Not guns. Though I may someday get up on my soapbox about that. I’m talking about fingers.
Why are humans so quick to point blame at other humans? A child fell into a zoo enclosure and zoo authorities did what was necessary to save the child. A child at a beach lagoon at a theme park hotel got close to water and got snatched by an alligator. These are both so, so unfortunate. And sad. A bunch of people are trying to figure out who needs to take responsibility for these incidents. A bunch of people on the internet are taking it upon ourselves to judge parents for things that could happen to any of us.
I know I got lost in stores when I was a child. I know I did things I shouldn’t have been doing. I probably leaned too far over into a zoo enclosure. I probably got too close to water I shouldn’t have been near. But my parents weren’t negligent. I don’t have kids, but from my experience with them, it only takes one second for an accident to happen. One second. A blink of an eye.
It’s easy to point the blame and feel superior when tragedies like these happen. “I would NEVER let my child near the water at that lagoon.” But really, would you have really sensed danger? Alligators can be nearly impossible to see underwater until they strike. “I would NEVER have taken my eyes off my child at the zoo.” Really? You’re going to claim that your eyes are glued to your child every second of every day? I’m interested to know how you sleep at night. Literally, how do you close your eyes and sleep if you don’t take your eyes off your child?
Kids are unpredictable little people who rarely listen the first time they’re told something. My nephew continued to put his fingers in electrical sockets despite us telling him not to until he eventually got a little shock, and that was the end of those experiments.
Our natural inclination is to find the source of the misfortune so we can apply judgment and then move on with our lives, comforted by the fact that the “negligent, bad people” have been punished.
Meanwhile, we’ve got adults doing intentional harm to others around the world. A man walked into a night club with a gun and shot a bunch of people. A politician in Britain has been shot and killed. A young man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a young, unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The sex trafficking trade is booming. People in Syria are fleeing for their lives. A maniacal man with bad hair is working hard to alienate all groups of people in his quest for the Oval Office. And this is only a small portion of all the crap happening in the world.
What if, instead of shaming for tragic accidents, we focused on the actual terror happening in the world? Let’s get fired up about stuff we can change. And let’s rally around the grieving parents who have lost their children to accidents. Let’s rally around the victims. And then let’s work to stop the intentional abuse happening all around us.
Maybe we focus on being less like the Pharisees and more like Jesus. Are we in this together or are we just waiting for the next opportunity to throw a peer under the metaphorical bus (or cast the first stone)?