Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Is personal accountability now a thing of the past?

Last week’s paper contained a story about a certain city employee being terminated from his job over inappropriate behavior. I really don’t have an opinion on the actual story, as I am not privy to special details, but I do have a few things to say about personal accountability.
First, why have we, as a society, allowed for people to not be accountable for their own actions? If this employee is indeed guilty, why is the city, county, state, etc. responsible for defending itself simply because he worked for them?
If this man broke an actual law, he alone should be arrested to either plead it out or go to trial. If he engaged in behavior contrary to company policy, he should be fired. Period.
He should be held accountable, not the company or government entity he is employed by, unless there are systemic abuses throughout the organization, of course.
Second, when did we decide to excoriate every organization, religious group and ideology remotely associated with a serious criminal? There is a point in the investigation when putting that specific information out there could help capture a bad guy, but the strange thing is, often these days an actual physical description is missing, while his membership in the NRA, the Catholic Church, or say, the GOP is broadcast loudly.
These things did not commit a crime, nor did the other millions of its members, yet suddenly, people are being made to somehow feel guilty that “one of their own” has committed a heinous act. This is wrong.
Third, there is a problem, in my opinion, when victims are allowed to collect huge sums of money for pain and suffering. There used to be a thing called restitution, which demanded criminals financially recompense a victim or their family for outright theft, property damage, medical bills, etc. These are actual expenses incurred by victims and if a perpetrator has the means, he should most definitely be ordered to pay. But I believe that it was set up not just to aid the victims, but as a way for a remorseful lawbreaker to feel that he has “paid his dept.”
Nowadays the lawyers arrive, pushing for the big settlements, and this creates a cesspool of half-truths, exaggerated accusations, victims now being under the magnifying glass and defensive, belligerent defendants. This is all contrary to the desired outcome of justice and respect for the victim and repentant criminals who hopefully can be productive member of society in the future. I see the chaos in our world today and much of it seems to stem from people not being encouraged to “fess up,”make amends and move on.
Personal accountability, sadly, has become a thing of the past, as an unreasonable and irrational judicial system seems to perpetuate a never-ending cycle of victimhood, and remorseless people.

Audrey Steinfeldt
Reed Point