A friend of mine was recently put in jail for committing a heinous crime. I feel really sorry for him, even though I recognize his guilt and that he deserves his sentence. Those feelings are not mutually exclusive for the reason that I recognize the path that led him to this destructive behavior, and although I condemn it, I do not condemn him wholeheartedly because the world has been cruel to him, too.
Having bad things happen to you does not allow inappropriate actions, nor make them forgivable in the hearts of those who have been transgressed. I am not in the habit of victim blaming, having myself been the victim of certain occurrences in my youth that I feel were entirely out of my control. There does come a time in each of our lives, though, that we are faced with cruel and unusual people in our midst, and they deserve to hear exactly what we think about their thoughts, words, and actions, especially when they are shared in our presence. It is not a worthy pursuit to shame and blame people after the fact, suggesting that you knew that they were bad and wrong all along. Captain Hindsight is an asshole…
The commentary on the article about his arrest within my former social circles is therefore making me so sad. All of the people who worked with him at our shared place of employment knew him are almost gleefully saying how good it is that he’s being put away. I’m not going to argue that with them or with anyone, but where were all of these people with their wise words before? I was his friend and tried to talk him out of the stupid shit that he was thinking and doing. He would often say that I was one of his only friends. I actually cared about him despite his shortcomings in the morality department, listening to him and talking things through. I wanted to learn what made him tick and why he felt the need to pursue vulnerable women and exploit peoples’ vulnerabilities – and answers I got.
I always rejected his advances, explaining to him that I wasn’t interested in being with him because he was too perverse for me. He understood and respected me for it, perhaps because he recognized my vulnerability but saw my strength of resolve despite. How many people did I see watching porn on his phone with him, never saying a thing or trying to figure out why he was lasciviously rude to the young women around him. Isn’t it our responsibility to help those in our midst; those who we have the power to influence?
More and more, I think that many of the people who I had previously surrounded myself with are so shallow. Not many people tried to help me in my time of need, instead watching me burn and enjoying it. I can only imagine what people said about me as my life crumbled due to my own forces. I am such a different person now that I’ve left that place and I can only assume that people couldn’t care less because they like the disgusting impression they had about me. It’s convenient and easier than feeling guilty for not helping people out who you can see clearly need it. I’m an alcoholic and it’s something that I will struggle with for my whole life, but I’m in a good place now, surrounded by people who care about me not making an ass of myself and enjoying myself responsibly. But there, people were all too happy to watch me get absolutely blotto and enjoy the show.