It really does irk me every time I read or hear about some story where someone has taken an unnecessary risk and as a result has come a cropper, only for a cavalcade of people to empathise with them. It irks me even more that when I point out the obvious fact that taking risks exposes one to additional danger, I am often accused of suggesting that the victim somehow “deserved” it.
In the clear and objective light of day such this accusation is, of course, abject nonsense; more than it being a case of my being callous and unfeeling, it is a simple matter of people not having any idea on what constitutes personal responsibility. What next, suggesting that a person who walks out on the streets of South London with a sign on his back saying “I have a mobile ‘phone and a hundred quid, please mug me” is simply unfortunate?
A story in case is that of the Italian hitchhiker and “world peace” activist murdered in Turkey, discussed here; it is clear that while this woman didn’t “deserve” to be murdered – nobody in their right mind would suggest that – it is pretty bloody obvious that she was taking an unnecessary and dare I say it stupid risk in trapsing around an Islamic country dressed as a bride.
The same applies to drug (ab)users – in a post on a popular bulletin board I (perhaps rather callously) described the death of former children’s television presenter Mark Speight as being “no great loss” – on account of the fact that he was a useless druggie who was out of his head on a cocktail of illegal substances while his fiancée – also a useless druggie – was boiling to death in the bath at the time. I was taken to task for showing a distinct lack of empathy, but I ask you – who in hell can empthaise with such a waster, and worse still, a waster who then chose to take his own life because he couldn’t face up to the fact that were it not for his and his fianceé’s nasty, sordid habit, they would both be very much alive today?
It’s as if nobody has any personal responsibility for their actions any more, and that somebody else – society, the weather, the neighbour’s dog – is somehow to blame. And that the rest of us should be welling up and feeling sorry.