Well known fact: America is a very litigious country. We have more lawyers per capita than most industrialized countries. Lawyers advertise non-stop about representing you (#on the HURT-LINE# is one example) if you or a loved one is injured in any way, shape or form. So of course, Americans have become conditioned to avoid accepting responsibility for any of their actions.
Former Massachusetts Gov and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney even wrote a best selling memoir titled “No Apology”. President George W. Bush, when asked if there was anything about his years in office he regretted doing, could not think of a darned thing.
So should this mother be held responsible for:
a) Electing to bring her four children to a zoo on arguably the zoo’s busiest day of the year?
b) Losing track of her brood since she was too busy using her cell phone to snap photos?
c) Not realizing her 3-year-old climbed the zoo fence and walked straight into the Gorilla enclosure and a 15 foot drop?
Of course not.
In the same way that the parents of Columbine students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold should not be held accountable for their kids’ possession of assault weapons, explosives and internet access, in the killing of 13 people.
In the same way that Adam Lanza’s mom should not be responsible for allowing her deeply-troubled 20 year-old to own and shoot assault weapons as a hobby. Her affinity for shooting and his love of guns brought them closer together, until he shot her dead in her bed before executing 20 school-aged children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.
Accidents happen. Parenting is hard. I know. I have helped raise two boys and am fortunate they have turned out great. But I have seen too many individuals have kids, adopt pets, and take care of others who probably should never be allowed to do any of it.
Accidents happen… and the chances of these happening increase with the number of distractions in our lives. Dependents requiring care (kids & parents), caring for pets, looking down on mobile devices, under impairment of drugs & alcohol, driving in heavy traffic, surrounded by crowds, by mobs, in stadiums, …any of these scenarios invite accidents to happen.
We must accept responsibility for our actions and for those who depend on us. We must exercise good judgement when we know that others in our care or supervision wholly depend on us for their livelihood and health.