PoliceLink Feedback & Feature Requests >> From the Desk of TheSarge >> Organic Common Sense vs. Professional Common Sense

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Organic Common Sense vs. Professional Common Sense

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7-29-10


So, I am driving along a back country road and I am thinkin'. Thinking about this thing called Common Sense that we often talk about around here.


Then, this thought popped up: Organic Common Sense versus Professional Common Sense.


I've had problems trying to figure out why there is such a disparity of modern day perception of Common Sense. Organic verus Professional seemed to answer a few questions.


(I am making this stuff up as I go along so lend a hand here...)


First, organic common sense. This is the common sense that most people can attest to. For example, put your hand on a hot burner on the stove and you get burned. You only have to learn that lesson once.  Cloudy water from the faucet is not good to drink. Texting and driving is dangerous. Looking at the sun without eye protection is bad. Recycling is a pretty good thing. Chewing rocks is bad for your teeth. Don't click on pop-ups on your computer unless you know exactly with the pop-up is all about.


Then you have professional common sense: "Pieing' a corner is a safe way to get around the corner. Guns are always loaded. Drugs and law enforcement don't mix. Wearing a vest at work is sensible. Taking off in foot pursuit alone is not good. Driving 'code' above your skill level might turn out bad. Always having a Plan B is smart. Suspects are suppose to lie. Everything is subject to change. Cops hate change. Cops hate change in their pockets when they are putting on the 'sneak'. Regarding a scam, 'if it seems too good to be true....blah blah." Walking up to a cop to ask directions to Wal-Mart while he has 'one at gunpoint' is not a good idea at that moment.


See where I am going with this? I have split the world into two main parts. Common sense from a cop's point of view and all others. Organic (most everyone) and Professional (real deal LEO's)


The problem here is when you've been a cop/deputy long enough, you think that everyone should know what YOU know, i.e. your Professional Common Sense.


Comments?


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I enjoy it when you think out loud! LOL you nailed it i would say but you left out the ones who dont have the sense god gave a head of lettuce!


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I'm a big preacher of common sense.  Unfortunately, there are too many dumb butts out there that look into the sun 7 times before they figure it out, then with lesson learned, they have to relearn it when drunk 9 more times, and then they start popping pills...  That's the odd part of our job.  People with common sense keep taking altering substances to shed the burdon of lessons learned.  A bank manager will drink and drive, a politician will get caught with coke and hookers...


  I always thought that I could hold everyone to the same standards of common sense that I hold myself.  That lasted about a week on the job.


What was just posted was probably a poor attempt at humor, wit, or sarcasm. It;s called breakin balls, get used to it.

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You are so correct.  When I was training a young detective, I would fing myself assuming he already knew how to do some tasks.  It was only after observing him/her, that I realized they have never done it before, I just figured they knew the job.  Even teaching in the academy, I had to be careful to keep the lecture very basic.  An experienced officer does tend to talk over the new officers head.  This is something a veteran officer needs to watch very closely and make sure you start with the basics.  Never assume they already know how to do something, even when it involved a very simple task. 


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Luke_Rekked says ...



 


  I always thought that I could hold everyone to the same standards of common sense that I hold myself.  That lasted about a week on the job.



A whole week, Luke?


One of the first things I try to gauge from those that I train, is their level of organic (nice word sarge) common sense. Without that, it's impossible to teach the other.


 


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BUMP to that Sarge!  How often we forget that what we're trained for, many other people are not.  We-me security, not LEO.  Not trained to the same observational standard, but some of the same applies.

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I never thought about like that Sarge. I always thought that the 2 were one and the same. Thanks for the clarification !!!! I guess "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR D--- MIND !!!!????" Goes along with the difference !!!!


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gerpet1964 says ...



I enjoy it when you think out loud! LOL you nailed it i would say but you left out the ones who dont have the sense god gave a head of lettuce!



Even organic common sense, as you put it, is not always common.  I know people who don't have the sense to come in out of the rain, and climb the highest object around to see the pretty lightning flashes, and being from KS, am not quite sure how to classify 'storm chasers'.

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I really wanted to make a 5 page response but I think I am going to defer on this one. With one caveat. Common sense is not learned IMO. You either have it or you don't. Thats why some applicants/recruits do not make it. Some are book smart but just can't perform the simplest tasks in the real world. Just like civilians whose common sense is so lacking that I was asked this week what time the Food Lion closes while I am standing in the middle of an intersection directing traffic during a rainstorm  because the stoplights are out.  Professional Common Sense grows out of Organic Common Sense. You cannot have the second without having the first.


