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The Anatomy of Willful Blindness: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on August 16, 2013

Willful blindness (sometimes called ignorance of law, willful ignorance or contrived ignorance or Nelsonian knowledge) is a term used in law to when an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts that would render him liable.

From Wikipedia

A Scenario

It’s been a tough day and you are dead-dog tired. Eight hours of teaching and three hours of coaching have you drained physically and emotionally, and all you really want to do it go home, have a beer, and maybe watch some of the basketball game.

As you are conducting your final check of the gymnasium you turn into the bathroom area and there is an assistant coach having sexual relations with a ten year old boy.

Shocked, you go home, tell your wife what you have seen, and you both agree that you need to tell someone in authority the next day. You rise early the next morning and head to school where you tell the head coach about the incident. He tells you he will handle it. About a week later you are called in for a meeting with the school administration and you again tell your story. They thank you for the report and say they will handle it.

And that’s where the story dies because nothing was done by the administration or by the head coach.

Willful blindness, and it happens much more than any of us want to believe.

We were all shocked by the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State University….or were we? Anyone who follows the news has heard of the veritable flood of sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church and the cover-ups in that institution. Anyone familiar with the history of the military realizes that willful blindness occurs, and anyone familiar with the history of major corporations in America is aware of willful blindness.

Perhaps this is a larger problem than we want to believe.

Source

The Video

An Interesting Case Study

I recently watched a Ted Talks video about a whistleblower in the small town of Libby, Montana. You can watch the entire video to the right if you have fourteen minutes to spare. I think you will find it fascinating.

To summarize for you, the story is about Libby, Montana, a small city in the northwest corner of the state where the economy for years has been centered around mining and most notably the mining of vermiculite.

Gayla Benefield is a resident of Libby, and over the course of working her job as a meter reader for the local utility company she noticed a large percentage of older men sitting in their living rooms breathing from oxygen tanks. With her curiosity now on full alert she began investigating and she discovered that the mortality rate in Libby is 80 times higher than the United States average.

Well it turned out that vermiculite was a key component of asbestos, the same asbestos that miners had been breathing for decades; the same asbestos that was used in paving roads and parking lots around Libby; and the same asbestos that leaked into the soil all around town.

Shocked, Ms. Benefield started telling people about her discovery, and her news fell not only on deaf ears but totally uninterested ears. People simply didn’t want to know, and of course the city officials and mine officials denied any knowledge of it.

But she wouldn’t give up, and eventually she gained the interest of the Federal government, and yes, eventually changes were made and lawsuits were won.

Source

WHISTLEBLOWERS

It is mentioned time and time again in the video that Ms. Benefield was just a normal person, just your average citizen going about her life, who was suddenly confronted with a situation she could not rationalize away and certainly not ignore.

She was just like you and me, and just like your neighbors down the street, and yet she was so much more.

As the producers of this film did their research they began to formulate a picture of this thing called willful blindness, and they decided that people practice willful blindness for one of several different reasons:

  • They are afraid of the consequences
  • They do not want to get involved
  • They believe it is none of their business
  • They are apathetic

Whatever the reason for the inaction, the leaders of Libby knew for decades that the vermiculite was causing health problems and they chose to remain silent, and like the Jerry Sandusky case, we really should not be shocked.

In fact, I am willing to bet that each one of you reading this can think of a situation you have either been involved in or witnessed from afar of people turning a blind eye when confronted with evidence of wrongdoing.

Let’s Go One Step Further

This is a fascinating subject if you think about it. People are fully aware that they are eating modified foods and that most foods sold in grocery stores contain dangerous chemicals, and yet they go ahead and eat them AND feed them to their children. People are fully aware that certain activities are bad for the environment and yet they go ahead and do them. People are fully aware that drinking and driving is a dangerous undertaking and yet they remain silent when their neighbor drives home drunk after work, and people are fully aware that spousal abuse is against the law and wrong and yet they remain silent when they see the bruises on the housewife next door.

Exaggerations? I think not and neither do you!

When I think of things like willful blindness my thoughts automatically return to my childhood and teen years. How could they not? Most of the important lessons I learned about life I learned during those first nineteen years, and rarely does a day go by when I don’t hear my mom or dad whispering in my ear from afar, teaching me lessons of right and wrong.

