Playing the blame game

It is all too easy these days to feel the need to blame people.  In fact whole industries have been built up around the idea that “where there is blame there is a claim”.

I have sat this weekend in shock as events have unfolded where somebody feels to blame for something or has taken the blame and found they can’t live with the consequences.

On Friday I was quick to fire off a Tweet saying that “this prank call isn’t so funny now is it?” as the news broke the nurse who had transferred the call had apparently taken her own life.

I then regretted that decision when I realised how they must be feeling.

Those DJs are beside themselves.  They blame themselves for her death.   They feel the world is blaming them for her death.   The nurse appears (and I am speculating of course as it is all I can do) to have blamed herself for falling for the prank.   For being so silly as to believe it was the Queen.    She feels shame for the hospital maybe, for permitting details about Kate’s well being to be divulged.     Who knows the specifics but I think we know by her actions that she blamed herself.

A tragic end to what was a prank.   A bit of a laugh.   Something to make a radio show.  The DJs didn’t mean for that to happen.    I remember listening to DJs making similar calls.    Some DJs almost made a career out of it.   Look at Beadle’s About.   Look at Noel Edmonds.   Candid Camera even.  Prank calls.    Secret camera shows where people are made to look a bit silly.    All to make a bit of entertainment.

That is what the DJs were doing at the time.

Their interview today shows them blaming themselves.    Do they blame the radio station for allowing it to be aired?  Who knows.    Do they feel the entire online community of Facebook and Twitter are blaming them?

Where does blaming people get us?  Nowhere and it has to stop.

As this story was unfolding over the weekend I read last night of the parents “of the schoolgirl found in France with her teacher who cannot be named for legal reasons”   It appeared that they too had attempted to take their own lives.   With overdoses and had been rushed to hospital by ambulance.

Blaming themselves for not spotting the signs that their daughter was in that relationship?  Is their daughter blaming them for the relationship ending?   It is not my place to speculate on the specifics of that family but I can only imagine how it might have been had it been me.

We feel we have to blame.   Somebody has to be to blame.    It has to be somebody’s fault. It can’t be a tragic sequence of events.    We can’t just slip on some ice and brush ourselves off.  We have to blame the business that owns that bit of pavement or the council.   We can’t run into the back of somebody without being blamed for a whiplash injury and compensation of thousands being demanded.

Where there is blame there is a claim.     Please let it be no more lives.

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  • The thing about life that is always interesting, is that people have different points of view. The way I look at it is that, although pranks may have been played for many years on the unsuspecting, this does not mean that they should be acceptable in a our society now. When somebody is picked out of the general public at random, there is no way of telling how fragile or vulnerable they are and whether they are going to have the mental strength to cope with the consequences. I think that there are definite lessons to be learned here. I fully agree that Mel Grieg and Michael Christian should not be blamed as such, but lets look at whether this type of “humour” is really necessary today?

    • It isnt necessary. You are right. It is the ridicule type humour that I dont actually find very funny. I never did Candid Camera either. Or that video last week that went viral of the woman in a lift.

      However my point is that we stop blaming people to the point they take their own lives.

  • I consider that what happened – from start to finish – is most unfortunate but that it arises from our changed and changing society. We can communicate so easily and quickly that we may have forgotten to think a little further forward than the 5 minute horizon that seems to be the norm at the moment. We should study the way the masters play snooker! Most of the time they are planning two or three shots ahead.
    If they didn’t we’d have breaks of 7 or 8 only.

    My main hope is that the D of C has not been adversely affected by the episode; if my future sovereign is prejudiced in any way I shall be Sydney bound with a long spiky rumfusticstor to impose appropriate punishment! Care to join me?

    • YOu are right, Mr B. There is little thought of the “end game”. You mention snooker, I was thinking chess (which I have never played) but that I know is all about thinking much further ahead than the next move.

      As for that flight, I am there but I am not sharing the free pretzels.

  • I too initially blamed the dj’s, the radio station that allowed it to be played etc. I’ve thought about it a lot, especially after seeing the gut wrenching interview with said dj’s. This wasn’t a ‘malicious’ prank, it wasn’t aimed to make one person look stupid. I know that it was still a prank, but no one was blaming the nurse. The hospital was supporting her and the Royals had not said anything. I think this poor woman blamed herself and her own guilt possibly got to her. We don’t know what else was going on in this poor nurses life, I think blame has to be put aside and support has to be given instead.
    Great post x

  • A really good post – and well done for writing it. You are saying similar things to what I have been saying but I haven’t been brave enough to blog about it! The speed and intensity of the blame directed at those (admittedly daft) DJs was really worrying. I don’t know what it is about us humans but we do have this strange habit of immediately deciding who the Bad Guys and Good Guys are – aligning ourselves with the Good and doing everything we can to heap blame and abuse on the Bad. There are no winners in this prank call situation at all – some things are just plain tragic in their own right without all the moral hysteria which people seem to find essential.

    We are having a similar situation here in Taunton – remember the M5 crash last year? The fireworks organiser is facing 7 counts of manslaughter, and even families of the victims are expressing regret and pity that he is shouldering the blame for what was essentially a terrible accident. It’s like justice (in the many ways people see it) must be seen to be done.