Institutional Failure: UAH, Discovery Middle School; Killers Amy Bishop, Andrew Pakhomov & 14 year-old
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Exactly what are the rules of “the Blame Game?”
We certainly know how to play it. And it seems that the silly little games we adults often play at times like this – in the midst of tragedy – rather than accept responsibility, we adults behave as if we were once again, carefree 6th graders on a playground somewhere, dodging and deflecting a kickball thrown at us.
Games however, are as much for adults as they are for children, and perhaps more so, because in learning to abide by rules and cooperating, we come to understand strategies, tactics, and how best to utilize opportunities – things and events – that come our way. Essentially, it is “the hand that is dealt us.” Hopefully, we learn how to be gracious losers, and equally humble winners, understanding also that no one always wins, and that “our time is coming.”
Yet, it is game-playing at inappropriate times that characterizes and differentiates children from adults.
Granted, jesting and conviviality can be, and is a part of any emotional healing process, and “Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven,” so says “The Preacher,” in Ecclesiastes 3:1. (GWT)
Reeling from two horrible campus tragedies that struck our community in exactly two weeks, first at Madison’s Discovery Middle School, then at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, we are again attempting to return to a modicum of normalcy. And for all the words of various soothing voices – the sotto voces – we strongly sense something has gone terribly awry. And it has. It’s analogous to setting out on a trip of a thousand miles; only after traveling a significant distance are we aware that the course we charted was slightly off.
Failure is rarely isolated. Rather, it is systemic, frequently affecting all other parts. For example, when a tire blows out the driver stops the entire vehicle. Unfortunately, progress is temporarily impeded to effect a necessary repair, to allow continued progress. Similarly, when any other part of an automobile malfunctions, the essential, or overall functions may not be ceased, but eventually, if not tended to, operations will cease until such time as proper repairs or overhauls have been performed. And so it is with the university.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, we’ll hear phrases like “if only…, was not…, did not…, could not…, if there were…, wasn’t my/our responsibility…, should have…, because of…, due to…, beyond control…,” and inventive catchphrases galore – all which mean, “it’s not my fault, and I refuse to accept responsibility.” Such phrases are attempts to deflect, dodge and shirk responsibility – the proverbial “games people play” – all in the aftermath of tragedy.
No one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE will accept even the slightest responsibility for what happened at either of the two schools.
However, NONE of those excuses will work, because there ARE NO EXCUSES! That is a fundamental lesson that, hopefully, our parents taught us. To deny responsibility is to revert to the level of a 6th grade child on a playground. Yet we know that even among the youngest children, they instinctively know the difference between right and wrong, because we hear them cry, “that’s not fair!” Really? Who told them? What ethics courses or books did they read to so inform them?
Only now, it’s not time for game playing. It’s time to “man up,” to be an adult, to act your age, to accept responsibility for, and in the aftermath of tragedy.
It’s been said that the seven most important words in the English language are, “I made a mistake and I’m sorry.” Corollary to that, respect is earned when humility is donned.
So I ask rhetorically… “Will the REAL leader please stand up?”