There was not an ounce of willful blindness in my dad. He saw wrong and confronted it. Period, no ifs, ands or buts, do not pass go and do not collect $200, that man was as black and white as you could ever hope to meet. There was no wiggle room for self-justifying meanderings of moral b.s…..if it was wrong then you right it. If someone could not stand up for themselves and defend themselves then you did it for them. If the bully was harming others then you harmed the bully. It was Old Testament justice from a man who wouldn’t recognize a Bible if you hit him over the head with it, and you had better believe those lessons sunk in with this boy.

Listen, I’m not a saint, but I understand all too well that once you turn a blind eye on an injustice, that action will slowly eat you alive from the inside out for the rest of your life, and I for one have no desire to live that way, being devoured by a parasite of my own making.

And yet so many do!

It’s none of my business.

Never mind; let them handle it.

Don’t get involved.

Pay no attention and it will all go away eventually.

Really? Is that any way to live?

You Just Knew I Would Give My Opinion

This kind of willful ignorance chafes my butt. How’s that for eloquent?

Let me take that one step further. If you are a part of this type of behavior then you should be ashamed.

Over the eighteen years that I taught school I know of five children who were abused at home. No, I have no proof of the abuse, but anyone who has ever been a teacher will agree with me that you just know. There are signs in the behavior of a child that figuratively scream abuse, and once faced with those signs you are enraged and deeply saddened.

In any school system in America, there are steps that must be taken so that the school is not legally “liable” of wrongdoing. Just writing those words starts my blood boiling.

So we see the signs, we become suspicious, and we notify our superiors. They tell us to fill out forms, keep a record of what it is we see, and present it at the next faculty meeting. That meeting comes and goes, reports are filed and the school counselor is informed, and at that point the problem is in his/her hands. They meet with the child, do their evaluation and write up their report. Of course the child denies any wrongdoing because there is no way they are going to speak out against their abusive parent, so the whole thing dies in an avalanche of paperwork and red tape.

I am still haunted to this day by the faces of those five children.

To be less than haunted is to be less than human.

Willful blindness is a moral cancer that must be eradicated.

One person at a time….that’s how major changes happen….when the government will not act…when the corporation will not act….when the rest of the public will not act…..

We must act!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

When anyone reaches out for help, I am responsible.
When anyone reaches out for help, I am responsible.

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, good to hear from you and thank you. Your words humble me and I am very appreciative. Obviously I feel very strongly about this subject. When wrongs are ignored we have no one to blame but ourselves. If everyone is blind then who will see the truth?

      Sending blessings to you my friend.

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Good evening Bill.

      A plus Hub, Awesome and interesting.

      More then 15 minutes after reading an viewing before I collected myself to those few words of first sentence. While reading it was like descending deep and deeper into a darkness which felt like sinking into conceptual hell of social system. [Strange, but not funny].

      A turning point happened at the words " willful blindness is a moral cancer that must be eradicated." I believe every word you're saying.

      Growing under a system in which "Pete"- has 'reported' an event and not making home after the shift; when after the next day a colleague who asked what has happen to "Pete" didn't make home either, the rest of the co-workers stopped asking...

      " One person at the time..."

      Memories. Bringing back troublesome scenarios you lived through, came out of your hub description , presenting different american society I was believing to be .

      Returning to those first 15 min., again speechless, my brain sometimes gives up.

      You my friend are in first line, that why you need more God's blessing and protection.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, thank you. You and I would get along quite nicely. I have zero tolerance for whining...and less tolerance for people who will turn away from injustice and not get involved. How do they look at themselves in the mirror and not cringe?

      Thanks my friend!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'm a little confused. What is there to be understanding about? I don't understand people who complain bitterly of their circumstances but do nothing to better it. What do these people want? You want me to change your life? You want me to live it for you? Why? So when things don't go your way up you can say it wasn't your fault. If only he had done this or she hadn't done that, your life would be peachy?

      And I certainly don't understand people who can watch injustice and cruelty and do nothing apart from film it for YouTube.

      Sorry for the rant, but it does annoy me to hear people moan about problems but not offer any suggestions on how to make it better.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, I am so tired of the complaining.....get out there and be a part of the solution or shut up!!! I suppose that isn't very understanding of me. LO Oh well!

