There’s this disturbing bit of news about some football man that’s making the rounds that sort of has me on edge because it lives up to this witch hunt culture we’ve built up thanks to this beautiful “social media” nonsense that we’re so wrapped up in nowadays. Part of it is a holdover from the traditional news media that I am unfortunately a part of. Though I’m not the deliverer of such news, the role is more like acting as a distributor. Think of my position as a major record label; Without it, you wouldn’t get your easily consumable goods.
The news story, to make it short: Dude hits his 4 year old kid over the backside with an implement, reportedly a switch, possibly a thin belt, kid has welts on his posterior. I’ve been told that there were open wounds, I’m not sure, I’ve not seen the pictures nor actively looked for them because I’m not some kind of sadist like the kind of person that searches for this garbage and then makes up some crap excuse about how they’re trying to keep informed. The same mentality that the news media has worked to death over the last two and a half decades, something that is more akin to reveling in human misery. A bacchanalia of eternal sadness.
And that’s not even my biggest problem with the whole thing. The huge part of the issue to me, and it’s one that’s been stressed more times that I can probably count on one hand fifty thousand times, is that we hold these public figures to such impossible stretches of scrutiny that we ourselves couldn’t even think of measuring up to. We treat their mistakes like each one is some world-ending affair, even though these events don’t amount to anything even approaching noteworthy in the grand scheme of things. I’ll admit that, recently, I’ve done this very thing, but not to a celebrity. I applied it to a normal, everyday citizen. Remember the Michael Brown thing from a few months back? The chaos that erupted from that gunshot? That restless moment in history that we don’t know anything about? I unfairly judged Officer Darren Wilson, without knowing anything about him, as being a scumbag solely due to the opinions I was given and because he was an officer of the peace, a position many in my generation hold with ill repute. I still don’t know what went down, same as everyone else that wasn’t there, but I painted him with a thick brush of hatred for no reason other than it fit the disjointed, Piccaso-esque bits of information that I, like many others, was handed.
After a while I began to think about why we do this. It eventually came down to my reasoning that it’s because a lot of us feel like we have this need of monsters to fight, of darkness to push back and of demons to rebuke. We want to be right and we want all of the people we dislike and disagree with to wear their horns, these horns we know in our heart of hearts that they have. If they don’t comply, then we make a pair for them.
A lot of the more savage comments come from people who back different football man teams, they chose their side in the war games long ago and treat their opponents as enemies, it’s trained behavior. The people erupting with anger and bitterness toward what could have been nothing more than a momentary lapse in judgment. These people act as if they’ve never done anything out of passion or overzealousness. Out of rage or scorn. They’d have you believe they’ve done nothing antagonistic to anybody, especially not to a child (as if that makes a difference), or that the person who was the target of their fury deserved it in some way. They see accusations of child abuse, horrible parenting and other types of character assassination and treat them as fact because, collectively, we’ve been conditioned to think that the first thing we see and hear is the truth.
Do we ever stop to think that maybe the kid was being a straight up jerk? That they might have broken something, or vandalized something, or participated in some other form of mischief that might have called for such strict measures? It could simply be a matter of the parent not judging his strength properly before undertaking the task at hand. Maybe the kid cut his own switch thin because he thought it wouldn’t hurt as much. We don’t know the variables and we shouldn’t act like we do. Remember that everyone has the right to a fair trial, innocent until proven guilty. Before we go and start frothing at the mouth, maybe we should swing that judgment the other way. We shouldn’t make the mistake of immediately voicing knee-jerk reactions that are ruining any semblance of sanity or fairness that may still remain within this country. Instead, we should think of the other person as just that, a person.
Because, in the end, that’s all any of us are.