Attribute Nothing to Malice

This week has had a vicious cycle of ups and downs so far. Over the course of my days, I have gone from sorrow to overwhelmed to empowered to frustrated and back to the beginning again. What makes it harder is that a person I know is being demonized. I admit that he’s made mistakes, some of them pretty big mistakes, but he’s worked to do the right thing where it counts. Unfortunately, because of the mistakes he’s made, no one wants to see him as human right now. And that angers me.

When a person suffers the consequences of the actions of an individual or group of people they don’t know, it can be easy to think of that person/group as a monster, an unfeeling creature devoid of compassion and other emotions. It’s easy to see the unknown figure as selfish, greedy, and uncaring, especially when we’re hurting or afraid or don’t agree with their opinions.

But we’re all human, and that makes such assumptions of monsterdom ridiculous. I will admit that there are despicable people in this world, narcissists and sadists and self-centered creeps that should never be allowed to hold any type of power within society or communities. But mistakes are not exclusive to bad people. All humans are fallible, some moreso than others.

So the next time you see someone being depicted as a monster by someone hurt by their actions, take time to critically think about the situation. One of my favorite quotes comes from the novel, “The Legend of Nightfall” by Mickey Zucker Reichert; “Attribute nothing to malice until ypu have first ruled out stupidity.” We all have our stupid moments. We all make mistakes. We also all have our breaking points, and I’d hate to see my acquaintance hit his own due to the events of this week.


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