      Hey my friend, have a great weekend and thank you!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Willful blindness, Bill, seems to be similar to a virus that has infected the majority of the population in the U.S. Many complain about the faults with this administration, but few 'step up to the plate' to do anything.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sue and yes, that sickens me as well. I don't know what is wrong with people but I wish they would find a little more of their humanity.

      bill

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Bill

      What makes me sick is people who take videos of people being attacked.

      Your reflection hubs always nourish me, body and soul. Thank you my friend.

      Voted up+++ and sharing

      Sue

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, it makes me sick as well, as it should anyone with a conscience. Thank you my loyal friend, and have a wonderful Tuesday in Wales.

      billy

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes that old wilful blindness ;how well we know it and to be honestly it makes me sick !!!

      you have covered every aspect wonderfully here Billy and as always told so naturally as is your way.

      Have a great day and thanks for this read.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Deb, you have more work to do. Having rights is one thing; being allowed to exercise them is a whole different ballgame. Thanks for adding your perspective to this discussion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dennis. I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this important subject.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interestingly, Dianna, many whistleblowers are shunned or actually called names for stirring up the pot and they are called "trouble makers." It's as though nobody wants the status quo to change, even if the status quo causes them harm. I'll never understand it.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      And it is still alive and "well," isn't it. The "good old boys club" resides in Oklahoma, and they have very little respect for women. I am seeing things that I don't like, and you can BET that I'm not ignoring it. It affects every single female in their employ. I won my rights, but I have more work to do...

    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing not only the information about Libby but the topic. It is a topic which needs more exposure and hopefully this hub will accomplish it. I voted up, useful, awesome and interesting along with liking, pinning and tweeting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      It is way too easy for those with the ability to change things to look the other way. Turning the cheek is one thing, but turning your head is another. Sadly, the whistleblower in Libby is to be admired for her determined campaign to change things for the better. Thanks for the reminder that we should stand up for what is right, even if we stand alone.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasma, it is a situation that is not new, but that does not make it alright. :) Thank you for visiting me on your Sunday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, you are always good at reminding me, and others, that there are many good people out there that we should concentrate on. Thank you for that and I hope the medical issues have been resolved.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      A very sad picture you paint indeed. People have become more involved with themselves than ever before and turned a deaf ear toward others in need and help. Passing this on.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Bill,

      Have had two medical issues with family this week and really on the sam day, such is life, so just now able to get here.

      Woo, I cannot even imagine for one second not stepping up and saying anything, something, especially when children are involved!!! One will see "Faith Reaper's" horns come out then for sure ...

      I believe it is pure apathy, and so sad for this world. It is a world of self-centered people ... only being concerned with oneself seems to be the going thing here of late. However, I do know of many countless wonderful loving people who care deeply for others.

      Bless you for writing this article. You're the best.

      Hugs and love, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LK, I have heard that before, or a variation of it, in explaining the way many police officers deal with the atrocities of their jobs....many end up becoming cold, dispassionate, withdrawn....survival instincts all. And the worst that society becomes the more we see this type of blindness....so yes, I do think it is to a certain extent. :)

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 4 years ago

      Bill,

      Without getting into too much detail I was answering an academic study about the Jewish Holocaust last evening. Then I remembered your thoughtful passionate HUB and wanted to comment. Do you think that willful blindness is a human survival mechanism? Most of us would be overwhelmed with grief, horror, anger, despair if we consciously had to deal with the atrocities of genocide, starvation, torture. How else can we ever justify looking away?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. It will always remain a mystery to me, but that doesn't mean I have to be silent about it. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, I am an observer of life......sometimes I wish I could shut it all off, but it overwhelms me most of the time. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I will stand at my post until I can't stand any longer. As a society we have to return to some old-fashioned principles of right and wrong, and stand up against the wrong every single time we see it.

      Thank you Dora and I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LaDena, I will never understand it either. I don't know how someone can look in a mirror without being disgusted of themselves when they turn their heads and refuse to see injustice.

