Friday, June 17, 2011

Two wrongs don't make a right

A while back, I submitted a guest post to one of my favorite blogs, Chin Musik (we've talked about it before).

I submitted it on May 3, so the timing was right for the topic - but it didn't work out as a guest-post for the blog. I thought I'd share it here today, and take the opportunity to remind you that if you've never checked out Chin Musik - you really should. You can follow the blog, and its author Randy Howard, on facebook here, and on twitter here.


The village where I grew up is small. There’s one school (k-8); there were fifteen kids on the stage when I graduated in 1988. So when I say everyone knows everyone – it’s for real.

In some ways, it’s great; all your friends are close by and there’s always someone looking out for you. In other ways – it sucks. Everyone is the same – so if you’re not like them, you stick out like a sore thumb.

For a long time, I was that sore thumb.

In the fourth grade, our teacher repeated a saying to us over and over again. “Two wrongs don't make a right.” I didn’t really understand; but she said it so often, it stuck with me, anyway.

A few years later, a new girl joined our class. She wasn’t like everyone else – at all. The other girls made fun of her – and for once, left me alone. Did I join in? I’m sure I did. At the very least, I was so relieved not to be on the receiving end that I didn’t do anything to stop them.

Our class trip that year was to an amusement park. Towards the end of the day, I found the new girl on a bench, in tears. She really wanted to go on a ride, but had no one to go with, and she was afraid to go alone. So I went with her.

Suddenly – I understood. The bullying, the nastiness – it sucked. It was wrong of other kids to treat me that way – and I couldn’t make it right by treating someone else the same. You can’t solve a bullying problem by becoming a bully.  

In order to make things right – you have to do the right thing.

Nearly 3,000 people were murdered in the attacks on September 11, 2001. Even worse – people took to the streets in celebration of death. They killed the American spirit – they taught us our way was flawed, and that was their victory.

On May 1, 2011, Americans took to the streets and the internet in celebration of a death. We cheered and sang songs; we even made t-shirts. The most wanted, most evil of all the terrorists is dead! It’s finally right!

Or had we become the bully? Did we become the wrong we were looking to right?


  1. I think we had to do what we did and I was pleased that our men were able to achieve that goal, but I do believe the people who cheered and took to the streets with tshirts were in the wrong.

    I don't think death - even of the evil - should be celebrated, especially when even though he was the head of their organization, there's nothing that says they won't retaliate...

    It is, potentially, a vicious cycle.

  2. I support our troops 100% - they had a mission, they followed orders and were successful. I guess I just wish that we didn't have to respond to violence with more violence, because I don't think it's effective.

    Some people were way more affected by the 9/11 attacks than others. I so understand their relief, and feeling a sense of closure. I guess I just really don't get the celebration.

    We still lost. At the end of the day, the whole point of the attack was that Americans are no better than anyone else. And even in death - he made that point. And we let him.

  3. When 9/11 happened, my first response was let's go get those sons-a-bitches. Instead of devoting all of our resources to tracking down Bin Laden in Afghanistan, our government opted to depose Saddam Hussein. I was teaching 8th grade at the time, and I can't tell you how many of my students thought Iraq had brought down the WTC. Historically, Bin Laden didn't have a beef with us until, in his view, we defiled the Holy Land during desert storm. Prior to that he was pro-US. Iraq was also our friend before they became our enemy. So, although I love my country, in some cases, it acts like the spoiled bully in class who befriends you one minute and then picks on you the next.