Monday, May 30, 2011

Drawing A Line

And it's a list of links featuring excuses for morally flawed behavior!

Since You Asked--Is My Friend A Kleptomaniac?

Kenneth Moreno's Wife, Julia, Assails His Accuser

Girlfriend Defends Adulterous Ex

The Since You Asked column was the one that started me thinking about where one draws the line over other people's behavior. The letter writer seems not to be able to put together the idea that if someone steals from strangers because they want something, they might steal from him too and that that's not a sign of a mental disorder--it's a sign of poor character, and do you really want to be associated with that? Not to mention that one should perhaps not consider that person a friend, or trustworthy. Which is the same question that Carolyn Hax handles, in which the new boyfriend wonders why his girlfriend can't admit that her ex, a married man who cheated on his wife, might have a similar failing as she keeps insisting the dude is a great guy. Yeah, a great guy except he cheats on his wife, which indicates a willingness to lie and deceive in what's supposed to be a bedrock relationship.

When I was younger, I didn't think so much if people had good character, or where I drew a line considering someone's moral behavior as a big "Steer Clear" sign. Nowadays, I am much harsher on these signs and people. I grew up thinking the outside world was a dangerous place, but after I left in my teens I went too far in forgiving others' flaws and not considering if someone was a good person or not. I really wish that how to tell if someone is a good person or not, when to trust or not, was a lesson i had gotten in a reliable form from my parents.

Which leads up the case of Kenneth Moreno, who was acquitted of rape last week and his defense by his wife, a woman who goes really far in rationalizing three fake 911 calls and a confession of condom usage. (Okay, disclaimer--based on the NYTimes coverage and common sense, I think he is guilty of the rape.)

Has your moral compass strengthened as you've gotten older or are you someone who sees everything in shades of gray? What is not excusable?

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