      Hopefully there are many more out there who are like you and me. :)

      Thank you my teacher friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crafty, what an incredible story. Amazing that the manager was so concerned with image and not concerned with the well-being of a child. Good for you my friend. That adrenal rush is something, isn't it? I've had the same before and I don't even recognize who I am. I think there is a great deal more cave man in us than we want to admit.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I am heartened by your story.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      Great article with so many good points. I don't understand how someone could see a child being abused and turn the other way. I think most everything has already been said in the great comments and I'm glad you wrote about this situation. Up and awesome.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      You are so connected with the world and its issues. Awesome hub.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      You raise yet another important issue. I agree that cover ups happen more often than we want to believe. We have to be more active in right actions. Your observations are not falling on all deaf ears. Thanks for standing at your post!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I knew I was preaching to the choir with this one but I had to write it anyway. If we could just bottle a little humanity and sell it we could make a million bucks and travel.

      Have a great weekend, and your hugs and blessings are heading your way.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been fixing a washing machine and cussing a lot this afternoon. LOL

      I have nothing to add to what you have said. I just wish we had about 100 million more busybodies like you in this country. :)

      Thank you and have a great weekend.

      bill

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Bill - You have been reading my mind again! I can't understand how someone can witness an injustice and just and do nothing about it - how can they live with themselves. I am a quiet, shy, stick to myself kind of person - but if I see someone being abused, or wronged in any way, something inside me changes...I am then not afraid to stand up for what is right - and I have done so many times. I have reported abuse so many times that CPS know my name....I have reported when I have been told by my superiors to ignore what is going on...I have reported when parents have threatened me with violence and with the loss of my job...if I believe that abuse has occurred...I report it...and stood up to those parents who have threatened me...

      I refuse to sit back and let bad things happen and can't understand why - if I can do my small part - can't other people do something. Me...frightened of my own shadow at times...will stand up...so what is their excuse?

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Excellent article. And now it's confirmed! I know we are cut from the same cloth. Your father sounds like my grandfather. In fact, after reading the intro here, I would have taken it one step further and taken the teacher aside for a little tough love of my own if I had witnessed him raping a student. (But not everyone had boxing lessons in their younger days).

      The old-school thinking is that "two wrongs don't make a right". These days, "what's good is evil and what's evil is good".

      I've always stepped up and spoke my mind, especially when it comes to child abuse. When I was a teenager, I worked in a retail store. I was straightening out shelved stock one day when a couple came down my aisle wheeling their small 1-year-old in the cart.

      The father became enraged by the mother. He then in an unthinkable impulsive act, picked up the child out of the seat and threw him face first on the floor. I don't know what jumped in to me that day. Without thinking, I ran over and power drove the guy to the ground and proceeded to give him an old fashioned whoopin like no one's business.

      Customers around me ran to get the manager who proceeded to tell me I was fired. The guy was a coward and tried to hit me back. Again, thank goodness I learned how to box. I protected myself from his every blow, still shaking to this day thinking about the adrenal rush I felt from the unnerving situation I witnessed. The little baby layed on the floor blue. My manager refused to call the police and no ambulance came. The couple drove away with the lifeless child never to be seen again. The man drove off with a bloody lip and black eye.

      Customers had heart for the child and demanded that my manager not fire me. They insisted they would have done the same but I took care of it for them. I wasn't expecting hero of the day reward. I just couldn't believe my manager felt I deserved to be fired but refused to call the police or any ambulance. Times have certainly changed.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Sadly there are those who turn a blind eye to that which they do not wish to become involved in for whatever reason probably the ones you mentioned.

      Sadly too there have been those who saw something that was wrong and reported it and ended up losing their jobs and being burned at the stake figuratively.

      I am one of those meddlesome Marys who often will speak up or get involved because I haven't learned any better!! Not every time...shame on me...and there really are no buts to explain why not

      Great hub, Bill.

      Many Angels are on the way to you and yours this weekend. ps

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Thanks for being our vocal conscience, Bill! Turning a blind eye to abuse of any kind, to social injustics, to corporate irresponsiblity for the sake of profit--these things won't go away if people act like ostriches. They will only worsen.

      I've been such an outspoken person for so long that it's a miracle someone hasn't knocked my block off for it, but I'm too stubborn to keep quiet about things that should not be happening. Years ago I defended a friend whose husband not only physically abused her but threatened her with a gun. Lucky I didn't get shot that time!

