The daily blame game

Nov 072005
Authors: Megan Schulz

This past week, a 10-year-old boy was mauled by three pit bulls while entering his Aurora backyard. Police don't know where the dogs came from, but the boy apparently entered his backyard after trying to go through the front door. He discovered the front door was locked and no one was home. The boy was in critical condition and suffered severe bite and puncture wounds after neighbors fought to chase the dogs away, according to

Who is to blame in this situation? Should we blame the owners of the pit bulls who left them outside? Perhaps the boy's parents are at fault for not being at home when he got out of school. Certainly, if they were home, he wouldn't have gone through the backyard. Personally, I'd like to blame the historical dog breeders who raised pit bulls for fighting and bull baiting, thus creating a particularly nasty creature. It has to be their fault, right?

This story is just a current example of what we call the "blame game."

I didn't do it. It's not my fault. It happened because of such-and-such reason. These are just instances of the multitude of phrases that we have all become accustomed to hearing and saying. We are all talented at devising these phrases. If there is an undesirable circumstance out there, then we will create an excuse to explain why it isn't our fault.

For example, if I were obese, it wouldn't be my fault. My genetics would be the culprit. The people who invented cars that cause me to drive four blocks instead of walking are also to blame. Finally, McDonald's wouldn't get away unscathed. It would be their fault, too. In fact, I might even sue them. Never mind that I don't exercise and eat right. It's just not my fault.

Another one of my favorite examples is Columbine. Violent video games, Marilyn Manson, and the movie "The Basketball Diaries" – these are the reasons why two boys went on a shooting spree at their school. Their parents didn't raise them correctly. Or, they are mentally ill. It can become exhausting trying to come up with all these arguments. I'm wondering how refreshing it would be if everyone took their blame when blame was due.

Let's put a twist on a modern argument. "I got knocked up because the condom broke." Simple enough, but it would be much more energizing to hear this: "I got pregnant because I made the decision to have sex with a stranger, and even though I used a condom, I was 100 percent aware that I could still get pregnant. I processed that information in my brain, but instead I decided to go with my animal instincts and desires. Now I am pregnant, which is entirely my fault. I am going to take responsibility for my actions and make a decision that I am going to pass off as justifiable, even though it is probably just selfish."

Imagine how unconventional it would be to hear someone say that. It's sad that honesty is unconventional. When I stop to think of how many of our national leaders are dishonest, it truly is mind-boggling. But the point of this column isn't really to raise awareness about the dishonest nature of man. Unless you've been living under a rock, you are probably already aware.

We are college students. Most of us are 18 or older, and we are legally adults. That should be reason enough for us to grow up and start taking responsibility for our actions. But when most other adults and role models don't even do that much, it can seem difficult and worthless to try and make honesty mainstream. Most of us would say, "It's not my job to be the first person who's honest. I shouldn't have to be the one to do it."

Megan Schulz is a sophomore technical journalism major. Her column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.

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