COLUMBIA — If I had a dozen mentally competent children over the age of 21, each of them would have to take responsibility for his or her own behavior. There is simply no way I would try to expect members of society to take responsibility for them.
I am admittedly an old-fashioned person. I was brought up on a foundation of strong discipline, and I have never had any reason to regret it. Even as a small child, I was prepared to go out into the world and take responsibility for myself.
I understood that if I or others had an obsession with violent firearms, I could not accuse the National Rifle Association for my obsession. If I was addicted to alcohol, I could not blame the alcohol industry. If I became addicted to pornography, I would not blame porno pushers. If I became involved in drugs, illicit drug dealers would not be at fault. I would be the responsible person, and I would have to take the responsibility.
These were lessons that I was taught as a child. I didn’t have a way out, the buck stopped with me. I learned when I was growing up that it was easy enough to blame Congress and the president for everything that goes wrong in America. If a person cannot control the people of their own household, they have the right and responsibility to call law enforcement. Unfortunately, we have gotten to the point where we are willing to blame someone else for every wrongdoing an individual commits.
We have arrived at a dangerous place in our democracy. We have arrived at the place where we want to have freedom of choice in the use of our constitutional rights, but we must ask ourselves if we fully understand and are we willing to accept the ultimate responsibility for that freedom of choice.
Every year during hunting season, our local newspapers treat us to photos of young children showing off their hunting skills, with dead animals they have bagged. Do these young people’s parents keep their guns in a safe place away from their children when they are not in use? Have these young children been taught how to use these weapons safely? If one requires that kind of information, it’s considered meddling.
On the other hand, we can just keep swinging by our arms to wave out to anyone willing to take responsibility for whatever social dilemmas we have allowed to develop on our watch. And by the time we find someone willing to take blame, we’ll probably all be dead and silenced for all time.
For people who are unable as parents or relatives to take responsibility for their own, then maybe society needs to provide “parenting classes” for anyone who needs them. This could be another tool provided to law enforcement as a means of resolving problems by helping to determine the identity of the person responsible for solving the problem. Maybe people have forgotten who is supposed to solve problem.
Violent video games and violent movies are very popular to some people as they earn large sums of money for the producers. No citizen is required to play the games.
In the end, we all have to decide whether we want to be a free society or a society under caretakers. We’ll either have to be responsible for ourselves or put somebody else in charge.
You be the judge.
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.