      I don't know how people who stick their heads in the sand and pretend problems don't exist live with themselves. How do they sleep at night?

      There are probably many who consider me an old busybody, and I may get my block knocked off yet. But I won't keep quiet. Neither will you, Bill. Nor will the other HP writers/readers who follow your conscience-prodding messages and agree with what you write. We may be a small group, but we will be LOUD!

      Have a great weekend, my friend.

      Voted Up+++

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Joe! I hope this finds you better medically. A bit cryptic, you, but I trust all is well now.

      As always, thank you. I want to be a beacon of hope and of raising awareness. A light must be shined on problems; otherwise we all remain in the dark and that, my friend, is beneath us all.

      Have a peaceful weekend my friend.

      Aloha,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have not heard that story, Martin, but I'll look it up. Thank you!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Bill!

      Had a bit of a medical scare recently, and that's why I'm late in responding. I'm thankful for your understanding, Bill.

      Your writing is addictive to me. I love how your mind works and the professional precision with which you dress up your thoughts and send them off to the big Hubsville Parade each day for all of us to enjoy. I read your hubs like a newbie movie director watches great films.

      This particular hub addresses the apathy that is growing like an epidemic. Before the Industrial Age, people spent a great deal of time helping neighbors out. It's ironic that the advance of civilization equates with a lessening of human interaction and solid connections. Today, we show we like someone by clicking on a silly gizmo.

      Thank you, my friend, for shining a huge flashlight on a problem that sadly so many of us--and I am guilty of it just like the next person, to one degree or another--pretend isn't there...the problem of willful blindness.

      Among the many wonderful things that you do, Bill, I'm thankful you're a leading social activist here on HP.

      A commendable hub, indeed, worth rating highly and shared with our friends who may yet be in the dark.

      Aloha!

      ~Joe

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Ever hear the story of the goats and the sheep?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Express, as long as I live I will never understand the willingness to allow injustice to happen without stepping in and doing something. The only thing that keeps me positive about these matters is knowing there are others, like you, who feel as I do.

      Thank you for weighing in on this.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      Amen, Amen, and Amen again! I've noticed this trait in many people and it's sad. I have pushed a couple people away from me due to this very trait in serious circumstances, these types are not to be trusted. Tacit approval in illegal/unethical activities is never a good thing.

      Seeing this in action can make one truly wonder and worry about the people in their neighborhoods, places of work, study, and churches. For example, if I knew a child or anyone was being abused or threatened I would do SOMETHING. Those who say it's "none of their business" are often the ones who want someone to save them from the very things they may have been willfully blind to.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, I think those of us who have had to deal with abuse are much more likely to do something about it. Once you have seen the pain and raw emotions it kind of badges you for life as someone who cannot turn away from injustice.

      I respect you more now than I did ten minutes ago, and that's saying quite a bit.

      Have a great weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are asking the wrong person. I will never understand this lack of action when a wrong is being committed. Personally I would have grabbed the bus driver and taught him a lesson about responsibility. :) Thank you, Ruby; you are so appreciated.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      How could anyone not report abuse when they know it is happening? This reminds me of the story of the child on the school bus who was being punched and kicked by four boys while the school bus driver sat and watched, never once did he attempt to intervene. Thank's for reminding us to act when we see cruelty against the innocent.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      Better late than never.

      I'm sure you were worried about me. LOL Here I am!!

      I have been on both ends of this story, and neither had a good

      ending.

      I found your article quite disturbing, because it rubbed old scab wounds.

      With old age comes more gall and less tolerance. Today, I am

      just outspoken enough to get in the middle of a mess. There are just far too many ass holes in this world, and I am tired of

      them! Common decency and human compassion left the country years ago.

      Let me go to the bathroom and get a fresh glass of ice tea, and I will join forces with you!

      Seriously, I have provided shelter and food for women and children who had to escape from abusive situations. It is a no brainer. You just open your home and heart and give the encouragement that is needed.

      Bill, you come up with the most compelling issues. Making people aware and responsible is a commendable act. You are certainly opening eyes and awareness. And, that is where the change can occur.

