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Lesson #7: Common Sense is not so common.

If only I had a dollar for every time I, or my colleagues, asked “why are we doing it this way?” or “What is the purpose of this action, other than compromising security?”  I assure you, there would be no need for me to ever work another day in my life. For nearly 23 years of life, before I enlisted, every time I heard someone say that “Military Intelligence” was an oxymoron, I never really got it.

It wasn’t until I reached my first duty station and started participating in active duty functions that it started to make sense, and by that point, it was not funny.  There were instances when it became so frustrating that the right words to describe it, didn’t exist. The absolute worst part, there was absolutely nothing that we could do to change it.  There were plenty of things we could do about it, but none of which would result in anything less than bigger problems for myself or my unit.

Eventually, the joke evolved that, on top of everything else we were issued in order to perform our duties, a yellow flag should be included.  It would be mandatory equipment for any and all security and police posts. This way, anytime someone said or did something that made sense but was not apart of our protocols, the yellow flag could be thrown, and the individual making sense could reflect upon Lesson #2 (Learn when to shut the hell up).

Most of the time, when you encounter situations like these, especially in the military, there is a good chance that just about everyone that it directly effects is aware of how stupid said protocol is.  We all get it. Having eight pockets on your military pants and getting yelled at for putting your hands in any of them is stupid. Getting a ticket for walking down the street on base with your headphones in and not even being a member of the military is stupid.  Yes, I have seen both of these, and then some.

Common sense has definitely fallen by the waste-side the past few decades and it is a tragedy.  Whether you are a member of the military, or just a regular person driving to the supermarket and are losing your mind because no one is using their blinker and half are simultaneously texting on their cell phone while swerving between three lanes, common sense has definitely taken several hits.  It is not too late though. This is an epidemic that can be salvaged. All it takes is a little more attention, and a little more presence in the moment. Don’t be that guy, have a little more consideration for the rest of humanity.

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