Feb. 27, 2018

As guilty as the next guy (or girl) …


Apparently, having the name Scott Peterson isn’t a good thing. The first Scott Peterson made headlines in California for allegedly (and being found guilty) of killing his wife, Laci, and their unborn child Conner. Now, on the opposite side of the country, another Scott Peterson finds himself in the news. The Florida Scott Peterson (or “Scot” based on some news reports) is being chastised for not entering the Florida high school were a mass shooting took place killing and wounding many.

Most of us, myself included, decided the Florida Scott Peterson is a coward. We made this decision based on initial reports that Peterson failed to enter the school and engage the active shooter. We decided his failure resulted in the carnage that ensued. We decided that because we know everything. Just ask us.

We decided the shooting was his fault based on what the news told us and based on initial statements. We often make decisions without all the facts resulting in ruined lives of innocent people.

The Florida lawmakers are pointing the finger of blame to Peterson. The NRA is pointing the finger of blame on Peterson. How convenient. So, what about all the other mass shootings? At first, we decided the FBI was the culprit of the recent Florida shooting. Now, we have a new scapegoat. Officer Peterson.

As long as we have someone to blame, we do not need to make any changes in our society. Again, how convenient.

I’ve heard many witness accounts in the case of shootings that everyone originally thinks the gunshots are firecrackers. This is a common response to a shocking and unexpected experience. Officer Peterson says he initially heard that fireworks were being ignited and made his way towards the sounds. Peterson’s second thought, once he established the “firecrackers” were indeed gunshots, was that the shots were coming from outside the building. He took cover to “assess the situation.” I’ve seen police officers and sheriffs hide behind anything available before making a move in the heat of a gun battle. I’m not sure whether it is self-preservation or attempting to use a calm approach when deciding their next move. I’m not sure I would want to be in the decision-making position when it comes to a mass shooting. Apparently, many of us feel we would have done the right thing at just the right moment; therefore, we’ve pronounced Peterson as a coward and the guilty party.

As I shared in yesterday’s blog, as human beings, we hear what we want to hear, and we believe what we want to believe. I want to ask a simple question: Regardless of what you think you would do in Office Peterson’s shoes, don’t you think he will live with enough guilt without our sneers and jeers?

“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2