Friday, September 23, 2011

Once Again, I Never Said I Was A Nice Person

I know we're supposed to think that all lives are equal, yadda, yadda. Assuming, of course, that the other person is not trying to kill us. Or maybe some people think that life is equal just the same. I'm not one of them. I mean, if you're trying to kill me, I'm going to try and kill you first. Because I like my life more than I like yours. It's really that simple in that respect.

So there was this article in the paper yesterday/today about a pair of brothers who were driving their motorcycles way too fast (estimated at about 100 mph), without helmets. One tried to pass the other one, hit him, and he (the brother who tried to pass) was killed on impact. The other brother is still alive but it critical condition and consensus is that he's not likely to make it. And the article mentioned that both brothers had extensive criminal records. We're talking, drugs, robberies, assaults (one on a 13 year old girl!) and a long, long list of others. The family is pissed off that this was listed in the article, saying that they're in mourning and what difference does it make about their histories? Well, given that they both had several drugs charges on them it makes it clear that drugs and/or alcohol were probably involved in the accident.

We were arguing about this at work this morning. Most of the people were agreeing with the family, saying that it shouldn't make any difference. At least, until they read what these men had been up to. Some of them maintained position, others not so much.

Me? Well, in the first place, my sympathy for them was pretty small in the first place since their injuries/death were caused by their own flagrant stupidity. Accidents mean no one's guilty. But these two were. Even if they'd been shining, upstanding citizens in the first place, they were being idiots and that's what got them killed. Not a fluke of nature, something out of their control. No. They made choices, and those choices killed them. Secondly, they were bad people. And so, you know, I've got nothing. As soon as I read the 'criminal background' and the charges listed? What little human emotion I had for them vanished.

I think I actually horrified one of my co-worker's when I said that I didn't care that they were dead/critically wounded because they'd been criminals. I get that we're supposed to think everyone is equal, and I do in the beginning. No one's life is inherently worth more or less than anyone elses' because of gender, race, religion, etc. But when you do things that endanger the lives of others (let alone yourself) and do it again and again...I clearly do judge your life to be worth less than the lives of people who don't make such choices. And so when the consequences of your life choices catch up to you, I'm not going to spare a thought or a feeling for you. I don't feel happy or anything that these men are dead. I don't feel anything at all about it. I just don't care.


  1. I think you're supposed to act like you think so. Or maybe that's just my cynical interpretation. But I wonder how many of those people care enough to actually remember. Or maybe, again, everyone else actually does and I'm weird in the way I'll forget things.

    A couple days ago, a huge chunk of my Facebook feed and quite a few items on my Reader were all about Troy Davis. I looked at them and thought that was very sad. And then I posted a video about Glee, and didn't think until after I'd posted it and saw other people post more about Davis that maybe I would come across as callous or something.

    It's hard for me to seriously mourn for people I don't know. I would be horrified in the moment, but honestly, mostly because it's a reminder that we could all die at any moment. It's sad and scary to see anyone die, because it could be me. My totally uninformed guess would be that's more what people are reacting too, but they misplace that emotion and mourn the person who died because either they don't want to face their own or it's more socially acceptable to be sad for the person who's actually dead. They wouldn't want all their dirty laundry aired after they died, so they don't want it to be the focus of someone else's death.

    Basically, I don't think you're really that different for not caring, you're just more upfront about it and somehow more able to separate the general horror of death from the reality of what happened in this situation.

  2. After helping to cut out one too many injured old grannies while the uninjured drunk asswipes that hit them moaned and whined in slurred voices and nauseating booze fumes... I've become a bit jaded myself. I guess it's a lot easier to remain angellic and saintly about criminals getting hurt or dying when you have not been personally affected in any way by their selfish uncaring stupidity killing/hurting/terrorizing you? Ignorance is bliss.

  3. I don't think you are odd for this. As you said, they chose to drive at crazy speeds and put not only themselves, but innocent people at risk. As luck would have it, they only physically hurt themselves. I do feel for their families because I know what it's like to love people who make stupid choices. I would mourn for these guys only as people who did wrong and perhaps needed some intervention/salvation/healing from above (or whatever you choose to call it...or not.)

    I have a hard time being sympathetic to people who do stuff like this although I do believe I'm a touch more merciful (?) than I was in the past.

  4. sanil,

    I see no point in pretending to feel sorry for people like that.

    It's hard for me to seriously mourn for people I don't know.

    Good to know it's not just me then.

  5. Michelle,

    I've never been a nurse or had to help someone who was injured by a drunk driver, but I lived with a drug addict/alcoholic and I saw the damage he did. I think that and the stories I heard from the grandfather (a retired cop) and my grandmother (a retired nurse who spent time working in the ER) had a lot to do with my attitude.

  6. Susanne,

    I don't even feel sorry for the family. I'm sure they're mourning, but I think they're better off without them.


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