If someone spends a lifetime doing everything pretty well, getting most of it right and doing their best to be a positive force for good, but in a single moment makes a significantly stupid and irrational choice, likely out of anger, fear, ignorance coupled with some cellular level prejudice, and that momentary lapse results in a heinous act that takes a life, does everything they ever did before that mean nothing? Were the previous 10,000+ days all erroneous – a smokescreen that covered up for the monster that they become all on that one day, as they are now being made out to be?
Is it possible that certain lapses have more significant consequences and that in those moments the stakes are higher, but none-the-less, the character of the person who has it all on the line is not that of super-hero or super-villain, but just another person that in a single moment in time, a solitary lapse in judgement cost them so much more than any of the millions upon billions of momentary lapses that we all have collectively accumulated.
Is it possible that because we ask so much more of some than of others that the potential outcomes of their split second decisions just carry more weight? And if that is so, then do any of the hundred, even thousands of other split second decisions that resulted in some other outcome – perhaps even benign or beneficial –do they have any bearing or impact on the one that went so wrong?
We are watching such a situation play out here in Cincinnati… Yes, the act was remarkably, even uncharacteristically wrong; wrong on a level that places it purely in the realm of those that require action and justice. But does this situation rise to the level of what it is being made out to be… an intentional crime of deep-seated hatred indicative of a broader malady deep in the heart of our very cultural fabric? We’ve seen plenty of those recently… This just doesn’t smell like that…
Isn’t it just possible that on that day, at that time, in that situation, under those circumstances, a typically pretty good person got it terribly wrong and the remarkably awful and unfortunate outcome of that lapse was the taking of an innocent life? This man (nothing more) had been living an honorable life. He had been considered by all who knew him to be a good man with the best of intentions. He had commendation upon commendation… And then all in a moment, he makes the most “asinine” split-second decision of his life and that nearly indiscernible decision ends another life. Awful… remarkably unfortunate… certainly criminal in its negligence… certainly warrants arrest, due process and punishment.
Wow, I’m just so glad that none of the thousands upon thousands of momentary indiscretions and poor choices I have made have had such awful and terrible consequences. But let’s not heap upon this story the overtones of the all too numerous recent stories. He was certainly not a hero that day… or likely even the day before… but I do not believe him to be a villain now. Just a poor son of a bitch that will now pay for that one remarkably flawed second and that split-second decision with the rest of his life.