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Drawing a line on victim blaming

February 19, 2015

I often have opinions that I do not express simply because the online discourse is already too deafening. Like about 50 Shades. Other times, I can't help but say something, even when there's a chance it will bring hostility. 

 

This morning, I asked on Twitter WHY a person would take someone with PTSD to a gun range, and I was called out for "victim blaming." 

 

Let me say first, as a disclaimer, that I did not see the American Sniper movie because it is based on Chris Kyle's book and he is a known liar. He was found guilty in court of fabricating stories -- at someone else's expense, no less -- and there is not a soul in New Orleans who believes for a second that he was sniping from the roof of the Super Dome during Katrina. Mostly because anyone who knows anything at all about NOLA knows that there are much more practical buildings from which one would snipe. 

 

Bradley Cooper likes to taut the film as a "character study" and yet this very pertinent aspect of the man's character was largely omitted from the telling. 

 

Anyway, back to this morning's tweet. 

 

I prefer to save "victim blaming" for people who bear no responsibility in the crime of which they were a victim. Saying that someone who was killed by a drunk driver shouldn't have been on the roads after midnight -- that's victim blaming. But asking why you'd shoot automatic weapons with a sufferer of post-war PTSD is a far, far cry from saying a rape victim shouldn't have been wearing a short skirt. Worlds away. 

 

If you put an automatic weapon into the hands of a known crazy person, you assume some responsibility for whatever tragedy follows. That is my opinion and also pretty straightforward ethics. 

 

The legal culpability of a firearm manufacturer, dealer or owner is based on the "foreseeability" of the crime. So, leaving a loaded gun in a place that is accessible to children. Or selling a gun to convicted felon. Or...giving a man with post-war PTSD an automatic rifle. 

 

This is not the same as saying that Chris Kyle deserved to die. Nobody deserves to die (except maybe Timothy McVeigh). But is it "victim blaming" to point out that Kyle bears some responsiblity for what happened? 

 

What are your thoughts? Post your comments on my facebook page

 

 

 

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