      Great article, but it surely stirred up some bad memories.

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, I couldn't agree with you more. I doubt many would want to hear that but I think it's the truth.

      Thanks for the visit and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill, and obviously I agree. I appreciate you taking time from your busy life to stop by; have a wonderful weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, if we all tried to do something about it there would be nothing to do anything about. :) Thanks for stopping by and being the person you are. Have a great weekend.

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 4 years ago from Sacramento

      I think this goes way beyond corporations and moral situations like the kids in your class. I think most Americans practice willful blindness about a variety of things, from what's in the food we eat to what we're doing to our planet. It's easier not to think about it.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Well put Bill. There is just way too much apathy now a days. People need to step up and take some responsibility for righting wrongs when they witness something. Great message Bill. Have a great weekend.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      I try my best to keep an eye on things. Well, I don't walk around looking for every little thing, but when I do see something wrong, I at least try to do something about it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, I think we know each other very well. I was able to follow your comment and I understood all of it. LOL Siblings from a different set of parents for sure. :) Thanks hon; drop by any old time.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I totally agree...it is a crime. Who is going to protect the children if we don't? And yet so many don't want to get involved in the personal lives of someone else.....yes my friend, it is a crime.

      blessings to you always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, interestingly enough we had the same thing happen over here...a guy named Bob Barker hosted a game show called "The Price Is Right" and he got away with sexual harassment for decades and nobody said anything because he was so popular in the ratings. I simply do not understand it.

      Thanks for being here Nell, and I hope things are better for you soon with the house situation.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, it's always nice having you stop by. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm willing to bet we all have similar stories we could tell because willful blindness is an epidemic in society. Mind your own business, keep your head in the sand, and maybe the ugliness will go away.....well no, it won't go away, it only multiplies, until someone does something about it.

      Thank you dear friend.

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Turning a blind eye is so common these days, it's shocking. I think that in many instances, people see so much injustice going on in Washington that it seems like they'd be entering the boxing ring in a straightjacket. I saw something the other day where six liberal congress members signed a petition against a bill that would protect people against investment schemes. I obviously don't know the whole story, but of course these congresspeople are getting kickbacks for their votes. That kind of thing is just so discouraging. Anyway, I'm not sure that has anything to do with what we're talking about here, but you know how I work. I'm not siding with willful blindness--you know I hate that crap--I just often wonder why people keep their heads in the sand and this is what I come up with. Ok, I'm done.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Funnily enough, I recently completed some training about vulnerable children, and recognizing the different type of abuse.

      The images was so shocking, although I was aware that child abuse was a reality for many children, when faced with the harrowing images, knowing that behind each one was a real child, I felt sick. I kept repeating "oh God No" and yet; there are enough people who must have known, or suspected but thought it was none of their business as they calmly walk away. In a world where such terrible atrocities can happen, willful blindness is a crime.

      Another excellent write from the heart.

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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi bill, I thought this recently over here with all the scandal about Jimmy Saville, tv personality for over 50 years, after he died so many women came forward and said he had 'Harassed them' won't go into detail in a comment, but you get the picture, and along with him many other tv personalities have been arrested too concerning over 50 years! it seems that this was the trouble back then, hide it in the cupboard and it will go away! my grandad on my mums side got involved in an altercation with a guy back years ago when he was hitting his wife, all hell broke loose but he could have turned away, but he didn't I still say good on him!

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      How this strikes a chord with me too as it has with many others like dear Shauna. Turning the other cheek is like a social disease that needs curing and starts with each of us in every corner of the world. I saw saw so much of this in Turkey, a country I love and it was horrific. European women married to Turks being beaten up. my good friend marie was one case which I was in ear shot of hearing and was up like a flash to go and stop her husband beating the daylights out of her. All around me just sat there. My boyfriend included telling me it was not the done thing, not our problem. Not our problem?? This was a friend of his who was screaming in pain, not his problem?? I insisted he go and see or I was so he did. next day Marie would not answer the door to me, take my calls. When I did see her she was covered from head to toe in bruises, cuts and how she was not in the hospital I do not know. Why did she get the beating? She had been having a drink of coffee with me on her way home from their restaurant.

