P.T. Barnum, or H.L. Mencken, or somebody else said: “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” For a while, an anonymous seller and on-line auction house seemed to be trying to prove that you won’t go broke underestimating the decency of people, either.
The seller and the auction house were peddling a purported vial of Ronald Reagan’s dried blood. The blood supposedly was taken after Reagan was shot, and the vial was accompanied by some kind of certificate of authenticity. As the bids mounted — ultimately, they reached $30,000 — the outcry about the inappropriateness of selling the item also increased. Eventually the seller decided to withdraw the item from auction and donate it, instead, to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
It’s appalling that anyone would try to sell a vial of somebody else’s blood — or other type of bodily fluid, or bodily part — in an on-line auction. The fact that it is blood obtained after an attempt to assassinate an American President only heightens the baseline outrage that anyone should feel about such a stunt.
At least the seller of the item finally came to his senses and withdrew the item. But what does it tell you that ghoulish people in the world were happy to bid on the item and were prepared to pay as much as $30,000 for it, rather than treating the attempt to auction blood with the scorn it so richly deserved?
I’m afraid we live in a sick world, where the sick people no longer worry about the need to hide their depravity, their greed, and their lack of basic human decency.