Responsibility.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week.  Besides fighting the plague (or whatever is going around), there really hasn’t been much to joke or laugh about recently.

I haven’t addressed any of these situations (Imus/Rutgers/Sharpton, Duke Lacrosse Case, Virginia Tech) until now because I wanted to gain some more perspective as the flames of immediacy cooled.

I will never claim to be 100% up-to-date on current events.  I read the newspaper, watch the news, click on cnn.com, but I’m not a “news-junkie.”  What follows is my personal opinion.

These three sad instances have one common thread, as I see it: responsibility or the lack thereof.

– Imus vs. Rutgers (f/Sharpton) – Imus and his producers made stupid, irresponsible remarks.  However, their show exists to shock people and create controversy.  When you play with fire regularly, there’s a chance you’re going to get burned.  That, however, does not excuse the tasteless comments.

What I found most offensive (as a white male), was not the quasi-racist or sexist view of the comment.  Rather, it was the total lack of who these players were.  Terrible.

On the flip side, I feel that the team has the responsibility to take the comments in stride.

A low-rated, aging radio personality said something anachronistic and stupid.  Express your disappointment and move on.

One player said something along the lines of being scarred forever by this.  I agree whole-heartedly with Jason Whitlock, a fairly-controversial African-American sports columnist, who basically said the Imus is irrelevant.  None of the players had ever heard of Imus before!

I’m not saying let it slide.  But put everything into perspective.  Imus doesn’t matter.  A shock jock was shocking.  Obviously, though, he crossed the line.

– Duke Lacrosse Team – Man, if there ever is a bigger case of botched responsibility, I’d never want to see it.

Apparently, the team had several run-ins with campus rule enforcement and was a hair away from “double-secret probation.”  So what did they do?  Hire a stripper for their big party!   Idiots.

The stripper falsely accused them of crimes she either 1) knew they didn’t commit or 2) was so under the influence to as not know.  Again, botched responsibility to the truth in conversations with police.

The coach was fired before the case was resolved.  Huge mistake.  Unless, there were conversations about team behavior beforehand.  I don’t know.  I can’t say.

The season was suspended.  Again, I don’t know enough about their prior run-ins against the rules.  This may have been perfectly acceptable.  Or another snap-decision in a series of them.

However, the biggest bastardization of responsibility came from the district attorney, Mike Nifong.  He recklessly pursued charges against the players without a shred of evidence against them.

In all, the players showed a lack of responsibility by hiring the stripper.
But everyone around them dropped the ball even worse.

Ever wonder what Imus would have to say about the stripper?

– Virginia Tech – Cold-blooded.  Horrendous.  Chilling.  This event will probably shatter the bubble of protection on college campuses around the nation.

I was a sophomore in college during 9/11.  Nothing felt the same after that.  It was a real-world slap in the face that left an enduring scar.

This massacre will probably have a similar effect on th e current generation of college students.  And my heart goes out to them.

The big discussion over the past several days has been what motivated the murderer?  What forms of media influenced him?

OK.  This is where I go off.

No amount of video games, movies, DVDs, CDs, books, TV shows or magazines will convince a well-adjusted person to commit heinous crimes against fellow human beings.

The responsibility for this lies squarely on the shoulders of his family, who either ignored major warning signs or failed to provide the right environment for their son.

I am personally sick and tired of hearing video games and movies used to justify or explain violent crimes.  Violent crimes happened well before any mass media was around.  The problem is that nobody put everything into perspective for this poor soul who felt his only method of self-expression was to go on a genocidal, suicidal rampage.

All three of these cases, tied together by failed responsibility, present a sad state of affairs in our country right now.  People opening fire, with words and semi-automatics.  People lying, to themselves and to the public.   People abusing their situation, be it a public forum or a public office.

What can we do to stop it?

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