I read the news every day, or at least as much of the news as I can stomach. I like to know what's going on in my community and in the world, at least to a point. What I wish I wouldn't be exposed to is exactly how stupidly some of us act, and how terrible the results of our stupidity can be.
In a town near where I live, two boys were fooling around in a high school locker room with an aerosol body spray and a lighter. One boy directed some spray at the other, lit it, and set him on fire. I doubt that there was any malicious intent, but since the boys are each fourteen years old, wouldn't they know that what they were doing might be dangerous? In the aftermath of this nonsense, someone volunteered the observation that the boy who had been set on fire had consented to or invited the act. So? Even if that is true, is it relevant? Would any reasonably intelligent person do something that might endanger another simply because the other asked him to?
Well, yes, I guess many people would do just that. They shouldn't. They should think matters through first. But people do stupid things all the time.
Why do people do stupid things? Because the direct line between cause and effect has been blurred. Nothing is any individual's fault any more. When someone fails, it is not he or she that is responsible, it is our fault, the rest of us, for allowing it to happen. Perhaps the admonition "Do not use this product to set your friends on fire" wasn't displayed on the aerosol can. Perhaps it was displayed, but wasn't printed in red ink so that it would really stand out. Maybe it was the school's fault because they didn't have signs at each entrance way stating that on school property no aerosol cans of any type are allowed.
Maybe I am just too stupid to 'get it.' After all, boys will be boys, right?
This isn't a diatribe against tomfoolery. I was a teenage boy once. I did stupid things. I hurt myself more times than I would care to admit here, doing things that were dangerous and ill-advised. I didn't, however, hurt someone else.
This isn't a diatribe against anything other than the fact that we can't seem to realize that more rules, more regulations, more laws, bigger punishments -- none of these are going to protect us from ourselves or keep us from hurting others. And above all, we should stop trying to deflect blame from or excuse the behaviour of idiots.
Perhaps I should restrict my exposure to the world outside to the Sunday Funnies and episodes of the Simpsons. At least there, the problems aren't real and can be solved with the stroke of a brush or pen.