""Life is a storm.. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes"
Alexander Dumas-The Count of Monte Christo

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Common sense would tell you not to fake your own death to a bunch of cops, but people do.  I think common sense, like the ever wise SGT405 says, cannot be learned.  You can learn lessons, but like I've always said, you can change what you do, but not who you are.  A liar will always lie, a cheater will always cheat, those with common sense will learn when to lie, and a cheater may learn to avoid the situations of temptation. 


What was just posted was probably a poor attempt at humor, wit, or sarcasm. It;s called breakin balls, get used to it.

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That's kinda why I hate asking a question to anyone Non LEO about, for example, My phone. I always have to preceed my question with "I'm not stupid, or 11. I just need to know one thing. I don't need a whole life lesson on the phone. My question is...."

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there isnt such a thing as common sense. that is common sense.

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rickm says ...



there isnt such a thing as common sense. that is common sense.



Is that like the first step of being smart is realizing you're not?


What was just posted was probably a poor attempt at humor, wit, or sarcasm. It;s called breakin balls, get used to it.

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In today's PC correct world common sense is overrated and unnecessary.  Its probably some sort of disorder that you can see a doc and get meds for.


I like the organic vs professional common sense.


You have the rest of your life to solve the problem, how long your life lasts depends on how well you do it. -Clint Smith

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I like the organic vs professional break down. I will agree that if you don't have organic common sense than this is not the job for you. You can't gain professional common sense without the building block of organic common sense. You either have or you don't. I will also agree that with time on the job you expect everyone to know what we know, which is impossible for most non-LEOs. They don't see what we see or deal with what we deal with. I have a niece that will soon be old enough to drive and she laughs when I say "nothing good happens after 10 pm for kids your age." If she only saw some of the things I have seen...well I'm going to stop right there before I really get started.


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Strange that I haven't seen it explained like this before... it just makes sense.


This is typically a discussion I have with trainees when they meet me.  We talk about having and needing common sense as LEOs, but rarely do I ever see/hear a discussion on AQUIRING common sense.


but AZmeangreen, that's just sumptin yer born with...


Negatron PLovian.  Common sense can come to some of us exception people naturally, but for many it is a learned skill.  TheSarge is right that there is a difference between "organic" common sense and "professional" common sense.  I separate common sense into these two schools: natural (aka: organic or "born with") common sense and learned common sense.  Not everyone is born with enough natural common sense to live past age 5.  Thankfully most people come equipped with parents who attempt to keep you alive.  They teach you things, these things can become habitual and fall under the category of learned common sense.


Example of Learned Common Sense:  Cold beer will not cure dehydration.  (Funny story about an idiot neighbor... I'll have to tell it sometime)


Example of Natural Common Sense:  Too much cold is bad, find warmth. 


The problem is that many people do not bother to use their inheirent natural common sense to expand upon their learned common sense.  Example: Sun burns skin (natural CS), I need to use sunscreen (learned CS).  This is using your natural CS to improve your learned CS.  This is something that we should be constantly doing, but many don't.  Why?  Complancency, the LEO killer. 


I run into this problem with my people constantly.  They have a situation and handle it poorly.  I review the situation with them and involve them in a problem solving scenario based on the situation.  They run it through and typically end with, "I never thought of it that way."


I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT... is the problem.  Be constantly reviewing EVERYTHING you do, if you wish to improve yourself.  This will build your learned common sense into the kind of 6th sense LEOs commonly refer to as "gut instinct."


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Casscocop says ...



gerpet1964 says ...



I enjoy it when you think out loud! LOL you nailed it i would say but you left out the ones who dont have the sense god gave a head of lettuce!



Even organic common sense, as you put it, is not always common.  I know people who don't have the sense to come in out of the rain, and climb the highest object around to see the pretty lightning flashes, and being from KS, am not quite sure how to classify 'storm chasers'.


++++++++++++

Well shoot Cass, we ALL know people like that. Fringey people who change out bearings in transmissions in their living room. Ya know, that kind.


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TheSarge says ...



Casscocop says ...



gerpet1964 says ...