      Another area many know the dangers but chose to ignore them anyway is the ingredients in commercial brands of hygiene and beauty products, some of which are life threatening. Thanks Bill for tackling this issue head on, we need to change our mentality rapidly.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, that is such an important example you just gave, and bravo to your son for doing the right thing. This sort of thing happens daily, and many of us see it on a regular basis. Who is going to stand up for the weak if not us? Bev did the same thing in the parking lot of a grocery store a few weeks ago. I already loved her but now I adore her. :)

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I like to think I'd be a whistleblower and it is in my children that I know I've taught them the same. We were at an eatery in Philadelphia a few months back and next to us were a husband, wife, small son and baby. As the mother was changing the baby the father was knocking the soda out of his sons hand then yelling at him for dropping the soda. When he grabbed his son's arm, my 37 year old son stood up and said, "leave him alone, what's wrong with you?" Of course the man started yelling at my son but stopped what he was doing. (Quite an argument ensued between my son and this man but not enough space here to go into it.) As we left my son approached a security guard and told him to watch that man and the way he was handling his son. Did it make a difference? We'll never know but at least my son made a small difference it that little boy's life for a few minutes. Did I mention the wife looked relieved when my son called out her husband?

      Even on a small scale we can help others.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, you raise an interesting point. Some whistleblowers are chastised for speaking the truth and making waves in our little safe communities. LOL Safe???? It is a travesty and anyone taking part in a cover up does not deserve the title of "human being."

      Thanks buddy....take care my friend and I hope things get better for you soon.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Drive By Quipper...I love your profile name by the way...and a great comment about Lady Justice. Thank you for that and for stopping by to comment.

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      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      It seems that the overriding feeling in society is that standing up (whistleblowing) is a bad thing. But the truth is that taking a stand against crime or wrongdoing is the only way to maintain a clear conscience and pure heart. Thank you for illuminating this issue Bill. As always you do this so well!

      Mark

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      Drive By Quipper 4 years ago from Wrong Side of Town

      So true. This reminds me . . . before the war of 1812, the bass relief of "Lady Justice" in the supreme court chambers had no blindfold. That one was lost in a fire.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, it is a fascinating dynamic, isn't it? Everyone knows the food they eat is dangerous and still they eat it....the air they breathe is poisoned, as is the water, and still they say nothing. I don't get it. :) Thank you Carol; I hope you have a great weekend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz , I would be money she never forgot it. How could she forget going home crying seemingly every single day? I remember speaking out about it and getting my 4'10" body shoved in the dirt and a few punches tossed in for good measure....bullying is horrible on the poor kids who have to endure it....of course, it isn't just kids now is it? Bullying happens in the workplace as well.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....I'll tell her Paula.

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Tell Bev not to waste time praying when she needs to be saving bail money!

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Bill,

      Ugh- bullying. I was lucky as I don't recall this happening all too often when I was in elementary school, but these days, it breaks my hearts knowing what goes on...and now that kids have access to cell phones, cameras, facebook, etc---I can only imagine how horrifying it is to grow up these days. How sad for that overweight girl that you mentioned. She probably never forgot it!

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Turning the other cheek is an American pastime. People are plagued with many problems today and don't want to face what is going on...who does? However withe the GMO food..I just cringe and refuse to buy food with stuff ...also vegetables suchas zucchini, corn etc are all rearranged in processing. No wonder there are so many sick people out there. And people also are not facing what is going on in our country..Well done as always..

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, the first time I remember is in grade school where other kids were bullying an overweight girl in 4th grade....and others watched it and did nothing.....this kind of thing goes on daily in society, from small instances like the grade school example to huge instances.....sigh!

      Thank you my friend and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, you are most likely right about the situations I mentioned, but it still bothers me. :) Thank you my friend. I'm just made a little differently than those who can see wrongs and ignore them....and I'm thankful that I am different.

      Hey, how is the remodeling coming along?

      Thanks Jackie!

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Strong message Bill and chances are that if any of us turn a blind-eye and it haunts us in our dreams, then we definitely should/should've done something about the situation-whatever that situation might be. I can't recall ever being in a predicament that would cause me to take action, but I suppose if I searched my memory banks carefully, one would probably come up. Powerful message here and voted up. Useful hub as always!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LMAO.....period...the end....damn it!

