Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Don't Blame ME

I had a road sign at the end of my driveway. The key word here is ‘had’. During grad weekend, someone came and tore it from the post. It was amazing really. The bolts were sheared off cleanly and the post remained firmly set in the earth. How this was accomplished, I have no idea.
I am torn by the fact that someone came onto my property and took something that belonged to me, but at the same time I recognize that my loss is nothing compared to what others have suffered. Still, it makes me stop and think about the conditions we live under.
Not so long ago I had a conversation with a friend. We talked about the pros and cons of keeping our houses locked. Until now, I’ve been a firm believer that my personal freedom is more valuable than the risk of having my house broke into, but according to my friend, unless you lock your home it is not considered by authorities or the insurance agency to be breaking and entering.
One of the reasons that I’ve refrained from locking the house up is that the doors and windows have a significant value by themselves. If someone really wanted to break in, a pane of glass is not going to stop them. It would only add to the cost of the break in and if weather is particularly bad, that could cause further damage to the house.
All of this is a matter of semantics and really only the background for the point I’d like to make. The question is how is it my responsibility if someone comes on to my property and takes something that belongs to me, regardless of how easy the theft was?. If a purse or briefcase is snatched, does it make the crime any less of a crime if it was sitting next to the person on a park bench than if it was held securely in their hand?
We, the collective, buy into some idiotic ideas. One of them is that we have an obligation to protect ourselves at all times. I question this thought. While it is beneficial to make good decisions like staying out of Central Park after dark, I firmly believe that I should not be held responsible for a crime committed against me.
I propose a simple amendment to our way of thinking. It is the individual who is solely responsible for his actions. While there may be extenuating circumstances that may lead to some form of forgiveness, it is the shooter who kills, the pick pocket who steals, the one who swings the bat, thrusts the knife or pulls the trigger who is responsible for their own act.
It is not the home owners fault for being vandalized.
It is not the party host’s fault that a guest drove away and killed someone in an accident.
It is not the woman’s fault she was raped.

Where does fault lie? PLEASE, let us avoid blaming anyone or anything except the person or people who actually perform the crime. We are singularly accountable for our own actions, period. We are not responsible for the deeds of others.

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