Saturday, April 4, 2015

First Impressions Sometimes Shouldn't Get A Second Thought

People often seem wary about those who rely on first impressions, especially negative ones, but when someone presents himself or herself in a certain manner (as in a less than desirable one) at certain times, especially at significant events, then why shouldn't we rely on first impressions to sway us in how we view the person making the less than desirable impression. Sure, we can be forgiving sometimes and make allowances that give those types of people a second chance by making us reconsider our first impressions of them and maybe even cause us to look at them more favorably based upon our second thoughts.

Yet, we need to be very careful in doing so if there truly was good enough reason on which to base unfavorable first impressions of them. All too often it is found that first impressions were correct and the only reason we relented from holding them was because the person in question came back to us acting as if he or she was a little angel, ass kissing, cheating and deceiving their way into our good favor. (Or having a spokesperson doing it on their behalf with added begging and cajoling because of whatever good relationship exists between them and because they are trying to reap whatever benefit you or I can bestow.)

I think an example, maybe the perfect example of just such a thing - wherein first impressions should never have been given a second thought - is to be found in the case of Anthony Stokes who just under two years ago received a heart transplant. At first, doctors and whoever else was responsible for placing someone on a transplant waiting list denied the teen that privilege. They seemingly did so based upon their first impressions of him and those were reportedly based, at least in part, upon his "troubled past" (source) and the belief he would not comply with medical requirements made of him related to the transplant. Well, based on what I have read, I am guessing the teens mother seemingly pleaded for him, religious and or social groups got involved on his behalf, the news media bent over backwards and everyone seemingly ignored his so called trouble past. Anyway, that is how this quote makes it appear to me:

"Anthony's mother, Melencia Hamilton, told CNN affiliate WGCL-TV that doctors said Anthony would live only three to six months if he didn't get the heart transplant.

In the meantime, the story became public in local media. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Georgia chapter got involved because Anthony's family called, and the organization has "a longtime relationship with the child," said the Rev. Samuel Mosteller, the chapter's president," (source). 

So, somehow, after not too long, mommy's little angel, deserved or undeserved, got another chance. The medical authorities soon relented and put him on the list. The result - he got a heart (and I must sadly add that I think someone more deserving could have gotten). About a month after the transplant he reportedly told a reporter that the transplant would help him stay out of trouble! Wow, it seems someone may have remembered his troubled past after all even if it was only himself - but as you will see it apparently didn't help.

Yes, it does seem to me as if the media was doting over him too. He also reportedly said this to the reporter: "So I can live a second chance. Get a second chance and do things I want to do," Did you notice the important thing therein - the getting a second chance so he could do what he wanted to do, with no inclusion of so I can help others or so I can live a better life (but maybe he did say that and the media left it out) but then again, maybe therein was the first hint that the medical authorities' first impressions had been right.

He lived for about another two years and seven months. In that time, he reportedly was arrested this past January for possession of tools for the commission of a crime and criminal attempt (source).Then he died in a vehicle crash but not before the car he was driving, and that the police reportedly say he had carjacked, allegedly struck a pedestrian causing injuries that caused her to be hospitalized (source). The crash reportedly was the result of Stokes fleeing the police. The police have said they were chasing the Strokes who allegedly was driving the stolen vehicle and who was also a suspect in a home invasion during which he allegedly shot at an elderly woman (source). There is no reason at this point, of which I am aware, to doubt the police.

He is dead now and I wonder if the heart can be used to save another life or if he destroyed it as he seemingly did his own life. The car he was fleeing it was totaled, and I mean badly.
I also wonder (and I hope like hell that the doctors are wondering) - could they have used the heart, that at least I believe they wasted on him, in saving the life of someone who was worthy of his or her life being saved! Here is why I wonder that last part:
"Federal records show that 3,400 people were on waiting lists for heart transplants in 2012, but only 2,000 of these procedures were performed. While waiting for a heart transplant, 331 people died." 

Anthony Stokes did not die back then - he lived - even if merely a terribly wasted life of crime as it seems to me. Along the way, his getting a heart denied that very same heart to someone else: he turned to, or continued, a life of crime and evidently violent crime at that; he apparently regarded the lives of others as cheap (as evidenced by his allegedly shooting at an elderly woman and driving recklessly resulting in him injuring another); and he clearly was - at lest to me - unworthy of the second chance that had been given to him. 

Was just his life was wasted? In fact, it wasn't a single wasted life, I think it was at least two lives wasted, and others almost wasted by him. It appears to me to be at least two lives wasted all because he was given a second chance - his life and the other one that was lost due to some deserving soul not getting the heart that Stokes received and dying while waiting for a heart. Sometimes, we need to face the hard cold fact that some lives are not worth saving. When we have a very unfavorable first impression of someone, something so strong as to make us feel his or life is not worth saving, maybe we are right and those first impressions sometimes shouldn't get a second thought.

All the best,
Glenn B

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