Or, Stupid is as stupid does...
I think for the most part, most people mean well.
However, when people get decide to "do-good" and get out of their depth, or let their emotions sway them into "doing good" when they lack the basic skills to do it effectively, it often leads to bad things happening - and not only to them.
A case in point occurred this week in Haiti when ten US "missionaries", aka do-gooding regular churchgoers from Idaho, decided to take 33 Haitian children across the border to the Dominican Republic with no authorization and even less of a clue. The BBC story sums it up pretty well.
The missionaries have been detained since Friday, when they tried to enter the neighbouring Dominican Republic with the children, whose ages ranged from 2 months to 12 years, without the right documents.
To be clear, a spokeswoman for the missionaries actually said:
"They really didn't have any paperwork... I did not understand that that would really be required," Laura Silsby told CNN.
The story continues:
The children were later taken to an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, where at least 10 told aid workers that they had surviving parents and knew their contact details. Officials are now trying to reunite the families.
"One girl was crying, and saying, 'I am not an orphan. I still have my parents.' And she thought she was going on a summer camp or a boarding school or something like that," said George Willeit, a spokesman for SOS Children's Village.
So while they were well-meaning, if thoroughly and utterly misguided, it makes it all the more obvious that these matters should be left in the hands of the professionals. As noted at the end of the BBC story:
According to UN guidelines, two years should pass after a disaster before adoption can even be considered, giving time to exhaust all efforts to locate family members first.
Which would mean waiting to do more "good" for another year and 50 weeks, then...
More from the Christian Science Monitor
A similar case in Chad in 2007 resulted in a group being incarcerated then freed, but the long-term effect was described thus:
In sub-Saharan Africa, the case played powerfully as an instance of white colonial arrogance; in France, it was seen as a misguided effort to save lives; and among humanitarian groups it has been seen as the kind of mission that puts experienced, professional aid workers at risk.
Or there's always the spin from the home church - Central Vally Baptist - in Idaho
So apparently it's the in thing to pray for them to be released, but to be honest, a few days or weeks sweating this out in a Haitian jail might be best for them to see the error of their ways.