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Monday, June 16, 1997


Rick Smith

Perception of reality
is what individual sees

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Truth is a favorite subject of mine. When I was younger I believed
everything was black and white, right or wrong. Now it seems to me that
truth is relative.

Recently a prosecutor convinced a jury that a defendant pulled the
trigger on a gun and killed a man. The next day the same prosecutor
convinced another jury that a different defendant killed the same man.
Both of those juries believed they knew the truth.

The dead man was killed by one bullet. There is no way that both of the
men accused of killing the man could have done the deed, unless they
held the gun together and both pulled the trigger, but I don't think
that's what happened.

It appears that a higher value was involved here. Apparently the
prosecutor felt that both defendants were bad men that needed to be
removed from the street by what ever means he could come up with, and he
may be right. At any rate, what the jurors perceived as truth became
reality. Unless one of the cases is overturned in appeals, both of those
men will really pay for the same crime.

Perception is reality, reality is perception has long been an
advertising maxim. If an advertiser can get the public to believe a
product is the most popular of its kind everyone will start purchasing
it and it will become the most popular. Perception is reality and
reality is perception.

What this comes down to is that if someone can get enough people to
believe something is true those people act as if the belief is true,
whether it is or not.

This is closely related to another evolution of the truth I have
observed. As with many mutations of thought this one starts out with a
little bit of reality. Everyone in this country is equal. Everyone in
this country is free to think whatever they want to think. Because we
are all equal, all our thoughts are equal, therefore, anything anyone
thinks is just as good as what anyone else thinks. And the final step in
this mutation is that whatever anyone thinks is OK to do is OK.

So, if an advertiser can convince you that a product is the best and you
believe it, that's your reality. If a prosecutor can convince two juries
that two different men committed the same crime, that's reality for the
juries because they believed it.

If a criminal believes his life of crime is justifiable because he was
abused as a child, that's his reality.

It's even hard to depend on scientists for the truth about our world. At
one time they taught that the Earth was flat and the solar system
revolved around it. That truth changed. Doctors once taught patients to
avoid cold drafts to avoid catching the common cold, now they say we get
a cold from viruses passed from one person to another.

Politics offers another example of the perception of reality. Even the
most honest and sincere of our politicians often see the same subject in
different lights. Upon listening to the different sides of an honest
political argument it is increasingly difficult to decide if one person
is right and the other wrong. Often when an issue is put to a vote by
the public the outcome is determined by which promoter is perceived as
the most trust worthy. The issue passes or fails and the outcome becomes
reality, based on perceptions.

The truth probably is black and white and unchangeable, but our ability
to perceive it is often flawed. All we can go by is what we perceive as
reality, so our perceptions become our reality.

Editor's Note: Rick Smith is an Enterprise writer and city editor whose column appears each Monday.


Code of conduct doesn't reflect work performance

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Sex and the Military Person! That could be the title for a book but
instead it's the buzz expression in today's headlines that is causing a
scandal in this country.

Are we being prudes? The French think so. We obviously cannot put up
with sexual harrassment in the military or anywhere else for that matter.

However, when you put young men and women together in a stressful, high
intensity work environment, some of what has happened will happen.

That seems to be a problem in schools and has been for a long time. But
the military is on trial for what is being called a scandal even though
there is no doubt that this has been going on for a long time and even
now, it is doubtful that we know the full extent of sexual escapades in
the military.

Women have long clamored for equal rights in the military and the right
to be on the front lines, and rightfully so, in our opinion. To do so
requires that they be trained along with the men.

It is obvious that men and women be trained and made to act like ladies
and gentlemen and respect their fellow fighting person regardless of
gender. Is that likely to happen? Probably not!

In the meantime, more caution needs to be used in making scapegoats of
men and women who are caught violating the so-called military code of
conduct. We understood the need for avoiding sexual encounters during
the cold war as the enemies often used these indiscretions for blackmail
to obtain military secrets.

However, the state of the world has changed and the cold ward is no
longer a consideration. Proper conduct is.

We believe that what happens between CONSENTING adults is their
business. It does not and should not reflect on their job performance as
employees of our government.

Good people are being caught up and ruined because of the misdeeds and
lack of decency by some. We'll not say a few because there is more than
a few involved.

Caution is needed in dealing with this delicate predicament. Those who
can't behave like civilized human beings need to be in jail. However,
let's be sure that lives aren't ruined because of the stilted beliefs of
a few who want to force their morals on everybody.

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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opyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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