Attitude -  Personal responsibility (619 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host7/9/15 8:16 PM 
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Is Personal Responsibility A Dying Concept?
by Frank Borelli
July 8, 2015

As I sit and work through my usual morning office hours I have seen — not once but twice — in my Facebook feed stories about families who want some kind of legal change or assistance because a member of their family was either stupid or criminal. At first I just shook my head at what these people think and what their outlook is. Then it dawned on me that it’s not JUST these two families. Looking back across the past couple of months it becomes glaringly obvious that not only do people think they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions, but, in fact, that others who REACT to stupidity should be held responsible or controlled somehow.

What am I talking about? Let’s take a look back… bear with me as we crank the time machine handle over to the left, and the screen goes all squiggly and the weird Scooby Doo noises play in the background…

The date is August 9, 2014. An adult male with a criminal history attacks a police officer who, in defense of his life, shoots and kills the criminal. Due to outright false “witness” testimony and a mainstream media that warps all “reporting” to sensationalize the story and enflame a nation, Ferguson, Missouri experiences riots and civil unrest. The message is clear: no matter what Michael Brown did (not MAY have done, but DID), he shouldn’t have been held accountable. No matter what crime a black male committed, it didn’t justify the completely lawful use of lethal force in defense of a white police officer’s life.

More squiggly screen and Scooby Doo noises… but this time we’re turning that time dial to the right…

The date is April 12, 2015. In Baltimore, a convicted criminal, under arrest for a new crime, thrashes about inside a transport van and causes himself injury. As a result of the injury, Freddie Gray dies. Once again, thanks to the mainstream media’s “reporting” of “facts” in a very careful and choreographed fashion, designed to stoke the flames of racial discord and raise advertising rates, riots and civil unrest break out. When the smoke clears (literally), the message is once again reinforced: no matter what Freddie Gray did, even if he was the cause of his own injuries and death, someone else is to blame. It’s always the fault of the police even if they haven’t done anything wrong!

At that point I was shaking my head at how ludicrous people could be. After all, who would blame the police for doing their job the right way? Who would want police professionals punished for doing nothing wrong? Who would think it made sense to excuse criminal behavior and hold police officers responsible for the actions of the criminal? Isn’t THAT the ultimate twist of reality to remove all logic from day to day behavior? But wait… it gets better.

More squiggly screen and Scooby Doo noises… turning that time dial to the right…

The date is June 19, 2015. In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Police Detective Jeffrey Griffin is shot by burglary suspect Najee Harmon. After an overnight manhunt, Najee is found hiding in the basement of family friend Stephanie King. Ms. King, on video, makes the statement that she willingly helped Najee and hid him because, in her words, “He ain’t do no wrong. He just shot a cop.”

EXCUSE ME? Shooting a cop isn’t wrong??? What the living heck? Since when does anyone think it’s perfectly okay to shoot a law enforcement officer? Further, why isn’t this woman being charged with accessory after the fact? Harboring a fugitive? Anything? Not only does she not think Najee should be held accountable for his behavior but no one is holding HER accountable for her behavior! With our failure to charge this woman with the crime(s) she committed, we’re reinforcing that it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore the law; that you won’t be held responsible for your behavior and actions.

More squiggly screen and Scooby Doo noises… turning that time dial to the right…

The date is July 4, 2015. In Calais, Maine, a drunk man — Devon Staples — who had been drinking and was intoxicated, strapped a launchable EXPLOSIVE pyrotechnic device otherwise known as “fireworks” TO HIS HEAD and lit it. He fell dead immediately after the launch of the explosive projectile. You can blame stupidity. You can blame his drunkenness. You can blame a lot of things but they all are going to boil down to this: Devon Staples knowingly strapped an explosive to his head and lit it. He died as a result of his own actions. Now, here’s the part that vexes me: His family is petitioning the State of Maine to increase legal controls on commercially available fireworks because they blame a lack of fireworks control laws for Devon’s death. Never mind that his death was a direct result of his own actions. They want the state to control fireworks better.



