On Assigning Blame

I know that we all have different beliefs, different ways of looking at things, different reactions and different methods of processing information. We are all different; we all have opinions, biases, fears, beliefs, truths and untruths. These things can divide us or unite us.

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, we are at turns saddened, outraged, angered, hurt, scared and worried. How do these things happen? What makes a person turn his anger and hurt and neglect into the cold-blooded and systematic murder of  innocent people?

This post is not about this single incident in our history. It is not even a diatribe against those who failed to act when they could have saved lives, and those who should have spoken up and followed up but didn’t. It is not political, it is not about laws, it is not about ‘see something, say something.’ This post is about assigning blame.

Upon hearing so many say, ‘where was God in all of this? How could He have allowed this to happen?’ This and all other horrible and senseless acts like this, in my opinion and in my heart, is not about God. It is about people. What I personally believe is this: we were born into this world with all of our talents, gifts, our good and our bad things, our potential and our attitudes. We were also given the gift of free will.

Free will means that God or any other deity does not run our lives; we do. It is our choice to be wonderful or horrific, good or bad, kind or unkind, honest or dishonest. Certainly who we are also hinges upon how we were raised, what are our circumstances were, who were our role models, did we have parents who cared about us and taught us how to be decent people, or were we orphans with no one to care for us? Did terrible things happen to us to make us hate ourselves and everyone else? And the list goes on.

When we decide to do something good or bad, worthy or destructive, kind or malicious; that is a decision we make. It isn’t as if we are all programmed with a “STOP!” button when we chose to do harm. If so, we would all be robots with no will of our own. Free will means that we are responsible for our own actions. This also means that, too often, innocent people are affected.

With all my heart, I mourn the loss of the innocents. I cannot wrap my head around what makes a person launch an attack against others. I weep for those lost, and for all those who are in the agony of those losses. God or whatever deity anyone believes in did not cause this or any other terrible thing to happen; people cause these things.

Free will is both a gift and a double-edged sword. Let us use it wisely.




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