Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mad Analysis: Individual Responsibility

The big news in America this week is certainly the mass-shooting in Aurora, Colorado. I assume everyone has heard about the horror of it, the victims and the accused murderer. Of course, all of our sympathy goes to the victims and their families but, saying that, I get a slightly sick feeling whenever I heard media people expressing their sympathy for the victims they interview on TV. It really bothered me hearing Diane Sawyer saying “we embrace you” to the mother of a murdered daughter. I’m sure they are sincerely sorry for these people but, realistically, by next week they won’t remember the names of any of these people, the next big story will come along and so it goes. That’s not really important right now, it’s just something that bothers me a little bit. I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything but it seems just a little bit too much like exploiting grief to me. In any event, not even one hour had elapsed since I first heard this on the news before the blame game started.

Not even one hour had passed before I started to hear the ‘talking heads’ bring up the need for stricter gun control, added security at theaters, questions about how the alleged killer was raised, questions about whether the movie itself was related to the murders (and why the alleged killer referred to himself as “the Joker” (it was a Batman movie if you haven’t heard]) and if the film industry bears any blame for what happened. This really annoys me. More than that, it disgusts me because it seems to relate to what I think is one of the most devastating root problems that exists today. What happened in Colorado is the fault of NO ONE but the one who pulled the trigger. That’s it and that’s all. Anything else takes away from the one and only person who should bear all the guilt for this tragedy. Stop harassing his parents, stop harassing his old professors and stop trying to blame Hollywood. Some people are just evil and some relatively good people just snap one day and do horrible things. No law can ever or will ever prevent that from happening.

This irritates me especially because it is proof again of just how little individual responsibility is left in modern society. How many years ago now was the Genovese case? Have things gotten any better? I don’t doubt that things may come out that might help explain somewhat why this person did what he is alleged to have done but I don’t want anything to in any way take away from his own personal responsibility for the horrible crime he committed. I don’t like the way his father was hounded from his home to the airport on his way to Colorado. It’s not his dad’s fault that he did what he did. I don’t care if he had the world’s greatest dad or the world’s worst -he was a grown adult who made his own decision and one of those decisions was to gun down tens of innocent people. The guilty party is the guilty party and there the list should end. I really have no patience for the whole ‘the movie made me do it’ or ‘society made me do it’ or ‘the music made me do it’ or ‘the video game made me do it’ or ‘my overbearing parents made me do it’ or any of the other of countless excuses that always come out at times like this.

I still want everyone to know that I am certainly under no illusions as to the effect that the media and the entertainment industry has on society. I like some pretty violent and horrifying movies myself, but there are some that even I think cross a line. There are at least a few that I’ve simply heard about that I am convinced would destroy the soul of anyone who watches them. I’ve never been in favor of censorship in my life but, in recent years, I have had to change that position because of some very extreme cases. We should endeavor to have a healthy society after all. What we cannot do is blame the actions of one person on anyone else or in any way lessen their guilt and individual responsibility by trying to make the responsibility shared. If I do wrong there is no one to blame but myself. I do the crime, I do the time. Likewise, if I make a dumb decision, no one should be forced to help me out of a mess caused by my own stupidity. I shouldn’t have to bail you out for your mistakes either. If you have friends or family that want to help you out, fine, but you cannot blame me for your mistakes which is what you are doing if I am forced to help you out of them.

No one seems to have any grasp at all of individual responsibility these days. Even among those one would think would be the greatest champions of it, we do not have unanimity. There are relatively few in this day and age who champion individual “rights” but there are fewer still who stand up for individual responsibility. Everyone wants the “rights” but not many seem to want the responsibility. For example, why do so many libertarians and (all) Objectivists/Randists support abortion? They say it is because they support individual “rights” and individual choice but it seems to me that by supporting abortion you are supporting individual irresponsibility. Being stupid and getting pregnant are individual choices but getting an abortion is just a medical way of escaping the responsibility of your own actions and choices you already made. One side of the political spectrum tends to throw all individualism out the window but even on the other side of the scale, everyone seems to want to have their cake and eat it too. No one wants to be responsible for their own actions and these days we seem less and less forced to do so.

For example, just take the film everyone was seeing at this theater where the tragic mass-murder took place. Notice how many young children were among the victims? Some were extremely young. What were they even doing there? Personally, I was shocked to find out the movie was rated PG-13 and even more shocked when I looked it up and found that the previous “Dark Knight” movie was also PG-13. Aside from the original movie with Adam West (my first Batman), I don’t think any of the Batman movies have been suitable for small children. If I had children, I wouldn’t let them watch stuff like that at such a young age. But, of course, how many parents are simply willing to abdicate their responsibility to the MPAA to determine if something is okay for their children to watch? I don’t think I’m being too extreme when I say that I think we should each be responsible for what we do. I don’t think we should we are all responsible for everything and I don’t think we are all responsible for nothing. I don’t think we should be called upon to be responsible for or care about everyone but we should at least care about how family and those immediately around us. That’s all.


  1. A sad tragedy it is indeed, both the deed and the media "blame game". And I too was a bit shocked that a pair of parents decided it was okay to bring a six year old to a midnight showing of a PG-13 movie. While they are legally within their right to do so, perhaps they should've used a bit of common sense?

