There is negligence, intentional acts, and then there are accidents. No intention, simply everything aligned at exactly the wrong time to create an unexpected and awful outcome.

We live in a society that likes to find someone, or something to blame. Ideally one specific person.

We have taken children’s play grounds apart because of the fear of damage to the child. But children get hurt playing. Have done for as long as children have been children. Yet we don’t want them to get hurt. So we stop them from being children.

Wrapping kids in cotton wool only creates children who either rebel, or have their wings/creativity seriously clipped, and fear rules their lives.

Or maybe it’s not so much that we don’t want them to get hurt, but we don’t want to be sued….and the insurance premiums are so high…because people want their pound of flesh…to blame someone or something for an accident…as if money will help restore the world to where it was before.

Have we forgotten that accidents do happen? When did we stop taking responsibility for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or not paying attention when we tripped on the sidewalk and owning that?

In Australia these last few weeks a terrible accident happened on the rugby league field. A 22 year old, Alex McKinnon, is now likely to be a paraplegic. It is the real definition of a tragedy.

Yet the secondary tragedy is the blame that is being focused on one guy, Jordan McLean, (out of three involved), who happened to deliver the tackle that created the injury. This young man already has the blood, guilt and shame of the other man in his psyche for as long as he lives. Knowing that he delivered the final tackle that resulted in paraplegia. That is heavy. While he has full use of his limbs, his life will never be the same.

Truth is they were all playing a game at the professional level that is dangerous. They know the risks. They get paid big money to play the risks. The crowd loves it when the game is hard core. The tackle wasn’t any worse than a thousand tackles that occur on a rugby league field every week. But as the famous line goes…we can’t handle the truth.

It was a freak outcome. An accident. No one wins. There is no prevention of this happening in the future. (Except not playing the game at all.)

Why do we as a society insist on turning these things into the blame and shame game?

Really shitty things happen to really good people. Accidents. Freak incidents. It’s called life. It can be tragic, and it can be the lottery. There is no rhyme or reason to it.

If we never take risks we will never live the life set before us. Safety and security share their hearth with fear. We cannot celebrate ‘all in’ in one breath, and then malign it in another. The world never evolved by playing small and safe.

My thoughts and prayers are with all parties in this particular tragedy…may they be of strong enough mind and being to see this for what it was, and become wiser for it. Even better, at some point to turn tragedy into the seed of good.

Photo credit: Andrea Donato Alemanno via Compfight