I have some comments regarding J.D. Hulse's column "Isn't It Time We Took Responsibility?" from January 30, 2002 'edition' of "The Tentacle".
First: Bravo! Maybe the era of "Everyone is a Victim" is finally coming to a close.
The lack of taking personal responsibility for ones actions has always been a big pet peeve of mine.
We have the lady in Texas who drowned her children, not her fault; it was postpartum depression (I am surprised the NOW crowd hasn't jumped on this and blamed men for 'forcing' women into the role of child-bearers). Later on she decided maybe the blame lay on the Devil!
Another lady in Texas (what is it with these Texas women? Should we worry about Laura Bush??) who locked her 8 year old daughter in a closet. When the daughter was pulled from the home, she weighed only 25 lbs. Not her fault: she suffers from borderline personality disorder and depression. Sorry to rain on her parade, but including myself, I have known several people who at one time or another have been diagnosed with this, and I have yet to lock my son in the closet!
Regarding the John Walker Lindh issue. Like Mr. Hulse, I am not too convinced of the death penalty. The only thing the death penalty honestly does is ensure that the person executed doesn't commit any more crimes. The death penalty, in and of itself, is a huge topic, something that my few words here won't dent, so, on with my comments.
Also, like Mr. Hulse, I don't like my tax dollars paying for "3 hots and a cot" for those who are legitimate dangers to society. I also don't like my tax dollars going to interdict, arrest, and imprison other-wise law abiding people who choose to recreationally enjoy non-lethal substances (as long as they don't endanger others or steal to support their habits), but like the death penalty, that is another topic
Nothing like blaming substance abuse for your actions, eh? I can't seem to recall any situation where a drunk driver was forced at gunpoint to drink and then drive. Even for those substances that are 'addictive', there is that initiation point where the person, who has been clean, tries a substance.
I don't buy the peer pressure excuse (another way to blame others for your own actions). While Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No!" program was one of the more successful anti-drug programs since the infernal (and failed) War on Drugs started, it can't be blamed for Lindh's hash use either, unless one wants to blame the Clinton "Just Don't Inhale" program as well.
Lindh, by all definitions of a U.S. citizen, is a traitor, and should be treated as such. Perhaps he would like to renounce his citizenship? I am certain we would have no problem building another cell for him at Guantanamo Bay.
I like his idea of having them work on re-building or cleaning up the results of their destructive ways. Making a wrong into a right is a good way to re-teach someone responsibility. My son recently was caught throwing little pebbles at one of his teacher's car at school. The stones caused superficial damage that was taken care of by a car wash. He was made to apologize (a good start) but he also presented the teacher with a certificate for a car wash that was purchased with his piggy-bank money and some extra he 'earned' by doing chores around the house. Not as bad a deed when compared to Lindh, but learning responsibility for ones actions should start early.
Thank you for admitting what you did about Bill Clinton. I know of too many people who still thought he was the "second coming", even after all the lies and scandals.
I'd like to propose that in addition to starting to take responsibility for what we do and say in this world, that we also start with a little thing called respect for one another.
If we all lived our lives as we wished, but kept in mind our neighbors and did our best to respect their rights to live their lives in the manner of their own choosing, I think that we would have fewer problems in our country with race, sexuality, gender, and religion to name a few areas.
There will always be a few radicals on both sides who do not respect those who think differently, but as long as the majority of us can stand together with the spirit of mutual respect and take responsibility for our actions, relative harmony and peace can happen.