- Politics and Social Issues
Why Do We Blame??
It's funny how when something happens we are quick to blame the obvious person or persons. The definition of blame in The American Heritage Dictionary is: 1. To hold responsible. 2. To find fault with; censure. I learned at an early age what it is like to be blamed for something I did not do. In the 3rd grade a girl in my class lost her dime, I was in the desk next to her and she ASSUMED that I took it. The teacher was angry and made her and I clean out our desks. As it turned out the dime was in her desk. Then in the 5th grade I was collecting money from my classmates for a gift for our teacher for her Birthday. I bought her a beautiful Teapot set. The day before I brought the gift some money from the teachers desk turned up missing. Yes I, and only I, was sent to the office the next day when I brought the gift. Circumstantial evidence!! I was devastated that I was blamed. As it turned out she had hid the money in the classroom closet and she found it that very day. I was hurt and embarassed in both situations of course and I did get an apology, but it did not erase that feeling inside of being blamed for something I did not do. And as you can tell I still remember those incidents vividly. This set the pace for my life as to where blame lies.
If you absolutely see someone do the act then yes, without a doubt, that person is to blame. But how can you blame someone by suspicion alone. Many people have gone to prison for something they were blamed for and did not do. I find this very sad. With new technology these days many are being released because of DNA testing. This process is a very valuable tool in the judicial system, not only to the courts but especially to the accused. People are being found guilty on circumstantial evidence by a jury of their peers. I have to tell you, that is a scary thing. All the circumstances say one is guilty and because of that the jury says.
'You're Guilty'. I can only imagine the feelings that person must be going through when accused in a court of law of wrongful doing when in reality they are innocent.
Did you know that, statisticly speaking, there are thousands of innocent people in prison for crimes they did not commit. Having said that, just think of how many of the guilty are walking our streets right now. That should get everyones attention. It is sad that the Supreme Court decided that there should be 'no federal mandate for genetic testing after someone has been convicted'. The federal government and 47 states have laws that allow convicts some access to genetic evidence. Just one simple test, in many cases, can decide whether one will be free or spend the rest of their life in prison, or worse yet the death penalty. Why not allow it? I know I would not want to have it on my head that someone may be innocent, and can be proven easily by testing, but I didn't allow them the chance to prove it. But 9 people that have never and probably will never, meet these human beings seeking proof of their innocence, decide the future of the lives of thousands of people.
I know that I have been blamed for many things I didn't do. It is a terrible feeling, knowing in my heart that I didn't do it or say it, yet others think I did. The truth has always came to surface, but in the meantime, people look at you differently. I have been told ' well if you didn't do it you have nothing to worry about ', true. But it doesn't make you feel better when people close to you doubt you or don't trust you. I have had family and friends come to me with 'I know without a doubt so and so did it'. I ask them ' did you see them, did they tell you they did it, is there a camera that proves it?' When they say ' well, no', I tell them ' then do not blame someone for what you do not know to be the truth. How would like for someone to blame you without proof? It is no day in the park.' Many of us are quick to blame, my first thought is what if it was me? Let's get the real facts first, keep an open mind and don't be so quick to assume who the guilty party is. You know what they about assuming, it makes an ASS of U and ME!
My Grandmother, wise woman that she was, used to tell me, ' Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.' And I apply that when a situation arises where someone is being blamed. Many times I have seen things and thought ' oh my gosh ', but as I got closer, I realized it wasn't what I was seeing at all, but something totally different. I cannot tell you how many times this statement has rang true to me. People, all my life, have told me things about others and I have thought 'Ok , well I will just see for myself.' I take no one at their word when they are speaking negatively or positively about someone. I just sit back and see for myself. Do you remember the old game where 12 or so people sit in chairs and the first person whispers something to the next and it goes down the line, by the time it gets to that 12th person and is spoke out loud it isn't even close to the original words spoke. There is a lesson to be learned there.
So why do we blame? Because of a persons character, the lifestyle that they live, because we think they did it, because it is a feeling we have, because of circumstantial evidence, because who else could it be? Remember you cannot tell a book by it's cover. Many people have had their good name ruined because of simple blame, had their lives turned upside down, had family members and friends turn their backs on them. Why, because someone THOUGHT they were the respnsible party. Then word of mouth sets in and the person, good or bad, is all but doomed, till the truth comes out and then people feel like fools because they jumped to quickly to blame. But the damage is done and trust is lost.
So next time you think you see something or hear something or you suspect someone is guilty, STOP and THINK, what if it was me? Wouldn't I want the benefit of the doubt, wouldn't I want people to be fair and get the facts first? I know I absolutely would, as I have been there in a minimal sense. And I can only imagine the feeling and panic of being accused of something big, that I did not do, and going in front of a jury of my peers, only to be found guilty. So let's not be so quick to judge, lest we be judged.