18 April 2013

Human Beings

Nothing I can write can come close to the aptness and perspicacity of Patton Oswalt's response to the Boston Marathon Bombing. If you haven't read it, please read it. If you have, maybe you'll want to re-read it as the investigation drags on, and our patience gets tested again.

I try not to think in terms of "good people" and "bad people" - there's a simple reason for this. Too often we decide who we do not like, and then label them "bad people" after the fact. That way we don't have to wrestle with the humanity of the "bad people" or consider even for a second that as human beings ourselves, we just might be "bad people", too. How many times has someone done something truly heinous – raped a schoolmate, gone on a shooting rampage, etc. – and the friends and neighbors all say, "But he was a good person!" Clearly, in this specific instance, he was not.

I try to think in terms of "good acts" and "bad acts" – and acts for me include choices and attitudes. This way I don't reduce people to simple good and bad categories, but rather assess what they do. A guy who loves his mom and buys her roses every Sunday can still be someone who rapes and murders. We call those latter actions bad.

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