“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inactions, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury” (Brainy Quote 1). Through my sixteen years of living, I have learned that there are wrongs in our communities, in our country and in the world. Just like I, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, from the Baltimore Board of Rabbis, believes “In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, all are responsible. ” Heschel sends a strong message, hoping to terminate tragedies around the world by urging citizen involvement.
As humans, it is our responsibility to do the right thing and it is crucial for us to consider the consequences of continued inaction. There are actions we can take to assume responsibility, address the problem, and make a difference in the world. By teenagers committing suicide, books such as The Crucible and fights at my high school it is clear to see where an individuals actions and inactions have caused an immense amount of injury. Lately, a vast amount of injury has been caused by suicide, and it is becoming a teenage epidemic.
Although suicide may be considered a “personal choice”, we can all be considered guilty for not doing anything to prevent it from happening. On October 20, 2010 the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation asked people to “Go Purple” hoping to raise awareness about the reported deaths of eight teenagers who committed suicide after being taunted because they were gay. Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University was reportedly live-streamed by his roommate, having sex with another man. Tyler’s body was found floating in a nearby river less than a week later (Miller, Carlin).
Jeffree Clark-Merteuil, president of the Gay Straight Alliance club at Frontier High School says, “A common factor with all these nine students, none of their schools had a gay straight alliance” (Local). By sending a message saying that there is something wrong with being gay and not having a gay straight alliance to help support these students, they felt that suicide was their only option. Despite the fact that we may not be responsible for these deaths, we need to take action, to accept gay communities so we do not have to see cemeteries filled with teenage bodies.
In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, there are many incidences where an individuals choices cause harm to another. One example of this is shown through Reverend Hale taking his own responsibility for the innocent lives that are being sentenced for false accusations of witchcraft. Since he is a stranger in Salem, he knows it will be hard to draw a clear opinion of those accused. He then goes from house to house to learn more about the people of Salem because he does not trust his current knowledge of them.
Hale already has a notion, whether or not he admits to it, that the confessions of witchcraft given are false and serve only to save the lives of the accused, seeing as an accusation is the same proof of guilt, and the only way to avoid punishment is by confessing. Hale is accused by John Proctor of being “Pontius Pilate” insinuating that Hale knows that the people accused are innocent but avoids from telling the truth because he wants to stay in upright standing with the powerful officials of the court.
After hearing John Proctor’s confession, Hale can no longer lie to himself or the court, and consequently quits the court when Proctor is condemned to be hanged. If Proctor is to be hung, Hale promises to “count himself his murderer” (Miller 122). Words from Hale’s own mouth are used to show the large amount of guilt that rests on his shoulder. Throughout the rising of the hysteria, he refuses to acknowledge to the people of Salem, much less himself, that the court is not just.
He sees the injustice being done yet he is willing to go along with the will of the people (the court) in order to protect himself and his reputation. Through the actions he took, and the inactions he chose not to take, many people were falsely accused, which resulted in them being hanged. In addition to bullying and The Crucible, fights at my high school are another example of where actions aren’t taken to assume responsibility. On September 25, 2009, fifty Kentridge High School students were suspended in a fight located off campus between two students.
The two tenth grade girls who started the fight were suspended for five days, while forty-eight people who watched the fight, were suspended for three days. Becky Hanks, Director of District Communication says “Forty-eight kids just don’t magically appear somewhere for a fight,” (Kent Reporter) and I agree. Not a single person witnessing the fight picked up their phone to call 911, but instead, picked up their phones to watch and record the fight as it was happening. Although the forty-eight kids did not cause the fight, they are still held accountable because they did not try to stop it or call 911.
As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, the decisions you choose to make about a situation can leave a lasting impression on others, such as teenagers committing suicide, The Crucible and fights at my high school. Through these examples it is clear to see where the choices a person chooses to make, or not make, can leave a scar. Next time your faced with a situation, ask yourself if not only your actions can cause injury, but if your inactions can too. Take the initiative to assume responsibility, address the problem, and make a difference in the world. Next time will you be the enemy or the hero?
In either case you have to remember, you could be a victim. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2008. Print. Brainy Quote. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. . Beckley, Brian. “Kentridge High School Suspends 50 Students after Fight. ” KentReporter. com. 2 Oct. 2008. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. . Local Students Honor Nine Teens Who Committed Suicide after Being Bullied. KGET TV 17, 5 Oct. 2010. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. . Miller, Carlin DeGuerin. “Spirit Day: Wear Purple on October 20 to Raise Awareness of Anti-Gay Bullying, Says GLAAD. ” Cbsnews. com. 20 Oct. 2010. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.