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'Smart Guy' Weighs In On Common Sense


I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for Backtalk. That's where we hear from you. And editor Ammad Omar is with us once again. What do you have today, Ammad?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hey, Michel. You talked a little bit on Tuesday about rules, if you can just remind us about that.

MARTIN: Well, you know, so I have these occasional essays. And this time, I was struck by the fact that in this city, in D.C., in the local paper last week there were two stories on the same page. One was about the fact that these three D.C. police officers figured out how to save the snowy owl and rushed him to the National Zoo to get - to be treated. And yet, at the same time, this elderly man collapsed on the street and got no treatment. Or the fact that bystanders ran across the street to a firehouse and asked for help, and he didn't - and they didn't help him. And I thought, well, why would this be? And I said, well, is it because maybe the rules are stupid.

OMAR: Right. And so we got a lot of letters about that. We got this one from Robert Davis in Arlington, Virginia. He says, your closing words about the D.C. police and the owl versus the firemen and the fatality brought tears to my eyes. Like, every time you do this, you espouse what should just be common sense to all of us. But what at the same time has taken your brilliance to cut through the fog of complexity and complacency. Thanks, Michel. Like most jerks, I think I'm the smartest guy in the world. It really does feel good to get enlightened.

MARTIN: Well, you're very kind Robert and others who wrote in. And I appreciate it. Well, thank you, Ammad.

OMAR: Thank you.

MARTIN: And remember, at TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. You can leave us a comment on our website NPR.org/tellmemore. Check us out on Facebook or tweet us. Our handle is @TellMeMoreNPR, or you can send us an e-mail TellMeMore@npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.