January 26, 2023

One of These Things

By Glenn

As a child, and as a parent, I’ve watched enough Sesame Street to have its images and songs drilled into my head.  One of the most useful is the categorization song: “one of these things is not like the other.”  It prompts a child to do a quick compare and contrast.

Comparing and contrasting is essential to every aspect of adult life.  My dad had a particular mechanical skill.  He could listen to engines and do a quick compare and contrast. He knew which engines sounded normal and knew which sounds indicated a problem.

As adults we want all of our skilled experts to be good at determining which “one of these things is not like the other.” We pay doctors to do it.  We pay cooks to do it.  We pay hair stylists to do it. We pay our pilots to do it.

Imagine if you went to a dentist and every solution was to pull teeth.  Are my teeth dirty?  Pull them.  Do I have a cavity? Pull it.  Would you trust such a dentist?  Or, would you trust a person who could properly identify a problem and develop a competent solution?

Based on court documents, we know that Donald Trump intentionally took classified and top secret documents from the White House.  When American voters fired him and evicted him from the White House, the National Archives told him what property to leave behind.

Donald didn’t follow the law.  After Donald moved to Mar-a-Lago, the National Archives noticed the items were missing and asked for their return.  In sworn statements to a Federal Court, Donald promised that he did not have the items. 

Someone at Mar-a-Lago knew the truth and reported the crime.  A Federal judge then gave the FBI a search warrant to investigate a crime.  The search produced 40 boxes of stolen documents.

Now, imagine if you rented a hotel room for the night.  When you left, you not only took a bath towel, but you also took the sheets, the clock and the television.  Would these items legally belong to you?

Imagine, you then get a call from the hotel.  The hotel tells you which items went missing from the room and asks for the return of the items.  After you deny procession of the items, the police find them in your home.

On the other hand, what if you returned home from a trip and noticed a hotel towel in your bag?  You think back, remembering throwing the towel into your dirty cloths’ pile.  You decide to call the hotel, tell them about the mistake and return the item.

Are these two hotel stories the same?  Are they different?  Would the hotel and the police treat these scenarios the same? I bet you can tell that “one of these things is not like the other.”  It really doesn’t take an expert.  If a child can, I’ll bet an adult can.

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