I’m trying to recall what we’ve done in class this week but I’m failing to do so. I guess I’ll just write a couple short and not so cohesive paragraphs about whatever pops into my mind each time I sneeze. I ‘m glad I’m getting these out of the way, it’ll make me feel better about my life, not that I necessarily feel bad about it right now but it’s rather lonely when everyone’s in school. Actually, this isn’t even true, half my friends have decided they’re “too good” for school and don’t show up because they “don’t feel like it”.
So, it’s an old topic, but I’ve been thinking about guilt and what we read in class today relates. This weekend I was talking to my friend who was in a predicament. Turns out, he had “accidentally” shot a guy. Don’t ask me how one accidentally shoots someone else, I personally believe this is bull, but for the sake of this entry let’s pretend that he really did shoot someone by accident (this is where the reader should scoff and go “yeah right”).
I was talking to him the other day, and we’ll just call him Samuel, and so “Samuel” was under impression that because he wasn’t aware of what he was doing, he was somehow innocent. This is to say that unbeknownst to him, there was a man standing within shooting range, when Samuel just happened to have a loaded gun that he was chilling around with. THIS ISN’T EVEN A GOOD COVER STORY I DON’T UNDERSTAND. Apparently, he was “cleaning it” when it went off. Why was he cleaning it in a parking lot? I have absolutely no idea.
So to continue, Samuel goes “no, you don’t understand, I didn’t know so I’m innocent” but the way he was defending it (“I have no guilt, I feel bad, but far from responsible”), the way that he was just BEGGING me to believe and trust him just made me pause and I replied “well, do you empathize with this guy?” And he replies “well, I mean, I… yes?”
If he doesn’t feel any genuine sympathy, except for himself for being “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, then what does that make him? Coetzee would label him a psychopath and at the moment I’m leaning towards that too.
Apparently, according to Coetzee, it doesn’t even matter because “we can do anything, it seems, and come away clean”. Just as he states in his last paragraph, I thought, if anything, Samuel may have had nightmares or repercussions from his “accident”. No such luck. Reality is that there is not always a justified mental or physical punishment one subconsciously afflicts on oneself when a horrendous act is committed.
This absence of a burden, of responsibility, removes the significance of actions until everything is just going through the motions, where in a world where it seems like everything is eventually pardoned it’s easier for some to be absolved from guilt and punishment and perhaps even feel like they are the victim rather than the other.