  • Edited July 9, 2015 8:16 pm  by  EdGlaze
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From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host7/9/15 8:20 PM 
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 1578.2 in reply to 1578.1 


Now, as I started this blog out: why on God’s green Earth do we not hold individual’s accountable and responsible for their own actions? And even if we recognize that they’re responsible for their actions, why do we (society) try to find a way to excuse them from the results of their actions? It’s not like these people are ignorant of their choices or what might happen. Michael Brown KNEW that if he attacked a police officer the officer would defend himself. As a previously convicted criminal, Michael Brown KNEW that officers all have the option of lethal force if justified. In spite of this knowledge, Michael Brown CHOSE to attack a police officer. Why is anyone surprised that the results of his actions were exactly what he knew them to possibly be? Every reasonably intelligent adult in the world knows that steel is harder than flesh and bone. Freddie Grey KNEW, when he started thrashing around inside that transport van, that he could do potentially fatal harm to himself, yet he knowingly chose to thrash around anyway. Why is anyone surprised that the results of his actions were exactly what he knew them to possibly be? Najee Harmon KNEW that it was illegal (not to mention immoral) to shoot a police officer yet he knowingly CHOSE to do so anyway. Ms. Stephanie King — who SHOULD know that it’s illegal and wrong to shoot a police officer, not to mention help the criminal who did it — knowingly CHOSE to hide Najee in her home. Najee certainly shouldn’t have been surprised that he was hunted down and Stephanie King should be absolutely surprised and delighted that she herself isn’t behind bars as an accessory to attempted murder after the fact. When Devon Staples strapped an explosive device to his head and launched it, if he didn’t know and realize it was a potentially fatal act, he was just dumb. Would ANYONE reading this do such a thing? Yet his family doesn’t hold him responsible for his own death; they blame the fireworks company and the State of Maine for not controlling fireworks more through legislation.

I am at a loss. It appears as if only Mother Nature still makes man pay a price for his wanton stupidity. This past weekend in Texas, a man knowingly jumped into a bayou, ignoring signs to beware of the alligators. In fact, before jumping in, he screamed, “F*CK the Alligators!” Mother Nature isn’t as forgiving as humankind apparently is. Almost immediately after jumping into the alligator infested waters, the man was killed by…  alligators. Perhaps his family will sue the State of Texas for not legislating alligators better? THEY may not hold him responsible for his actions, but Mother Nature sure did — and collected an immediate toll. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there. Maybe we, as a society, aren’t evolving in the right direction when we start excusing stupidity and criminality. Maybe… just MAYBE we should start demanding that people be responsible for their own actions AND THE RESULTS again?



From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host7/18/15 5:40 PM 
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 1578.3 in reply to 1578.2 






From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host9/4/15 6:17 PM 
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 1578.4 in reply to 1578.3 



McCardle: 'How grown-ups respond to microaggressions'
by Rick Moran
13 Sep 15

Megan McCardle, writing in Bloomberg, penned an excellent article on "microaggressions" and the "victim culture." She bases much of her piece on a recent paper by two sociologists that described the "moral culture" that has arisen that causes people to compete for victim status, or for the status of acting as their protectors.

The two sociologists — Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning — trace the history of our "moral culture," going back to the 16th and 17th century when we lived in an "honor culture" where slights and insults were answered personally through duels and wars. The honor culture evolved into a "dignity culture" in the 19th and 20th century where every human being was endowed with dignity and insults or offensive actions were dealt with by the law or worked out between the two parties.

Now the dignity culture has morphed into this nightmare "victim culture." McCardle lists some of its attributes:

Microagressions mark a transition to a third sort of culture: a victim culture, in which people are once again encouraged to take notice of slights. This sounds a lot like honor culture, doesn't it? Yes, with two important differences. The first is that while victimhood is shameful in an honor culture — and indeed, the purpose of taking vengeance is frequently to avoid this shame — victim status is actively sought in the new culture, because victimhood is a prerequisite for getting redress. The second is that victim culture encourages people to seek help from third parties, either authorities or the public, rather than seeking satisfaction themselves.

The debate over microaggressions often seems to focus on whether they are real. This is silly. Of course they've always been real; only the label is new. Microaggressions from the majority to the minority are as real as Sunday, and the effect of their accumulated weight is to make you feel always slightly a stranger in a strange land. The phenomenon is dispiriting, even more so because the offenders frequently don't realize that their words were somewhere between awkward and offensive (once again).

On the other hand, in a diverse group, the other thing you have to say about microaggressions is that they are unavoidable. And that a culture that tries to avoid them is setting up to tear itself apart.<

I'm using microaggressions broadly here: to define the small slights by which any majority group subtly establishes its difference from its minority members. That means that I am including groups that may not come to mind for victim status, like conservatives in very liberal institutions. And no doubt many of my readers are preparing to deliver a note or a comment saying I shouldn't dare to compare historically marginalized groups with politically powerful ones.

