The So-So Samaritan

January 27, 1994|By JOHN BRAIN

There was once a Samaritan traveling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho who found someone lying by the highway, badly beaten and left for dead.

Samaritans were good neighbors and noted for social responsibility, unlike priests and Levites and others who minded their own business and avoided getting involved. So when the Samaritan came across this victim of violent crime lying by the roadside he knew exactly what to do: He starting wringing his hands.

''Do I have a strong personal interest in helping this stranger?'' he asked himself. ''If I help him now, will he become dependent, so I won't be able to disengage myself? Is he a quagmire?''

''Worse, when he begins to recover, will he attack me? Whoever beat him may have been a robber, or merely someone he provoked. It's like intervening between husband wife -- next thing they're both attacking you.''

The injured men uttered a groan.

''I suppose I could clean him up a bit and try to get him to an inn'' thought the Samaritan. ''But what if he dies in my care? His relatives could sue.'' The Samaritan gave his hands another wring.

''There really is too much crime in the world,'' mused the Samaritan. ''Someone should do something about it. We need a New World Order. When I get to Jericho, I'll definitely look into it.''

The injured man suddenly coughed and died.

''That's too bad'' thought the Samaritan. ''But Samaritans can't solve all the world's problems.'' Shaking his head he walked on toward Jericho.

John Brain is a Baltimore free lance.

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