teaching their children.  It lies with the church for becoming weak-in-the-knees and apologetic.  And it lies with government for believing it could engineer a better world with money and handouts.

So, we will have to start speaking some hard truths now and then.  And since so many people have apparently never heard these truths, I’ll try to cover a few of the more important ones.

Everything I point out will be drawn directly from an experience I have had in the emergency department, so please understand I speak from the brutal, bloody, heart-rending perspective of real human suffering, terrible human cruelty and stunning human sloth.  So here goes:

It’s always wrong to attack infants and children.  It doesn’t matter if you were tired, if they were loud, if money was tight or someone was drunk.  It’s evil and leaves lifelong  physical and emotional scars.  Oh, and if you do it, you’ll go to prison.  Eventually, you’ll have to explain it to God.

Beating your wife, or husband for that matter, is always wrong.  It’s irrelevant that they ‘mouthed-off,’ that you lost your job, that they never let you get a word in, or don’t understand your issues.  Furthermore, you break their hearts when you break their bones.

Pain-pills are not vitamins or nutrition.  Pain pills are very addictive.  Most routine pains, like average ankle-sprains, bee-stings, sunburns and other such problems can be managed without…well, anything.  And lying to obtain pain pills, stealing pain pills, altering prescriptions or buying such pills on the street all constitute crimes.  (Who knew?)

Disability is not a high goal, not a way of life and (pay attention) not a profession.  Lots of people need it.  But lots of people don’t, and therefore lie to get it.  Some people don’t know why they’re on it, continue to collect it, and manage to deer hunt, ride four-wheelers, do heavy lifting for cash on the side, and still get around just fine.  Children, if your parents suggest disability as simply another career path, ignore them.  Go into medicine, law, engineering or heating and air.

Crushing someone else’s face is wrong.  Stabbing and shooting them is wrong.  No one cares how they looked at your girlfriend, what they said about the Tigers, how much money they owe you or, especially, how drunk any of you were.  Drunk is not a pass.  Assaults are a crime, and cause people to occasionally lose teeth, be blinded, need surgery or die.

Not every life issue requires medication.  Not every child has ADD/ADHD.  Some children just need to run around more than others.  Not every adult has it.  Some just need to sit down, try to focus and stop making excuses.  Drugs for ADD, by the way, are much abused on college campuses; and not because everyone is struggling to understand calculus.

Just because every teenager on television has a sex-life that Hugh Hefner would envy, doesn’t mean it’s good or healthy.  Sexually transmitted diseases are epidemic; pain and infertility in young women is a growing consequence.  HIV kills. Depression is also an STD.  In other words, hold your sweetheart’s hand, share a kiss, go dancing.  But leave it at that; unless you want to be a father or mother or catch a disease.       Leaving your wife or husband may seem cool, but you’ll end up poor as well as unhealthy and depressed.  And the children will never, hear this, never recover.  Work it out, unless the abuse thing is happening, as mentioned above.

Nothing is free but God’s grace.  Tough truth, I know.  But insurance isn’t free, disability isn’t free, even socialized care won’t be free.  Someone has to pay for everything, even if it isn’t you.

I know there are lots I haven’t covered.  But boy, if we learned just these few truths, the world would be better; for my children and yours.

And the ER would be positively boring.

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