I dare because it highlights the basic problem with extensively litigating microaggressions, which is that it is a highly unstable way of mediating social disputes. Deciding who is eligible to complain about microaggressions is itself an act by which the majority imposes its will, and it is felt as alienating by the minorities who are effectively told that they don't have the same right to ask for decent treatment as other groups.

I would add that the "unstable" means of litigating disputes is a feature, not a bug, of the victim culture. Here's how Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning describe it in their paper:

Black’s theory of partisanship identifies two conditions that make support from third parties more likely. First, third parties are more likely to act as partisans when they are socially closer to one side of the conflict than to the other, as they take the side of the socially closer disputant (Black 1998:126)… Any social tie or social similarity a third party shares with one disputant but not the other increases the chance of partisanship. Second, third parties are more likely to act as partisans when one side of a conflict is higher in status than the other, as they take the side of the higher-status disputant (Black 1998:126). [p.700]… But note that these campaigns for support do not necessarily emanate from the lowest reaches of society — that they are not primarily stocked or led by those who are completely lacking in property, respectability, education, or other forms of social status. Rather, such forms as microaggression complaints and protest demonstrations appear to flourish among the relatively educated and affluent populations of American colleges and universities. The socially down and out are so inferior to third parties that they are unlikely to campaign for their support, just as they are unlikely to receive it. [p.701].

The victim culture is far better organized than the opposition to it, which gives it a leg up in the practical political scheme of things. This presages the notion that no matter who is in power, there will always be a sizable component of victims and rescuers willing to shame people into boycotting businesses, getting people fired or thrown out of school, or otherwise ruin the lives of their targets.

Until companies, school administrators, and other people in authority are willing to stand up to the bullies and ignore their whining about "microaggressions, "trigger warnings," "safe places" and all the other artificially created accoutrements to the victim culture, we will have to continue walking on eggshells so as not to offer any offense to anyone.

  • Edited September 13, 2015 1:20 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon12/26/15 1:18 PM 
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 1578.5 in reply to 1578.4 


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host1/10/17 9:59 AM 
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 1578.6 in reply to 1578.5 

When Is Victim Blaming Acceptable?
by Francis Turner
8 Jan 17


photo victim-blaming-your-fault_zpsc3bxfkhk.jpg


My last post got a comment about how an aside about rape and victim shaming made the reader dislike a post she otherwise greatly enjoyed. Over on the book of feces faces in a private group discussion that comment has sparked a most excellent discussion about personal responsibility and the like. This led me to think about when, if ever, it is acceptable — or even praiseworthy — to blame the victim of a criminal act.

The first point to make here is that blaming the victim should not mean giving the attacker a free ride. One of the problems we have in today’s increasingly litigious society is that we think in terms of a zero-sum game: either party A wins and party B loses or vice versa. This is a hindrance to economics where it means people fail to grok the possibility of “win-win” and it is a hindrance in the current discussion where we want to both punish the criminal AND tell the victim he was an idiot who had it coming.

The second point is that the vast majority of criminal acts are not against culpable victims. For example, the feminists who protest victim blaming and shaming in rape cases are usually right: just because you work in a strip club or as a prostitute does not make you incapable of being raped, neither does being married to your rapist for that matter. They are also correct that intoxication is not, of itself, a valid excuse or justification.

However rape is a crime where, in some cases, you can indeed lay some blame on the victim. Along with some other assaults (muggings) and property crimes, the root cause is often that the victim failed to properly account for context. Sometimes that failure rises to the level of gross negligence and hence, IMHO, victim blaming is acceptable. Let me explain what I mean by context.

In Japan, say, or in some rural parts of the US you can leave valuable bits of property around unlocked and expect that it will still be there when you come back. You can leave your car with the engine running and the key in the ignition while you go shopping, for example, and be confident that the car will still be there when you leave the shop. Do that in Detroit, or any major urban area outside Japan, and that’s far less likely to be the case. Indeed if your car was stolen in those circumstances the insurance company probably wouldn’t pay up because they consider you to have contributed to the crime through your negligence.

