Date: 02 May 95 22:51:05 EDT
From: Jim Davidson <73370.3046@compuserve.com>
Subject: A short essay

The following essay is available for reproduction, attribution, or publication
in any medium at no cost, provided the copyright information is included in
whole with the text of the essay.  Anyone who can help get this essay published
will find me grateful.

Responsibility is Personal

by Jim Davidson
Copyright (c) 1995

The President of the United States is wrong.  In declaiming that "voices" on the
radio and television are partly responsible for the Oklahoma bombing tragedy, he
is mistakenly attributing blame beyond the individuals responsible.  In
promoting the FBI agent who was principally responsible for the Ruby Ridge
massacre, he is rewarding improper behavior.

It is absolutely essential that the Presidents words on personal responsibility
be understood by every American.  People are responsible for their acts.  Great
freedom does bring great responsibility.

But the whole, complete, entire responsibility for the bombing of the Federal
Building in Oklahoma City rests with the persons who set the bomb.  The killers
are those who killed.  It is shameful and egregious for the President to suggest
that anyone else who said anything to anyone at any time had any share of the
blame.  Those who should be sought and punished are those who committed the
heinous act, and no one else.

It is amazing to think that the apparently clueless Dan Quayle understood
personal responsibility better than does President Clinton.  When rioters
ransacked central Los Angeles, Quayle said, "When I have been asked during these
last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been
direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who
is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."

Oh, sure, its easy to blame others.  Attribute blame all over the place.  If
you buy some hot coffee at a drive-in fast food restaurant and stupidly spill it
on yourself, why not blame the fast food restaurant?  Sue for millions of
dollars because their incredibly hot coffee contained no warning label
suggesting that idiots shouldnt drink coffee while driving.  Unrelated
incident?  Not by a long shot.  In fact, the recent jury award for the supposed
victim of just such an incident is an example of the same sort of thinking.

People must be held responsible for their own acts.  If someone on a talk show
in New York suggested that if Federal agents come to your home and kick in the
door without proper cause or providing fair warning of their entry effort, you
should aim for their heads so as not to waste bullets in their flak jackets,
that talk show host is not to blame for the Oklahoma bombing.  Not only is G.
Gordon Liddy not to blame for the Oklahoma bomb, he shouldnt even be chastised
for "trying to keep some people as paranoid as possible."  He should be
encouraged to continue using his meager prestige and influence to highlight the
gross misbehavior of some Federal agents.

Similarly, the man who was in charge at Ruby Ridge should not be promoted for
any reason.  Issuing orders to shoot any adult target was clearly inappropriate
as it resulted in the death of an unarmed mother with her babe in her arms.
Such surplus order, as Alvin Toffler noted, is solely for the benefit of those
who run the state.

A certain level of order is important and necessary for the proper functioning
of any society.  But when Federal agents lay siege to a church and then storm it
with tanks, who benefits?  The average person who wants to be safe driving to
work in the morning?  No, only those who feel their reputation is at stake, and
who value public opinion of their reputation more highly than the lives of women
and children inside that church.

Only a madman would blow up a building where innocent men, women, and children
were working and playing.  When identified and convicted, those guilty in the
Oklahoma bombing tragedy should be punished as severely as possible.  But no one
should imagine that talk show hosts were to blame.  No one should suggest that
Americans should have fewer Constitutional rights, or exercise them any less.
President Clinton is wrong, and should apologize for his arrogance.
Galactic I trademark Jim Davidson
Iconoclast's
Home in Space

Copyright © 1995 Jim Davidson All Rights Reserved