I remember laughing when televangelists who preached morality would justify being caught with a hooker and doing crack. They would say that this is a blessing in disguise and they can now help addicts better because they can see from their perspectives. I also look back on how I watched Laci Peterson's family crying hysterically while I watched analysts on Court TV who never had a family member murdered copasetically defend Scott Peterson. From making decisions to put our soldiers in harm's way without ever firing a bullet in war, to complaining about welfare without actually ever being on it, we pass judgment on others all the time. This month's question is: Can one make a fair judgment of a situation without really experiencing it firsthand?
Before last week, I was one of the loudest complainers of how expensive doctors bills are...and then all of a sudden my brother-in-law had a brain aneurysm and doctors miraculously saved his life. Suddenly doctors are my heroes and, in my mind, are underpaid! We all like to criticize unethical lawyers like Johnny Cochran for being soulless, but if you were up on murder charges, wouldn't you wish he was representing you? How many people complain about the concept of police brutality until they are in trouble and need assistance from the police?
If you have never been a victim of a violent crime, how can you argue that a violent criminal should be paroled? You don't know what the effect really was on the victim and his family. Sure, you could imagine what it was like and convince yourself that you can picture being in their shoes, but do you really think that is enough? I always hear people say that they are against the death penalty because "serving life in prison is far worse than being put to death." I always ask, how do you know? How do you know that the murderer isn't a loner and enjoys staring at the ceiling and festering in his own world? You are using your own unrelated experiences to make assumptions.
How about the Kobe Bryant rape case? Most of
America formed its opinion a few days after it happened. Did you notice that every opinion you heard was based on each person's assumptions? Ask a woman who has been raped, and you will get a totally different opinion than a person, who was falsely accused of rape, or a father who has a sexually active teenage son, or a father who has a teenage daughter.
My point is that it is almost impossible to really put yourself in someone else's shoes; however, we need to do so every day. All I ask is for you to understand that your personal experiences don't always give you a clear picture of a situation.