Take the hypothetical I used yesterday – walking butt naked through a bad neighborhood of Detroit – I would find it acceptable to blame a person who did that if they were raped (or mugged …) because even though rape (or other assault) is a crime, failing to take note of the fact that the area is a dangerous high crime one when acting an a way that is highly provocative is grossly negligent. The context of knowing where you are and what that says about the likelihood of a particular sort of crime is critical to whether it is acceptable to blame you.

This doesn’t just apply to physical crimes either; these days someone falling for the classic “Nigerian prince has left you money” advance fee scam is also, IMHO, culpably gullible. Of course this is not the same as falling for one of the more technically advanced scams such as ones where the crook impersonates your boss (or bank) and uses a domain that is a typosquat away from the real one. Part of the problem with the internet is that we access it in places we trust (our homes/workplaces) through devices we trust (our own PCs/phones), however the internet is a global entity with plenty of bad neighborhoods. Furthermore, unlike physical cities where bad neighborhoods tend to have clear visual indicators, the indicators for bad virtual neighborhoods are generally not at all obvious and we’re all just a click away from entering one at anytime.

The key to all this is awareness, or lack of it. If you bumble everywhere paying not attention to your surroundings or those around you then you are setting yourself up to be a victim. In most cases doing so justifies you being blamed for being a victim of a crime.

The reason that this is critical is that we currently rarely blame the victims of cyber attacks in the way we do those mugged on the streets or whose houses are burgled because they left the door unlocked and the windows open. Cybervictims are, at best, reported as technical novices taken in by “advanced” cyber threats. More usually no one pays any attention to the actions or behavior of the victims at all. This is a mistake. We need to blame, shame and otherwise make clear that the internet is a dangerous place and that it is everyone’s responsibility to not walk around online in their virtual birthday suit and dangling the keys to their house, car, safe etc. on a piece of string.

This applies to organizations as well as individuals and it especially applies to the leaders of organizations who should be paying as much attention to their organization’s virtual security as they do to the physical security of its offices and so on. The ones that act like Hillary Clinton or the DNC (to pick on two obvious examples) need to be mocked relentlessly and not allowed to be placed in any position of authority or trust again.


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host1/13/17 7:29 PM 
To: All  (7 of 17) 
 1578.7 in reply to 1578.6 

photo EverythingHappensForReason_zpsxjedjrju.jpg


Situational Awareness is NOT “Preemptive Victim Blaming”
by Beth Alcazar
24 Jan 17

When it comes to avoiding potentially dangerous encounters or escaping life-threatening situations, we try to focus on things like staying alert, practicing good situational awareness, and using Jeff Cooper’s color codes of awareness. We live in Condition Yellow. We pay attention to who and what is around us. We use common sense and listen to our instincts — from avoiding the shortcut down a dark alleyway to leaving an area if we feel uncomfortable or threatened. I also like to say that we can consciously make the decision to be “the wrong person.” In other words, we can choose to be a person who uses good judgment, who is alert and aware, and who does not enable criminals with an opportunity to sneak up on or surprise him or her.

I don’t think there’s anything very profound, groundbreaking or questionable about basic safety. These are the kinds of things we teach our children — and learn for ourselves — from a young age. And I believe these are important topics for everyone — of all ages, of either gender, of any background, and in any location — to address and utilize. Planning ahead and thinking about our surroundings are effective ways to be safer as we’re out and about in our daily lives. You’d think that most people would agree. But I was astonished when I read an article that basically bashes every one of these personal safety messages. It was an article included on a website for women … a website that claims to support and represent women’s empowerment. And yet, the author viciously picks apart various crime-prevention programs with a very slanted (and incorrect) interpretation. In summary, she labels this type of preparation and training as “preemptive victim blaming.”

She writes, “The underlying theme echoes that of your typical victim blamers: It is a woman’s responsibility to stop violence from happening to her. What my family and friends, the NRA and an army of victim-shaming internet trolls all fail to acknowledge is the number of women who die each year in the hands of family and friends, presumably by people they loved and trusted. It is irresponsible to suggest that a woman is at fault for her death because she was unaware of her surroundings, or failed to follow a gut feeling or didn’t have the right personal safety strategy.”

As irrational as it sounds, this author claims that teaching (and I hence assume employing) strategies for evading crimes or attacks is just another way for “gun-pushers” to place the blame on victims. Apparently, in her eyes, helping people recognize potential dangers and utilize methods for avoiding said dangers is a way to point fingers at the innocent and give criminals a pass. What this author fails to recognize is that it is never a person’s responsibility to stop violence from happening. But it is each person’s responsibility to make wise choices. And while the fault of a crime most certainly falls on the person who chooses to be violent, I refuse to be so self-important, ignorant and unaware that I just float through life, expecting bad guys to start behaving themselves.


