The Sweet Healing Power of BLAME

If you’ve had any access to social media, or any other type of media for that matter, you are no doubt aware of a recent story involving a young child who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo which resulted in a male gorilla being shot to death in order to save the child.  This incident was tragic on a variety of levels and  led to a viral outpouring of emotions and opinions regarding the matter.  Some blamed the zoo for not having a better enclosure to keep the public from the animals, others blamed the zoo for shooting the gorilla rather than tranquilizing it.  Others still, blamed the parents for not keeping a better eye on their child.  While I don’t really want to grant the event any further attention, I can’t help but see how it so perfectly captures America’s obsession with blame.

We love blame.  Blame provides us a wonderful deposit box for negative emotions.  When something truly terrible happens, and we all hear about it, it is normal to have some strong yet negative feelings as a result.  The problem is that as humans, it's natural for us not to want to deal with or carry these emotions, so we often take the easy way out.  We find someone or something to blame, thus creating a lightning rod in which to focus all of those icky feelings we just don’t like.  The problem with blame is that it often doesn’t do much to fix anything except possibly to help the blamer feel a little better.

I fear we have reached a point in our society where there is no such thing a sad or unfortunate event anymore.  No matter what happens, we immediately begin searching for someone to blame, someone to carry the burden of MY negative emotions so that I may be released of them.  If you want evidence of this, imagine how frustrated we as a society would become if the media stopped releasing pictures of criminals who commit horrific crimes?  We love to see who shot up the school, or murdered a child, or committed a rape or whatever  because it allows us to focus the anger and hatred we might feel on someone specific.  When some idiot cuts us off in traffic, we love to try to catch up simply to get a look at this moron so we can have a specific object of our wrath.

I have to wonder how much the blame game adds to the reluctance of people to take any responsibility for mistake they might make?

In addition I also wonder if perhaps we have become a society that is so childish, that we no longer possess the maturity  to be able to handle the fact that sometimes bad things just happen?  Sometimes we have to deal with difficult realities in which there is no real villain so to speak.  But perhaps the that’s too hard….maybe it's much less effort to simply take the easy way out and take advantage of the quick relief found in creating a villain so as to access that sweet outlet called blame.        


  1. I agree with everything you say, but am at a loss as to what to do about it? It is easy for us to say" take responsibility for your actions", but so many of us have the skill to recognize it in actions of others but not in our own actions. How do we take the next step?


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