Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fault and Responsibility

Our society is missing the boat when it comes to the issue of personal responsibility. That is probably why 40,000 new laws went into effect on January 1st, because we place the responsibility for the actions of an individual on the wrong people.

An article in the Baltimore Sun the other day really got me going and highlighted for me how backwards we have become.

The article is about a local congressman who is facing problems associated with an incident last summer when an underage intern was allowed to have alcohol at a party.

There is a lot of finger pointing in the article about who is to blame and who was reprimanded and how such a travesty could occur--that a 20 year old might get a drink of alcohol at a party. The article goes on to say that the Representative's Chief of Staff was reprimanded and further suggests that one aide was fired for the incident. The firing part was later determined to be untrue.

Here is the problem.

What about the underage drinker? They certainly knew the law and that they should not drink alcohol at functions. Why is the responsibility for wrong doing being deftly shifted away from the responsible party? There was almost no mention of the underage drinker in the entire article and their name was not mentioned at all.

That seems to be the way our society works. Instead of holding the guilty responsible, laws are passed which shift the responsibility to others. In this case, we are dealing with a 20-year old who is able to vote and serve in the military, own property and serve on a jury. Yet, the blame rests on the person holding the party.

That is wrong!

Think about how much better life would be people were responsible for their actions.

Instead of someone suing because the coffee burned their tongue, they would realize that coffee by definition is hot and can burn.

I have tried to read the warnings and labels on many products--the type is too small and all they are really trying to tell me is: Don't be stupid. But still it seems that if I am stupid and hurt myself for some reason, others are responsible.

We need a society where people stand up and say, "I did that and it wasn't very smart." That same society can also allow people to say "I'm sorry and it won't happen again" without threatening dire consequences, unless of course they do it again.

So my response to the article simple is--the writer missed the real culprit and the rose is being pinned on all the wrong people.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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