10 Thoughts On Personal Responsibility After the Ft. Hood Murders

Perhaps the tragic death toll at Fort Hood could have been avoided. The killer’s actions on that fateful day were preceded by speech and conduct that was a clear sign of potential danger. Yet, proper actions were not taken and the results leave us with the troubling sense that something more should have been done.

Another event days earlier left many shocked and at a loss for words. A 15 year old girl was allegedly gang raped for two hours outside her high school homecoming dance while at least twenty people watched. Some took photos yet not one witness reported the incident or made an effort to stop what was happening.

The following are 10 thoughts on personal responsibility:

1. It is not simply what causes us to gasp but what causes us to act that reveals our character.

2. Technology has made for surface relationships that contain no great responsibility.

3. Surveys note that the top reason for not becoming involved in the needs of another is a sense of being “too busy.”

4. The terrorists of 9/11 went undetected on U.S. soil -- taking full advantage of a socially isolated and detached culture.

5. Studies show altruistic people to be healthier and happier.

6. Social responsibility is not about waiting for a moment of crisis but rather daily involvement in the lives of others.

7. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

8. There should be clear, enforceable laws about witnessing a crime but doing nothing.

9. Social responsibility training including bystander education programs should be a prerequisite in our school system.

10. What you choose to make “your business” will tell whether you will be a bystander or a hero.

Am I my brother’s keeper? The question is as old as the story of mankind. It is a question of conscience and our response will create the kind of society in which we all will live.

Rev. Bill Shuler is pastor at Capital Life Church in Arlington, Virginia. For more, go to capitallife.org.