I was walking back from lunch today when I saw a young, college-aged girl wearing an American Red Cross t-shirt. She was stationed on the sidewalk holding a wooden clipboard. As any normal person would do, I pulled out my phone and pretended to answer a text as I walked by her. Much to my dismay, this tactic was unsuccessful. She blocked my walking path and pushed her clipboard up to my chest.
“Do you want to save a life?”
I looked into her eyes and thought for a second. I then asked “Whose life?”
She responded by saying, “A person in need of blood.”
This would be a satisfactory answer to the common man, but I am what they call a deep thinker. “A person in need of blood”? That’s a little vague. Who are these people and why do they need blood?
Most folks would imagine their donation goes to Little Johnny, an 8-year-old boy who got hit by a car while crossing the street. He was in critical condition and in dire need of a blood transfusion. Luckily, your donation was there to save his life.
Unfortunately, your blood is not always going to go to poor Little Johnny.
There is also the man who hit Little Johnny with his car. It turns out this man recently found out he was laid off from a job he had for 33 years at an insurance agency. After hearing the news, he choked his boss to death with a computer mouse cord and started a vehicular rampage across town. The man saw Little Johnny and purposely hit him with intent to kill. He then sped further down the street and lost control of his vehicle while trying to take out a family of four at an ice cream stand. This man flew threw his windshield and also ended up in critical condition and in dire need of a blood transfusion. Luckily, your donation was there to save his life. Oh, I almost forgot. He was a racist too.
Not as happy of an ending, is it?
The reality is you don’t know whose life you’re saving. There is the possibility that you are actually donating blood to a person who gets nursed back to health and goes on to take an assault rifle to a Denny’s. You saving 1 life can also mean you ending 23 lives. This would put you at -22 lives saved. In order to balance yourself out, you would need to donate blood another 22 times and hope none of the recipients go on to kill any more people. If that’s a risk you’re willing to take, so be it. I don’t want that on my conscience.
I personally have type O negative blood. That means I’m a universal donor and can give blood to anybody in the world. As Uncle Ben would say, “Everything goes with a bowl of rice!” Wait, I think I have my Uncle Ben’s confused. I meant to say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Having blood that’s valuable to so many people means I have to be more selective with who I give it to.
Unfortunately, the Red Cross doesn’t tell potential donors like me about their respective recipients. So let me get this straight. I give this organization a part of my body and I have to just take it on faith that they’re doing the right thing with it by not giving it to future murderers or poor people or people that talk too loudly on their cellphones in public? No thanks.
Until I have a detailed account of who the recipient is, was, and plans to be, I will be keeping my own blood and you should too.