What would you do?

Published 11:23 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What would I do?

It is the million dollar question. Who is to say what is right and wrong? We must set our standard of moral code by the model of choice. Who do you choose?

A few years ago the WWJD phase blew through our nation and many kids wore the acronym bracelets representing the question “What Would Jesus Do?” It is the decisive influence to aid us in our time of temptation. If I am standing at the door of right and wrong then my conduct must be as my God’s.

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Granted, this high standard has been compromised many times. One way we mortal beings get around the morality is to lower our standards, such as by instead thinking “What would our pastor do?” Or, “What would my mom or dad do?” If we really want to do something wrong then we lower our moral thermometer again with “What would Paris Hilton do?” (In the past I would have inserted Britney Spears but the girl is trying to get her moral standard fixed.)

But what if we know we are being watched, such as in a reality show, would our behavior be better because we know that others are watching and we will be judged? Ask Jason Mesnick.

What about all the surveillance cameras in our technically driven world? Does that help us behave if we know that our criminal behavior could be caught on camera? Smile you are on candid camera!

Not just Santa is watching, video phones are everywhere catching bad behavior. You had better be a decent human being. Remember the comedian who ranted racial slurs at members of his audience and the camera phone video was played across the media airways showing his lack of character. Oh you better watch out!

Shouldn’t we be a nicer people simply because know we could be recorded and played back for the world to see? Shouldn’t we be more helpful, vigilant and considerate of our fellow man and woman?

Apparently not. Each year another nanny gets caught misbehaving. By now, if I were babysitting, I would just assume that nanny cams are inserted all over the house. Paranoia goes along way, but I guess not all have succumbed to its power.

So, what would you do if you saw something wrong? Do you stand by while someone is abused, wronged, or even hurt? It’s a scary world and the odds are getting better and better that today you too may come to the crossroads of having to choose between good over evil.

Just recently, at my local Wal-Mart, on an average day running errands, I found myself with the paralyzing question of what do I do?

The first thing that popped in my head was where are the cameras? Is John Quionnes going to pop out? How does my hair look?

I had parked my overflowing buggy at the rear of my Ford Explorer and began unloading when I realize I heard a baby’s cry, no, more like screams. Next to me is a car without a driver but the engine was running. In the back seat was a screaming one year old boy fastened in a car seat. No one else.

My first response was to look around. I could not find a soul nearby, just me, crying baby and ethical decisions. Oh my.

I smile, talk to the baby and get him quiet. Now, I am mad. I am in the middle of the parking lot of a Wal-Mart — a place where scary things could happen.

Whether there is a camera crew lurking or not, I am not leaving this kid. What do I do? I call my husband and darn it but the man is working and not readily available to help me with my “what do I do moment.”

The funny thing is that I just saw this scenario on the Quionnes show where a baby was left in a vehicle. Granted in my situation, the weather is cool enough that the baby is not in immediate danger of dying from the heat.

The result of the show was you should call the police. As I pull out my phone again, the mother shows up with about five bags of groceries and, like a person trying to make a quick getaway, she jumps in her car as I am trying to talk to her.

I talk through the window pane, telling her how her baby was very upset and how it’s not a good idea to leave him alone — that bad things can happen. I get a brief thanks as she flies out of the parking spot and races away.

My gut feeling is that the poor little boy has a rough life ahead. Should I have kidnapped the child? No, the surveillance cameras would have filmed it and I would be the one on the five o’clock news with a bad hair day mug shot.

What would you do?

Did I do the right thing? Did thinking I was on a news show help me do right?

The truth is I always feel I am being watched anyway. I have believed since I was young enough to understand about God that an omnipresent being is always watching.

As a kid I remember reading the small track given out by religious organizations titled “This is your life,” which showed a man in front of God and the movie of his life was being played on a big screen. Very revealing.

So, Quionnes may not be God, but he has the power to show the world what I would do. Now that is both scary and motivating!

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at myhometowncolumn.com