2004-12-28

The Principle of Expanding Culpability

Every time someone gets bell-tower syndrome and picks off college students, or loses it and drowns her children, or commits any other hideous act, apologists and the media, not to mention defense lawyers, love to dredge up that individual's past. They point out molestation by Uncle Jack, or savage beatings at the hands of Cousin Earl, or anything else that may be able to put the blame on someone else. And to be honest, if you molest your son and he grows up and molests other little boys, you do bear some of the blame.

But here's the thing: if you were molested as a kid and you go out and molest someone else's kid, your history doesn't make it any less your fault!

Here's the Principle of Expanding Culpability in a nutshell: There is always enough blame to go around. If I commit a heinous crime, the responsibility is 100% mine, and at the same time could be a little bit my father's fault, if he had abused me, or the LAPD's fault if they wrongfully arrested me 50 times, or anyone else's. But it's still 100% mine.

07 Jan 2005:
As a poster who calls himself Roadkill Coyote put it (much better than I did):

The person who committed the crime, is responsible for the crime.

The person or persons who laid the groundwork for the crime, or made it more likely, are responsible for just that, a seperate, individual wrong that they committed before the fact.

There really are two wrongs here, and its our current, modern, sloppy thinking that tries to roll them in to one negation, if not right.

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