      Paula, I love you! You make me laugh even when you are on a rant. God, woman, you and I would be hellfire if we ever got together and took up a cause. Bev would sit back and pray we didn't get arrested, all the while she would be making protest posters. LOL

      Seriously my friend, how some people live with themselves after ignoring outrageous acts against humanity is beyond me. It's just not in my DNA to do so, and it certainly isn't in yours.

      Have a great weekend my firebrand friend and thank you.

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      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am totally on a whistle-blowers side and I know first hand that even that does little good. We see it openly in our society today. Everyone sits and takes it, no one stands to fight it. Don't know that it will make you feel any better but had you gone straight to the police over these children it still would probably have done no good. My experience with it is that it just makes the parents be more cautious or maybe more threatening to the children. But we do have to live with we have done all we know to do and at least we tried. ^

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Woo-Hoo! I feel like I've just attended a Rally-A-Fire and am all pumped up. Seriously....oh how my heart sings to hear these things, that I firmly believe with every fiber of my being.....being CLARIFIED and validated by a like-thinking, fellow human being. Thank you, to say the least.

      It is only because we are ALL imperfect, that we are able to recognize the imperfections that exist all around us. But, what we do not do..what we cannot do, is allow repeated, continual & wrongful activities and behavior to be ignored, white-washed and/or swept under the rug. Some one, at some point, must point out the egregious oppression, abuse, deceit........refuse to accept/allow it and take the action(s) needed. I have had my say, in terms of Jerry Scum Bag Sandusky. He has received his due. Done.

      IMHO...In the vast majority of "Whistle-Blower," situations.....these individuals are HEROES , who should be appreciated & admired. Period, the end!.....UP+++ shared & tweeted.....damn it!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, I thank you for talking about your own experience. I am proud to be your friend for the courage you had to stand up for what is right. Well done and again, thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, there are far too many of those cases...I hear about them all the time...and I wonder how those people sleep at night knowing they allowed someone to be beaten?

      Thank you for sharing your experience my friend. Every little bit helps when it comes to raising awareness.

      love,

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Janine. Every teacher knows about what I speak....and in truth, most citizens have seen abuse in one way or another.....and many just don't want to get involved, and I think it is so wrong. Who is going to help the abused if nobody gets involved?

      Have a wonderful weekend as well my friend.

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      ocfireflies 4 years ago

      Powerful! So true! And so FRUSTRATING! Thank YOU for having the courage to confront a subject so much in need of being confronted. I would also add that at one time in my life, I was that crusader, but after so many times having that which I was fighting for held against me, I ran out of steam.

      ocfireflies aka Kim

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, Bill. Vermiculite has asbestos in it? Than why is it used in potting soil? Holy crap, I'm glad I've gone green and no longer buy gardening soils.

      Talk about willfull blindness - several years ago, before I married my second husband, I was dating a guy who was bi-polar. One night we went out. I was dancing as I always do when I go out. On the way home he started bitching me out, so I got out of his truck 2 blocks from my house and walked the rest of the way home. He was waiting for me. He grabbed me, threw me down into the street, sat on top of me and started beating me. I screamed for help. A neighbor across the street (he no longer lives there) opened his front door to see what was going on. Once he did, he closed the door! He didn't even have the decency to call the cops because they never showed up. Finally, I was able to make my way into my house, where I was followed and beaten repeatedly for the next two hours. Somehow, I made it into my bedroom, locked the door and called the cops. They came, the guy was arrested and did time for the crime. I found out about a year later that he was doing time in a neighboring county for doing the same thing to another woman!

      Why do people turn a blind eye? If it were me who saw a woman being beaten in the road I would have done nothing less than call the cops.

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, too many times we turn the other cheek so to speak, but you are right we cannot and should not do this. It takes a strong, willful person to blow the whistle in scenarios like above and I applaud the lady you spoke of. As a former teacher, I remember being told it was my civic duty to report instances of child abuse and even report underage drinking if I happened to be in an establishment that was serving minors. I did have to report child abuse once and I truly tried my best to stay out of the other situations if I could help it, but still knew if I saw it I needed to open my mouth. Thank you for sharing and now wishing you a wonderful weekend.