Freedom brings men rudely and directly face to face with their own personal responsibility for their own free actions.
Frank Meyer, In Defense of Freedom (1962)
At what point in our society did personal responsibility fall to the wayside? It is as if we are no longer personally responsibility for the choices we make, the behaviors we engage in or the words we use, rather we are a victim based society where other individuals and outlying issues are used to place blame for the choices we make. And what exactly has this accomplished? A vicious cycle breeding more offenders who bear zero responsibility for their behaviors while the victims suffer the blame, society is to blame, parents, siblings and neighbors are to blame. Everyone and everything is to blame for the offenders behavior, except the offender. Queue in Ferguson, Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson.
During the entire Ferguson ordeal between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown, at what point was Michael Brown responsible for the outcome of that tragic day? Was it Brown’s responsibility when he chose to rob a convenience store? Was it Brown’s responsibility when he chose to assault the store clerk who confronted him for the theft? Was it Brown’s responsibility at the point he chose to viciously attack Officer Darren Wilson in his patrol car? Was it Brown’s responsibility when he chose to try and steel Officer Darren Wilson’s duty weapon from him? Was it Brown’s responsibility when he chose to leave the scene of his crime or was it when he turned around and charged at Officer Darren Wilson like a defensive lineman?
At what point, in any of those given situations was it Michael Brown’s responsibility for his own actions; how at any given point in each of those steps, had Brown chosen differently, the proceeding events would not have occurred?
Certain segments within our society choose to ignore the behaviors Brown chose to engage in and instead attack the officer, but why? Because Brown is dead? An 18 year old adult male who was shot while in commission of a violent felony against a police officer, one that would have ended the police officers life had, at any point Brown accomplished the task of continually beating the officer while successfully stealing his duty weapon. There is no reason to steal an officers duty weapon other than to further engage in the crime you are currently choosing to commit. If not, then why try to steal an officers duty weapon while the officer is seated in his patrol car struggling with you as you are beating on him?
It is as though Officer Darren Wilson should have sat in his patrol car, allowed Brown to viciously beat him, possibly take his gun and shoot him with it; and that because Wilson did not, he is now somehow, at least in the eyes of a certain segment of our society, responsible for the outcome of Brown and Brown’s own choices.
Michael Brown, like most of humanity have (had) free will. Brown made his conscious choices, but with those choices came responsibilities to those choices. Maybe it is here, that humanity learns a lesson from its blessing of free will and obligation to mind its choices and own the rewards and consequences that come with those choices.
“See now, how men consider us gods responsible [aitioi] for what is after all nothing but their own folly. Look at Aigisthos; he must needs make love to Agamemnon’s wife unrighteously and then kill Agamemnon, though he knew it would be the death of him; for I sent Hermes to warn him not to do either of these things, inasmuch as Orestes would be sure to take his revenge when he grew up and wanted to return home. Hermes told him this in all good will but he would not listen, and now he has paid for everything in full.” Zeus via Homer’s The Odyssey