From the comments:

We each have to take responsibility for our own safety. The person initiating violence is still to blame for an attack, but when you take the responsibility to be aware, be observant and avoid bad situations, you make yourself less likely to be the victim of a predator.

  • Edited January 28, 2017 6:44 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host2/4/17 7:10 PM 
To: All  (8 of 17) 
 1578.8 in reply to 1578.7 


A Failure to Acknowledge Reality
by Greg Ellifritz in News and Tactical Advice
16 Feb 15

I took a call a couple of weeks ago at work.  A woman was reporting that she had been “attacked” by an aggressive dog several times over the last year.& As I talked to her to find out what happened, I learned that a neighbor’s dog regularly barks at her as she walks past the neighbor’s house. The dog is restrained by an “invisible fence” and does not leave its yard. The woman told me “Every time I walk past that house, the dog barks aggressively and runs straight at me. It scares me to death.”

After ascertaining that the dog has never bitten her, never left its own yard, and is merely acting territorial and barking, I informed the caller that the dog’s owner had not violated any laws and that as a police officer, I couldn’t do anything about the situation. I made the very simple suggestion that if this dog scares her so badly, maybe she should walk on the other side of the road when she goes past the dog’s yard. It seemed like a reasonable course of action to me. The dog doesn’t get territorial and charge, she doesn’t get scared. The woman was irate that I suggested such a thing.

“I shouldn’t have to adjust my walking path to accommodate my neighbor’s dog! I pay taxes in this community! This is my neighborhood! I should be able to walk wherever I want!”

Of course she was right. But being right doesn’t always protect you from negative consequences. The woman was failing to acknowledge reality. The reality is that she knows the dog will bark at her when she walks past the house. She knows there is nothing I can do about that. Yet she persists in repeatedly taking the same course of action even though she knows that she will be scared by the dog again and again. That isn’t a smart way to live your life.

To illustrate my point, I asked the woman another question using the point I heard my friend William Aprill make in a recent class:

“Do you lock the doors on your house when you go to work?”

She replied: Of course!”

“Well, you shouldn’t HAVE to lock your doors. It’s your house and no one should try to steal from you. You have every right to leave your doors unlocked, yet in this case you acknowledge reality and take basic precautions because the world is not the way you want it to be. The world is the way it is. You may not like it, but you have to deal with it. Walking on the other side of the road to avoid an aggressive dog is the same thing as locking your doors when you leave the house. It’s accepting the reality of the situation.”

I should have known better. Instead of understanding the logical inconsistency in her thought process, she began to berate me for pointing it out. She was upset that I wouldn’t arrest the homeowner thereby ensuring that she could walk past his house any time she wanted without being scared by a barking dog. She told me that she REFUSED to alter her life to accommodate the actions of an aggressive dog and quickly ushered me out of her house.

That call got me thinking about other crime victims I’ve dealt with over the years…

“I shouldn’t have to lock my car doors when I’m parked in my own driveway…”

“I shouldn’t have to remove my iPod earbuds when I’m jogging in a dangerous area. I’m entitled to listen to music when I work out…”

“I should be able to leave my laptop computer on the front seat of my car when I go shopping. It’s my property! No one should break in and steal it!…”

“This is a safe city! I should be able to leave my purse unattended on the restaurant table while I go to the bathroom. I can’t believe someone would steal it!…”

“I should be able to yell obscenities at anyone I choose. Just because I called that guy a mother fucker doesn’t give him the right to hit me…”

The examples go on and on. In every case, the victim failed to acknowledge the reality of the situation. In every case, failing to acknowledge reality led to negative consequences for the victim.

You may be right, but if you fail to acknowledge reality, you will still lose. The world is not how it should be. You don’t have to like that. You can work to change it. But if you ignorantly refuse to acknowledge reality, you are taking the first step on the path to ensuring that your name will occupy the “victim” box on my next police report.

  • Edited February 4, 2017 7:32 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host7/8/18 7:06 AM 
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 1578.9 in reply to 1578.8 

  • Edited July 27, 2020 8:39 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host9/29/18 12:25 PM 
To: All  (10 of 17) 
 1578.10 in reply to 1578.9 


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