  2. You are right on M.M.

    The way progressives think, in regards to the shooter growing up in a good/bad environment, is that if HE has no responsibility for his actions, than they have no responsibility condemning it, or standing up to this sort of evil.

    Then they can run to their nearest regulation office and demand MORE government control. The totalitarian nature of progressive is astounding. (never let a crisis go to waste)

    Their goal is to make everyone dependent on some Technocrat for all their decisions, what should I eat, how many kids I am allowed to have, when can the state say I can die?

    Instead of trying to placate the masses with bread and circus, true liberty requires us to keep a fine line between the Looters and Producers, and do our best to keep the lower classes on the producers side I.E. the Individuality of Hard work, for your own self intresnt and not for the colloetive.

  3. By and large, O Mad One, I agree. We seem, no longer, to have "sins" or "crimes," but only "issues" or "sicknesses." There are reasons or triggers, wounds or illnesses that can dispose one to sin or commit crime, but we have gone too far in allowing them to excuse evil. Better, perhaps, that they be taken into account in sentencing, but not in conviction/acquittal.

    I, myself, would be a little less adamant about all unwelcome or problematic pregnancies being the woman's fault (though no less adamant about the evil of abortion). There are many, many instances where the challenges of bringing a child to birth and caring for it are very real and very frightening for a woman whose pregnancy was not the result of "being stupid and getting pregnant."

    We Christians, who quite rightly oppose the murder of the unborn, need to be more proactive in providing alternatives and support for these women and their children (even if the pregnancy was the result of sinful behavior, in fact) and put our beliefs about mercy, forgiveness, and redemption into action. Although there are a couple ministries of this type sponsored within the Orthodox Church (speaking only of my own communion), they are not widespread and much more is needed.

    Through the intercessions of the Royal Saints Margaret of Scotland, Elizabeth of Hungary, and Elizabeth the New Martyr, may the Lord grant it be so.

    1. I probably tend to the opposite extreme because the pro-abortionists act as though every abortion in the country is because of rape or incest. They're not, that's a tiny fraction and in those cases the rapist should be punished to the fullest extent of the law (I'd be fine with making eunuchs of them). It is also a canard to say that they are all due to economic difficulties. I'm sure some are but the government provides a wide variety of services, food, housing, medical care and so on for single mothers. In fact, the State gives them so many benefits many see it as beneficial to not marry the baby's father, so I don't buy that argument. The vast majority of unwanted pregnancies are due to simple stupid decisions. Usually this is people having too much to drink and forgetting to take precautions, someone forgot to go to the drugstore or someone forgot to take their pill (which to my mind is stupid anyway, putting your trust in a pill to prevent the natural functioning of the human body).

      More can be done by the Christian community and more should be done, I totally agree. My only point here was that people should be responsible for their own actions and not expect the help of others or the "right" to snuff out a life just to make their life easier or to avoid the emotional discomfort of giving a baby up for adoption.

    2. There is no such thing as a woman's "right to abortion" and intercourse takes two, i.e., male and female, to produce a child; therefore, a woman does not have a right to abort the child of the father. Yes, indeed, the woman carries and births the child, but that child is equally the father's child, thus the father has identical executive power (but do not tell the "enlightened" ones). A woman's "right to abortion" because it is "her body" is fantasy created by the emotional, irrational, perverted, and sinful mind of man. If such a "right" exists, then every man ought to have "the right" to murder, to rape, to incest, to bestiality, to molestation, to steal, et cetera. Why not make everything illegal legal? It makes sense and, after all, man believes he is at liberty to "rights." Rights are abstract and the Lord our God never ordained rights to His creation because He knew the trouble "rights" cause.

    3. Very true. I've said before that if a woman has the "right" to abort a child without the consent or even the knowledge of the father, then fathers should not be forced to pay child support if the woman decides to have the baby. If it is "his baby too" after being born, then it is before it is born as well. Of course, I don't think abortion should be legal in the first place, but it shows the double-standard at work very well I think.

  4. First, my thoughts and prayers go the alleged murderer and his family and to the victims and their families. Second, call me a "conspiracy theorist" but this event eerily and suspiciously occurred at a time regarding the UN's "arms treaty." I dare say this event was coordinated to whisk the emotions and irrationality of the people to give approval of the UN's arms treaty. Now the media is spouting more gun control, well, the UN's arms treaty will now be considered by our benevolent republican government because they yearned for it--they just needed a shooting incident to occur to get approval. This event is too orchestrated and it occurred at a time of the UN's arms treaty; this, in my humble opinion, was no random shooting incident. We shall see...

  5. Very spot-on that issue on abortion. I do not support abortion, and it is mad, and unfortunate that so many people think of being pregnant as a chore, that fetuses are scum, and that raising babies is difficult. We live in a society that keeps on legalizing everything, and promoting every "human right" we can think of, without installing individual responsibility for those things.

    Good rant!

  6. THANK YOU! You have been spot on in identifying the problem with the whole "Blame anyone or anything but the criminal" mentality. I'm very much into gun rights, and I've been fighting all day against people who seem to have the idea that the shooter was somehow hypnotized either by the weapons themselves or by his ammunition and clips to do this.

    I know what it is. It's cruel really, much like a sadistic rapist wanting to force a victim to beg to be assaulted. They know a gun ban will raise crime rates, and force people to beg for a totalitarian police state.


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