Other People's Fault

Scripps-Howard News Service 1.23.02
Balint Vazsonyi

"With Peter, life was always a matter of somebody else's fault." The "Peter" in the story is Peter Odighizuwa, murderer on the loose in the Appalachian School of Law. The quote is from The New York Times, January 18.

One of the many artificial divisions cultivated by the so-called Liberal Establishment is between "Liberals" who have a heart, and "Conservatives" who are mean-spirited. Every two years, at election time, the thesis translates into votes for the Democratic Party. Does that justify the continuous waste of resources, and the all-too frequent tragedies?

According to newspaper reports, L. Anthony Sutin, founder and dean of the Law School and first to be killed, was the picture-book Liberal. A cum-laude graduate of Harvard Law School and veteran of the Clinton Justice Department, he gave up a career in Washington for the chance of making a big difference in a small, poor coal-mining town. He and his wife had just adopted a baby during their recent trip to China, to join their Russian-born adopted son.

Dean Sutin combined his effort to break new ground in a neglected part of the country with offering a chance to a forty-something, Nigerian-born taxi driver, married with four sons, to get a law degree. Not only did Mr. Sutin pay with his life - he also put at risk the institution to which he had dedicated his life.

What induced Mr. Sutin to offer that chance to Mr. Odighizuwa, not only once, but - after he had failed his first year - a fatal second time?

I apologize to the memory of an obviously decent, caring man, for taking issue with his ways. But we must try to learn from these horrible events.

Millions of decent, caring Americans have been fatally influenced by the deliberately divisive, thoroughly dishonest proposition that "created" two types of Americans when it comes to caring and compassion. By and large, all Americans are decent, caring, compassionate people, and military cemeteries around the world bear witness to same. Giving is very much an American thing.

But yes, there is a difference between "Liberals" and "Conservatives" (incidentally, both misnomers). Whereas Conservatives combine the dictates of their hearts with the equally American sense of reality, Liberals have been carefully trained to ignore reality. An integral part of that, ultimately suicidal, approach is the abandonment of responsibility. Everything becomes someone else's fault. The world owes us this, that, and the other. The criminal was an abused child. The failing student was teased in Kindergarten. McDonald's serves coffee that's too hot.

It does not appear probable that Odighizuwa ever qualified for law studies, either scholastically or temperamentally. The opportunity at the School, the community's financial assistance, the car and the loan Mr. Sutin had arranged for him, were entirely misplaced. And, no this is not a case of 20/20 hindsight. Odighizuwa, the apparent wife-beater, was clearly in need of very different help.

According to the town's people who know him, Odighizuwa was a poster child for those who believe the world owes them, and who blame everybody else for their failure. How did he come to such thoughts?

I venture to say, he did not learn that in Nigeria. The Liberal Establishment in America preaches that sermon day and night. Television and the movies preach that sermon day and night.

Liberals are currently engaged in trying to figure out whose fault it was that four planes were hijacked and used as human missiles on September 11, 2001. Because, certainly, it was not the fault of the 19 men who actually hijacked and piloted the planes, nor of their trainers, commanders, supporters, accessories, and the governments who facilitated all of it.

Nothing in the human experience is comparable to murder. But the encouragement provided to grade and high school students to demand dismantling our history and traditions, or to protest naming schools for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, plants the first seed that blossoms into the overall mind set of blaming other people and demanding this, that, and the other from the world. The next step is "rage." After that comes murder. The rage is no more justifiable than the murder.

Why not take a deep breath and think about what is realistic for a change? There are many forms of genuine need, and we have immense resources - human and material. How about pairing needs and resources in a realistic manner? How about telling people once again - especially when they are young - that they, and they alone, are responsible for their actions?