I am not sure the world is thinking straight - or certain parts of it anyway.
In the news this last week, along with the usual reports of wars, terrorist attacks and their associated killings, we had various commentaries on the state of the world economies about which there does not seem to be a consensus, a few reminders that we are running out of water and arable land, plus the fears that we are in danger of Ebola eventually getting out of hand and becoming a global epidemic, or indeed that the next terrorist attacks on the west will be in the form of deadly viruses. And one day that could well happen!
That said my regular readers, a few of whom still seem to think I am anti-American anyway, will hopefully forgive me if I am scratching my head over two other news headlines this week - both from the USA. One concerning the 9 year old girl who fatally shot her gun instructor, and then there were the headlines that read "Soccer Moms Sue FIFA For Not Doing Enough on Concussions". Presumably if you were supposed to head the ball it would be called headball.
What has happened to good old-fashioned common sense for heavens sake? I did a Blog about Common Sense almost exactly six years ago, and linked it to an "obituary"; it might just be worth a re-read if you click the link.
"I don't know" - as Teresa Norton used to say when she had her great column in the South China Morning Post, "maybe I'm nuts" ... but what is a 9 year old girl doing with a lethal weapon in her hand anyway? Shouldn't she be out playing soccer or something - oh no, can't do that either because she might get concussed or something.
But really, that poor little girl is probably going to be traumatised for the rest of her life - and what, for heavens sake, were her parents thinking? "Here you are dear - it's legal to do this in Arizona because you're over the age of 8, and we are with you so we can take a movie of you to send to your grandparents - and might show any boyfriends you meet later on who we want to put off". The gun laws in the USA are surely an abomination. You have, and will defend to the death (literally it seems) the right to bear arms and no one it seems is allowed to take that right away. Despite the fact that you are now apparently grown up and civilised? You had the right at one time to keep slaves - but you changed that one, eventually!! And just to be totally controversial, this dreadful group now rampaging around Iraq and Syria together with the Taliban want to "return to the old days" - but you want them to behave like civilised human beings in the 21st century. There has to be a certain irony in all of that.
Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions, I know, but isn't someone sensible going to stand up and say this stupidity must stop? I see that the opinion now is that "the instructor" (deceased) is being branded as criminally negligent. I can understand that as a ruling. But don't the parents have a part in this? The existing laws don't have a part in this? I'm sorry but it's all wrong.
And then at the other end of the spectrum we have "soccer moms" suing the international governing body of football, together with anyone else they can join in to their actions, because there is a chance that if someone playing football puts their head to the ball, they might get concussion, and there are insufficient guidelines in place to deal with someone who is concussed. What happens next - notices on footballs in big white letters warning against the dangers of heading the ball?
To try and bring some semblance of balance to this, in fairness there has been comment in the press in Britain recently about the dangers of playing rugby, and I have to admit that the nature of that particular sport has changed immeasurably since my own playing days. Bigger, faster, fitter, bulkier human-beings (mostly) than in my day, but you probably receive more damage from an opposing player trying to cause you grievous bodily harm than you do from the ball itself - and so I am sure it is with soccer. It's a part of the game and, yes of course I am aware, people do get hurt. They also get hurt crossing the road, or slipping on ice, or having someone drive into the back of their vehicle. Or being stung by a bee.
Is it just me missing something here, or have certain elements of our society gone off the rails - and if so, how on earth do we get them back on track again?