The Soft Spot of Exemption

A pathological adherence to: “It’s okay if I do it because I’m a good person” is America’s worst curse.

It’s hard to fathom the conscious human brain hemorrhaging the idiocy required to esentially set off fireworks on a 118° day in one of the few California forests not already engulfed in a sea of flame, but here we are.

And I say “we,” of course, because the assumption that we’re not, at times, idiots, criminals, or racists applies to everyone. It’s a delusion arising from the same soft spot in our psyches that produces the two things we deny the most: stubbornness and cowardice.

A “gender reveal” smoke bomb ignited the 8700+ acre El Dorado fire because some asshole simply assumed safety would accompany their self-congratulatory antics. The fire rages because a “good person” believed this “goodness” was the totality of their identity.

It’s a line of thinking reminiscent of:
Well, I’ve have NEVER been mean to a person of color, so…
…but it’s a pipe bomb in honor of MY baby!
And now, of course,
Bikes are freedom! Nobody’s telling me to wear a mask at SturgiCon!

If you’ll pardon a little excuse theory, what’s hiding behind an excuse is often the most interesting part, because it says something about all of us. We spend our lives buying and selling justifications, training ourselves to accept various levels of self deception, leaning on more shades of gray than there are rain clouds. We cite mitigating circumstances before we can damn near walk. In every conceivable aspect of our behavior we allow ourselves to escape consequences whenever we can. When we take things too far and wind up pulling something illegal or stupid, we even feel betrayed by these  pillars of rationalization, because somehow they don’t save us.

And to think, gender reveal parties were lame as hell before this.

Whatever amount of restitution this family is expected to pay, they’ll never escape the fact that their monsterous entitlement resulted in the death of a career-skilled firefighter, the destruction of 20 homes, and 22,600+ burned acres of forest.

That’s a lot to own for such a frivolous gratification.