It’s a saying as old as the hills; “two wrongs don’t make a right”.
We’ve all heard it, we all know what it means. Simply put, if someone wrongs you, it does not give you the right to wrong that person.
However, in recent years, there has risen a need to attach a second meaning to this age old saying.
By way of example, allow me to lay out a hypothetical scenario.
In the schoolyard, child A shoves child B. Child B reacts by punching child A.
Under the old meaning of this saying, child A was wrong to shove child B, however child B was also wrong to punch child A.
Child A’s misdeed does not absolve child B’s wrongdoing.
But the new and sadly necessary meaning to this scenario is slightly different.
Child B was wrong, but this does not absolve child A’s prior misdeed.
Both misdeeds are wrong, the most recent does not cancel out the wrongdoing that led up to it.
Increasingly, people are using the negative reactions to their misdeeds as a method to absolve them from their own misdeeds.
And worst of all, we are not talking about schoolchildren, I am referring to full grown adults who should know better.
This is most common on social media; Someone will engage in months of extended harassment, sending message after message to people they disagree with, including vile statements such as ‘go die in a fire’, and even trying to publicize their personal information, such as names, email addresses, home phone numbers and names of their family members. They will engage others to follow their lead in these campaigns of harassment.
But all the while, they are documenting the responses they get, eventually releasing these responses to show that the person they were harassing is in fact the person doing the harassing.
The public, it seems, is all too eager to ignore the past wrongdoing of the person making the accusation. The most recent wrongdoing, it often seems, is the only wrongdoing that matters.
Recently a British Member of Parliament laughed, literally laughed out loud, at the proposal that Parliament should take some time to discuss issues that are disproportionately affecting men and boys, in particular poor and disprivileged males. Issues like significantly higher levels of suicide, school dropout rates and homelessness.
These are not laughing matters, these are human tragedies. Tragedies that, as a member of parliament she has a responsibility to address.
Predictably, the reaction has been quite negative… and rightfully so. However, she has also received some messages and emails that go too far. She claims she has received threats of violence, and even someone wishing the deaths of her two sons.
This is wrong.
The people who have sent these messages are despicable, and should be held to account.
However, by no means should this distract from the refusal of this MP to extend help to some of the most vunerable people in Britain.
Two wrongs still don’t make a right.
Crying “victim” must not be allowed to become a device to absolve one of their own misdeeds.