6/18/2010

It's Not My FAULT!!

I watched this show when I was a kid. It was about a little boy who was hit and killed by a teenager that was fleeing the police after stealing a car. The father of the deceased child was understandably distraught. He HATED this teenager for robbing him of his precious child. Then one day, he had an epiphany, that he too had made mistakes. Perhaps his mistakes didn't have the devastating consequences of the mistakes of this teen, but then again, perhaps at times they could have, and he was just lucky. Ultimately he decided, the hate he felt was hurting his family and if he could turn the judgements over to someone else, he could begin to heal. The movie ended with the family taking a cake to the teenager while he was in prison. I had to be pretty young when I watched this show, but it left such a profound impression on me, I still remember it. Even as a child, I recognized the difficulty and maturity it took for the father to come to that conclusion.
All too often in life we look for someone to blame for the tragedies of life. Someone MUST be at fault. As I've watched the news lately I've seen this happen over and over. The Seattle Police Officer who is being arraigned for punching a girl in the face over a jaywalking incident.* The firemen who's truck malfunctioned potentially causing the death of 5 people.# And today, Tony Hayward is replace by BP as head of its oil clean up, one day after he was reamed by congressmen is a congressional hearing.+

There always seems to be blame to go around. But, the more important issue is not who is at fault, but better yet, what have we learned?
The lessons we can learn from life are vital and the list is long. The lesson of love beyond the grave from the family who has lost their baby boy to cancer. I have learned amazing things from their strength and from their faith.
The lesson of looking ahead instead of behind from the community that lost 5 little girls who suffocated in the trunk while playing hide and seek. At their funeral, their families were cautioned to not place blame, to not live with "If only" because "It is counterproductive and is not conducive to the spirit of healing and of peace."
I could go on and on.

Now, surely in life there are times that blame must be placed. There are people that must take responsibilty for their reckless and blatantly irresponsible actions and suffer the concequences of these actions. But, I think as a whole, if we all tried our best and were more tolerant of other people's honest mistakes, we would be a happier and healthier society. I know that I am very thankful to my neighbors when they forgave my 5 year old son for accidently hitting their son in the head with a baseball bat and causing 8 stitches. It was an accident, but we all learned a valuable lesson from it. (never give a 5 year old a metal bat.)


Footnotes:
*What is not always told in this story is that the local college asked the police to provide extra patrols to help with its ongoing jaywalking problem. As the officer tried to arrest the suspects a crowd began to form and the girls began to resist arrest. Last year was an unprecedented year in Seattle for officers killed in the line of duty with 5 police being targeted and murdered while on duty. This officer was completely in line to protect himself and should not have walked away because it was "just jaywalking". When officers fail to withhold the law, it could lead to a reckless and lawless society. If fault must be placed, it should be placed with the teen. However, she apologized today to the officer for her actions, as well. It is a great story in lessons learned.

#This was the firemen's back up truck. The original truck was in the shop receiving its regular maintenance, as it should. This back up truck had been tested and was working prior to the incident. A second truck was called and showed up 2 and a half minutes after the first truck showed up. This 2 and a half minute gap was not what lead to the death of these 5 people. The fact that a window was opened and fueled the fire is probably the cause. But, even then, that is no one's fault, it was a tragic accident. Obviously, if the mother knew it would fuel the fire, she would have NEVER opened the window. My heart goes out to this mother who lost all of her children, her sister and her niece. Lesson learned, keep your mattresses away from your lamps and when you smell smoke, get out, don't stop to open the window.

+My jury is still out on this one. The congressional hearing was much longer than my children's patience and so I didn't get to watch as much as I would have liked. But I was struck by the image of this one lone man who was answering the angry questions of 100+ people. There were binders of info against the company and yet he sat there all alone. Yes, he is the CEO and he is ultimately responsible, but it was some other shmuck who signed the waiver for the modifications that lessened the integrity of the fail safe device. The CEO of any company can't make EVERY major decision for the company. It seems to me that he is the scapegoat for a pool of idiotic people who made idiotic decisions. But, the question that remains, is was this normal business practice? Yes, the other oil company CEOs say they would never drill the oil well without drilling the relief well first, but have they? Is that just the easy, obvious answer or is it the truth? What I have seen is a company who has regular people as employees who have made horrific mistakes. However, this company is doing everything it can to remedy these mistakes. There seems to be red tape to jump through, but that isn't the oil companies fault, its the environmentalist and Uncle Sam. So, once again, who's fault is this? Can't we stop placing blame, learn from our mistakes and just clean up the mess?


Whaddya think?

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