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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Wrong Way

Hey hey all -- my technical difficulties have now been rectified.  When you keep a laptop with Windows Vista for five years, you have to expect a Windows or McAfee update to go "down the wrong pipe" and cause trouble.  I thank the expert techie who helped me out of that jam.  One of these days your friendly neighborhood blogger needs to join the '10s and buy himself an iPad!

We gotta talk about yesterday's tragic events at the Empire State Building.  Just what the heck happened with this Jeffrey Johnson?  A year after losing a job, he tries to put a point-blank mob hit on an ex-co-worker in broad daylight? 

The thing that really doesn't make sense is that he lost his job a year ago.  A temporary desire for revenge is expected immediately after losing one's job, but a year later, even if times are still tough, that desire should have waned, or better yet disappeared.

Couldn't someone have helped this man out?  Couldn't he have tried to help himself?  Or better yet, did the murder victim bully or torment Johnson that badly, or cause his termination, or act spitefully or snarkily?  We haven't heard all the details yet, even in the year 2012, but they may explain a few things.

The archives of this blog are jam-packed with posts that rail against bullying and those who permit it to happen.  It's no secret that I expect effective consequences to be delivered against bullies, gangsters, and miscreants without abandon.  But never, and the Rock means never, have I ever suggested that victims deprive these bandejos of their very lives.   Murder is never the answer

The Columbine killers were bullied so much they probably didn't understand right and wrong anymore -- they were still wrong to kill.  The Colorado "Joker" may have had some issue with Batman fans -- still wrong anyway.  Tons of employees of the United States Postal Service have laid waste to their employer -- not the right move no matter how frustrating the life must be.

People who wrong you are asking for consequences, without a doubt.  But unless they have a gun to your head or are interested in leaving your body living but violated (and not "legitimately," Captain Wordsmith Akin) in the immediate future, ending their lives is not the way to solve the problem.  As I've said before, we don't live in a comic book.  You don't get to be a hero for blowing someone away just because you're so unbelievably badass.  You get to be a criminal, a terrorist, or a corpse yourself.

I may be borrowing a quote from my adversaries, the "we-don't-care-it-doesn't-bother-me-it's-your-problem" crowd, but this time I think they're right.  There is such a thing as "natural consequences."  Some may call it karma, G-D's will, or bad juju, but it exists no matter what name it has.  When people wrong you, you have an obligation to protect yourself and to present consequences for your tormentor's actions.  But that obligation is limited by reason, common sense, and basic human dignity.  Did someone backstab you last year and cost you a promotion?  You don't have to pretend to believe that schmucking fool's friend, but you can still stop grinding your teeth in their presence.  Did someone embarrass you at Boy Scout Camp back during childhood?  For all you know, he may have contracted a terminal illness and died a slow and painful death.  Did someone make you feel useless, inadequate, abject, and deserving of abuse when you were young?  For you know, he may be unemployable due to a criminal record and still living at home well into his 30's or 40's.

Point being, our window of opportunity to dispense consequences is limited by time, space, and natural law.  We do not decide that an offense other than murder warrants death, only G-D does.  We do not pretend we're in a Rambo movie and that anyone who tries to stop you from killing deserves to die worse.  Stand up for yourself, live by the Four Pillars, and shut people down when they try to hurt you, but don't let it expand to homicide.

And oh, by the way -- some of the examples of natural consequences I listed above are true stories.

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