As the child of Holocaust survivors, it wasn’t pleasant for me to hear a well-known celebrity’s poisonous tirade against the Jews, but more troublesome for me was the fact that the “Lethal Weapon” star, by driving drunk and not in control of his “wits” had indeed become a lethal weapon. Thanks to the police who stopped him – the only carnage that resulted – was to his own reputation.
This summer there was a big hue and cry over the anti-Jewish rants uttered by a very drunk Mel Gibson after he was stopped by police for driving like a drunk – out of control, with an inability to think and judge clearly.
While most people were outraged by the rather nasty remarks he spewed out regarding his God’s kinsmen, they glossed over an equally disturbing mindset of his – an apparent disregard for human life – as manifested by his knowingly getting behind the wheel of a car while he was physically and mentally impaired by alcohol. For there can be no dispute that cars – being driven by those whose judgment and reflexes have been undermined by alcohol, drugs, medication, lack of sleep, dementia, severe depression, illness, distractions like cell phones, eating/drinking/reading/putting on makeup etc. – become weapons of mass destruction. Hospitals and cemeteries testify to this fact on the ground.
When he turned on the ignition and went barreling down the highway, Gibson, who knew he had a drinking problem – he was not a novice who accidentally imbibed too much and had no idea of the debilitation affect alcohol would have on his ability to drive a car – was demonstrating to the world that if he indeed cared about other people’s safety and their right to live an intact life – it wasn’t a priority. His “needs” came first.
And that was where the outrage should have been focused on – not on the ravings of a gentile with a chip on his shoulder. There are millions of anti-Semites on this planet. Even Jewish ones. What’s the big deal if there is one more? And based on his recent movie about the Crucifixion, his attitude towards Jews should have come as no surprise.
The very real possibility that he could have maimed or killed a young person taking an early morning jog, or a middle-aged mother walking the family pet is what everyone’s ire should be focused on, not his pathetic, unoriginal remarks about the Jews. Due to irresponsible driving, lives with tremendous potential a have been prematurely snuffed out. Parents who spent years nourishing and protecting their children see the fruit of their labor destroyed. Parents bury children and children bury parents and families are demolished.
And unlike bigots, cars driven by impaired drivers do not discriminate. Everyone is a target.
Because of his fame, Gibson was singled out, but in reality he is typical of millions of individuals who unfortunately who put their self-serving needs, wants and agendas above the common good – never mind that their self-absorbed indulgences put others at risk. These don’t just include people who are impaired (while driving, flying or boating) but also those who deliberately misrepresent their skills or their products or their message, or those who are capable and competent but who end up doing incomplete or shoddy work.
Why? There are several simple but morally unacceptable reasons: love of money; apathy, laziness, lack of time, boredom, a lack of interest or integrity to give their full attention to the task at hand. Others simply have a hidden, self-serving agenda.
People from all walks of life and social and economic levels and cultures are guilty of this callous behavior, and range from professionals such as pharmacists, doctors, lawyers, religious leaders, therapists, politicians, journalists and teachers to tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, mechanics; manufacturers and retailers, food growers and restaurant owners and staff – and even sellers of “kosher” meat.
Many are so self absorbed and so focused on themselves that they truly do not give a damn if the outcome of their incompetent, apathetic or unethical actions cause serious harm to individuals or groups of people. Their prime directive is to make themselves feel good – who cares if it’s at the expense of innocent people who just want to live their lives in relative peace and comfort?
And that is where the public outrage should be focused. At self-indulgent behavior that puts others at risk – physically, emotionally and spiritually.