Blame for chaos rests with those who create it

Published 12:43 am Sunday, May 2, 2010

The responsibility for the chaos that led to a decision to prematurely end this year’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life events on the Warren Central High School campus rests — 100 percent — on the people who created or participated in the disturbance.

That’s a theme we have sounded before and in multiple contexts. We reject rationalizations, explanations or defenses of bad behavior up to and including violent crime. A person who shows disrespect to others might never have been nurtured in basic human decency, but that must not be accepted as an excuse.

Rude behavior by a few can cause distress for many, but should never be allowed to overshadow the efforts of organizers of great efforts, such as the local Relay for Life has become through the years. It’s a testament to our community that there are so many willing to work on such events, to put in the many hours of planning and preparation required as well as more than a little physical labor.

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And blaming law enforcement officers is way off base. Is it the fault of state troopers when people speed? Should we blame judges for the prison population?

Here, the Relay for Life has been a big deal. As many as 4,000 people have spent all or part of one night a year raising private money for use in the cancer society’s ongoing and increasingly successful battle against all forms of a disease that doesn’t discriminate based on age or gender, race or bank balance.

It must continue and it must grow.

More precautionary steps and arrangements appear to be necessary. So be it. But please don’t fall in with the thinking that bad behavior has to be explained or, worse, that blame has to be shifted. Not holding people personally accountable is what breeds chaos. The sooner people realize that, the better.