Individual Responsibility: A Lost Concept

When an individual hurts another, or perhaps many others, it is not the fault of that person; it is society’s fault, or the government’s fault, or some ideological or religious affiliation’s fault. It is not, however, the fault of the individual who actually did the deed. Does that sound like an absurd statement? Well, we obviously live in the era of absurdity.

When a racist freak with a bowl cut murdered nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, it was not the freak’s fault, it was the Confederate Flag’s fault. When a psychopath shot up a military base it was not his fault, it was the FBI’s fault. After all, he was “on their radar” so why did they do nothing? Maybe they should just imprison everyone on their radar. When a Jihadi terrorist, born and raised in this country, shot up a night club, it was not his fault, but the fault of over a Billion people of a particular religion. When the drug dealer in Chicago killed his rival on a corner it was not his fault, it was the gun’s fault. This is what it has come to.

At what point did the individual who chooses to do harm become a misunderstood victim of society instead of what he really is: a monster? This trend reflects something deeply seated in this disastrous generation: the complete and utter lack of individual responsibility. When a monster strikes we immediately look for the reason “why?” Because it must be the fault of something other than the individual who did the deed. If it was his fault, then that is an admission that my own mistakes and misdeeds, no matter how comparatively minor, are my fault. We can’t have that. There must be a reason for the transgression beyond human weakness or inherent evil. How can a snowflake be inherently evil? What a scary thought!

Certainly the reason for the monster’s actions are a result of this oppressive society we live in, you know, the most equal, most secure, most soft society in the history of mankind that is the present. Sure, there is still racism, there is still inequality, there is still oppression; but a fraction of what there was decades ago yet our rate of mass murderers has increased although homicide in general has decreased. Apparently it is a privileged white society’s fault that the white male who is a looser living in his mother’s basement and mad at the world goes on a rampage at the university. Apparently it is a fractured black community’s fault that the gangster in the inner city does drive-by shootings against rivals.

Apparently it is the Neo Nazis’ fault. It is gang culture’s fault. It is religion’s fault. It is a flag’s fault. It is a book’s fault. It is a video game’s fault. It is rap music’s fault. It is heavy metal’s fault. It is a drug’s fault. It is the gun’s fault. It is racism’s fault. It is poverty’s fault. It is the liberals’ fault. It is the conservatives’ fault. It used to be Obama’s fault. Now it is Trump’s fault. Apparently it is the fault of anything and everything EXCEPT the individual’s fault.

No, sorry, it is that person’s fault. And, yes, when you screw up, it is your fault too.