I enjoy it when you think out loud! LOL you nailed it i would say but you left out the ones who dont have the sense god gave a head of lettuce!



Even organic common sense, as you put it, is not always common.  I know people who don't have the sense to come in out of the rain, and climb the highest object around to see the pretty lightning flashes, and being from KS, am not quite sure how to classify 'storm chasers'.


++++++++++++

Well shoot Cass, we ALL know people like that. Fringey people who change out bearings in transmissions in their living room. Ya know, that kind.



Whats wrong with that?

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Casscocop says ...



gerpet1964 says ...



I enjoy it when you think out loud! LOL you nailed it i would say but you left out the ones who dont have the sense god gave a head of lettuce!



Even organic common sense, as you put it, is not always common.  I know people who don't have the sense to come in out of the rain, and climb the highest object around to see the pretty lightning flashes, and being from KS, am not quite sure how to classify 'storm chasers'.



I'd classify them as not having much common sense.  Being a Skywarn Spotter (trained by NWS and always in contact with them over the radio) chasers just piss me off.  They put themselves in danger unneccessarily and most of the time they think they're performing a public service.  Common sense, as my friends, parents, and I say, ain't so common no more. 

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OK. I gave this some thought and have decided that thinking about what is "organic common sense" and what is "professional common sense" gives me a headache. It boils down to this...some people have it - others don't. For example, we learn that the dog will bite when we pull its tail. Common sense tells us that it will bite us each time we do it. However, some of us continue to pull the tail "just to see if the dog bites me again". That shows a lack of common sense. We come across examples like this organically and even professionally.


 


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jlu492 says ...



Luke_Rekked says ...



 


  I always thought that I could hold everyone to the same standards of common sense that I hold myself.  That lasted about a week on the job.



A whole week, Luke?


One of the first things I try to gauge from those that I train, is their level of organic (nice word sarge) common sense. Without that, it's impossible to teach the other.


 



Without a doubt, IMO, one cannot have professional or even normal common sense without the stability and fortitude of organic common sense.  Sometimes they may take a fork in the middle, that is where the facepalm comes in.  But, the two are intertwined.


 


......and one would be remiss without the other.

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BSL1123 says ...



That's kinda why I hate asking a question to anyone Non LEO about, for example, My phone. I always have to preceed my question with "I'm not stupid, or 11. I just need to know one thing. I don't need a whole life lesson on the phone. My question is...."



Sounds like you have run into what  forces you stereotype NON LEO's as being kinda mouthy, some are, but, many many are not.  Hope you have better luck with those of us who describe the situation as succinctly and detailed as we can before losing the recepient's attention span, which is very short.  That is why I may lead into soft topics, but, by the time the first 5 seconds has rolled by, the significance of why my conference was called is clear.  Does your Doctor, your Dentist, Clergyman have hours to chew the sh*&?  Nope, unless he/she is just bored and wants to play head games with ya........don't let em, just drive them to the essence of your question.......NON LEOs  as well as LEOs..........all people that is.........can be really stupid, but, the ones that strive to make it in a complicated world don't have the time to shoot the sh*( with you, or anyone else.  Unless it is a party, than everyone leave their egos in the coat closet.


 


If I have to talk to any person for more than 15 minutes in clinic, they are charged for it, unless the situation calls for it, so, I don't fear LEOs coming in and talking, they don't want to pay the extra, just like any non LEO does either.

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Az is so right as usual, but,


Example of Natural Common Sense:  Too much cold is bad, find warmth. 


 


 


Me:  This is a simple biological survival mechanism.........not much common sense to it, it is a basic instinct to survive......Biology is simply a huge topic to move away from irritablity and maintain life.


Good post AZ!

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I agree with most of the original post. Just want to point out some thoughts:


While most people exhibit Natural Common Sense, not everyone out there does... There are many that will never learn they'll get burned by that hot burner.


In the other hand, I believe there is a threshold, a barrier -if you wish- when it comes to Professional Common Sense. That "barrier" is crossed when a LEO start realizing that not everyone knows what he knows.


The time required to cross that "barrier" or "threshold" is not the same for everyone... Some may reach it very quickly, some may need a long time to do so...

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Texas2step says ...



Az is so right as usual, but,


Example of Natural Common Sense:  Too much cold is bad, find warmth. 


