I had something a little lighter in mind today, but social media blew up yesterday with something I find rather morally disturbing, so I’ll have a word about that instead.
It seems Christine Braswell returned to her SUV in a North Carolina Wal-Mart parking lot to find Robert Raines inside it, going through her purse. When Raines ran away with her purse, Braswell pursued in her SUV and struck him with it (at some considerable speed, as the video shows, and viewer discretion is advised):
Yes, the perpetrator is wrong, and yes, the victim is correct to be angry. But attempting to run him over with an SUV is a response so far out of proportion in its severity that I’m shocked (and quite disappointed) that intelligent people are arguing about it. (And they are, in considerable numbers.) A purse is stuff. Everything in it can be replaced. Its theft does not justify assault with a deadly weapon (with which she is being charged). She could easily have killed him. How is what she did any different from shooting at him? Would that have been OK?
Oh, heavens. Pleased to see victims fighting back, folks are replying. If he’d not snatched the purse, he’d not have been in that position. Blah, blah, blah. I went back and forth on a friend’s Facebook page last night (with a police officer, of all people) whose argument eventually boiled down to moral relativism. When I said “Was she morally wrong? Please answer yes or no,” he wouldn’t answer.
If otherwise seemingly well-adjusted people really do think that this woman’s momentary inconvenience vs. this man’s life is not an absurd construction, but rather a rousing and substantive problem that meets minimum requirements for civilized discourse, then we’re farther gone than I thought.