Compassion and judgement

On April 28, a terrible car crash occurred in Surrey, BC, in which an entire carload of people (all part of the same family) were killed.

The driver of the other vehicle, which by all accounts had to have been going at a very fast speed, was hospitalized. Immediately, people began speculating about the cause of the crash. Not just speculating, but rushing to judgement. He was speeding and running red lights because he was reckless, or drunk, or stupid. Whatever. People felt justified in condemning him without any actual knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the accident.

The man died a week after the crash while being operated on for a brain tumour that no one, including the man himself, knew he had. Blood tests have since shown that he was not under the influence of anything at the time of the crash, and now the realization that this brain tumour could have contributed to the crash is making people rethink their earlier judgements.

Why, as a species, do we do this? Make snap judgements about people and situations based on our (usually very limited) knowledge at the time? This is how lynch mobs begin, you know.

The short of it is that we don’t ever know the full story behind any event. We’ll never know what crap is or has been going on in someone’s life up to that point, why someone might be driven to do something.


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