 


 


Me:  This is a simple biological survival mechanism.........not much common sense to it, it is a basic instinct to survive......Biology is simply a huge topic to move away from irritablity and maintain life.


Good post AZ!



Natural or Orgainic common sense is what I call our biological survival mechanism, it doesn't have to be learned... it is simply innate.


What I am saying is that we can use the building blocks of our biological survival mechanism to improve upon our learned/professional common sense (i.e. Guns shoot bullets, take cover).  Why does one person stand and shoot when another moves to cover then shoots?  The first person may not be building upon their natural survival instinct and developing a hightened professional/learned common sense tool.  The second, through training and/or experience, knows better and falls back on the learned skill.  The formula for common sense is the same whether innate or learned.  Problem + Solution = common sense trait.


The continuing problem is that some do not bother to retain the solution portion and lack the common sense tool to handle any given situation.


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BrooklynHillsCop says ...



 


I agree with most of the original post. Just want to point out some thoughts:


While most people exhibit Natural Common Sense, not everyone out there does... There are many that will never learn they'll get burned by that hot burner.


In the other hand, I believe there is a threshold, a barrier -if you wish- when it comes to Professional Common Sense. That "barrier" is crossed when a LEO start realizing that not everyone knows what he knows.


The time required to cross that "barrier" or "threshold" is not the same for everyone... Some may reach it very quickly, some may need a long time to do so...



Excellent observation.


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AZmeangreen says ...



Texas2step says ...



Az is so right as usual, but,


Example of Natural Common Sense:  Too much cold is bad, find warmth. 


 


 


Me:  This is a simple biological survival mechanism.........not much common sense to it, it is a basic instinct to survive......Biology is simply a huge topic to move away from irritablity and maintain life.


Good post AZ!



Natural or Orgainic common sense is what I call our biological survival mechanism, it doesn't have to be learned... it is simply innate.


What I am saying is that we can use the building blocks of our biological survival mechanism to improve upon our learned/professional common sense (i.e. Guns shoot bullets, take cover).  Why does one person stand and shoot when another moves to cover then shoots?  The first person may not be building upon their natural survival instinct and developing a hightened professional/learned common sense tool.  The second, through training and/or experience, knows better and falls back on the learned skill.  The formula for common sense is the same whether innate or learned.  Problem + Solution = common sense trait.


The continuing problem is that some do not bother to retain the solution portion and lack the common sense tool to handle any given situation.



There is an innate biological drive to survive....now, what makes a person run towards a disaster for LE, medical, or spiritual, while another seeks shelter, that is an unknown. but, to me it simplly  means is a part of that persons persona, their stength through the desire to help others......that falls in many fields......., their desire to make the world safe.  Again, to those who fight for others, the thougt is a basic tool in their genome, the arsenal that makes them who they are, I won't put a hero in there, but, damn close.


 


The normal insinct to avoid  a burn, a gunshot, screams in the night is reflexive, to run towards that is divine.

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I forgot who I heard say this recently, but it stuck... "The problem with the advancements in technology, medicine, and safety is that we completely destroyed the laws of natural selection".  I think that's why we run into so many people today with CDC (common sense deficiency). 


 


For a great example of what could happen if this continues, watch Mike Judge's Idiocracy.


What was just posted was probably a poor attempt at humor, wit, or sarcasm. It;s called breakin balls, get used to it.

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Luke_Rekked says ...



I forgot who I heard say this recently, but it stuck... "The problem with the advancements in technology, medicine, and safety is that we completely destroyed the laws of natural selection".  I think that's why we run into so many people today with CDC (common sense deficiency). 


 


For a great example of what could happen if this continues, watch Mike Judge's Idiocracy.



Bump Luke!


Then again, we wouldn't have any more recipients of the Darwin Award (my favorite).


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BigNTS says ...



OK. I gave this some thought and have decided that thinking about what is "organic common sense" and what is "professional common sense" gives me a headache. It boils down to this...some people have it - others don't. For example, we learn that the dog will bite when we pull its tail. Common sense tells us that it will bite us each time we do it. However, some of us continue to pull the tail "just to see if the dog bites me again". That shows a lack of common sense. We come across examples like this organically and even professionally.


 



I forget what the phrase for trying the same thng over and over and expecting a different result, but I've heard it before.  Unfortunately thats the way a lot of administration and government works.  The last x times we tried this it didn't work, but lets try it again, maybe it will work this time.

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