To the Editor:
Perhaps the term I most remember my parents using about someone other than any other is “bad apple.” It meant that person lacked a good personality. The term relates to what happens when a basket of good apples contains one apple which has started to rot. All the good apples around it start to decay faster because of their proximity to the bad one. If the selection of which apples to put in the basket isn’t done well, the whole basket can go bad more quickly.
The larger the group of people, the more likely for a bad apple to be in the group. Sometimes, an apple may look good on the outside, but be going bad under the pretty skin. People are the same. Some examples are the military, the police, many organizations and protest groups. After 9/11, the military needed to quickly expand so they took in people who were marginally within their personality parameters. A few years later, when they reduced the need for bodies, those bad apples were dumped. Police officers are well-screened, but on occasion, a bad apple is put in the basket or one becomes a bad apple after constantly being put in bad situations every day. Many protests are branded because a few apples go bad by rioting.
One thing we should all learn is to not judge all baskets because of a few bad apples.