Caution: You’re about to enter a “no empathy zone”!

On a weekly basis, I have to choke back my urge to puke when people who’ve gotten themselves into big trouble tell me how terrible the impact of the impending consequences is going to be for them and their loved ones, as if they expect me to empathize.  I don’t empathize.  It’s generally not hard to avoid the kinds of consequences that I hear these people bemoaning — in fact, it’s super easy.  Here are a few recent, poignant illustrations of my point:

In Pennsylvania, a 65-year-old man reportedly went out for a bike ride.  Along the way, three teenagers ran up to him, pushed him off of the bike, and started beating him on the ground in an attempted robbery.  They picked the wrong guy — a concealed-weapon permit holder.  Fearing loss of consciousness from which he may never have awakened, the man pulled his gun and shot two of the three teens.  The victim (the 65-year-old guy) went home alive; one of the teens went to the morgue; the second teen went to a hospital; and the third teen, the one who didn’t get shot, went to jail.  If it all happened the way it’s being reported (the way I just retold it to you), then while I feel a little bit sorry for the dead teen’s family, I don’t feel sorry at all for the dead and wounded teens.  It’s not difficult to avoid being shot while committing aggravated assault and robbery.  It’s super easy — don’t assault or attempt to rob anybody, and if you do, don’t expect empathy if you end up getting shot.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, a 17-year-old, along with several 15-16-year-old friends, viciously attacked and attempted to rob a young man of Asian descent, mercilessly beating victim to near death in the process.  When video of the attack made it onto the Internet, relatives of the 17-year-old saw it, recognized him, and notified his father, a sheriff’s deputy.  The father did the right thing and reported his son’s involvement to law enforcement.  The son is in custody with bond set at $100,000, which the father cannot afford to pay, and has been charged as an adult, which means he’s facing many years in prison.  The father is now complaining that the son is being treated unfairly.  No, he’s not.  He’s a dangerous animal — you can easily find the video of the attack on the Internet, but if you’ve eaten recently, I don’t recommend it — and as such, he belongs in a cage.  It’s not difficult to avoid being locked up for aggravated assault and robbery.  Again, it’s super easy — don’t assault or attempt to rob anybody, and if you do, don’t expect empathy if you end up in prison.  (Incidentally, the father is right about one thing — his son is the only defendant currently charged as an adult — but if you’re a regular reader, you already know what the Lawpsyc fix for that would be:  that’s right, charge them all as adults!)

And finally, in California, actress Demi Moore had to be taken to a hospital this week after reportedly sniffing too much nitrous oxide from “whippets” (small canisters of the pressurized gas used, for example, to dispense whipped cream).  Yes, sniffing whippets to get high is illegal in California, but what’s worse, this woman’s a mother of three, one of whom is still a minor.  Just yesterday, I wrote about single parents who put their sex lives ahead of their children’s best interests, and here we have a woman who apparently put getting high ahead of her children’s best interests.  Now that this news has hit the entertainment media, we’re hearing all kinds of excuses about stress, exhaustion, grief over a recent breakup, blah, blah, blah… .  No, I don’t know how much stress Moore’s been under or how hard she’s been working, and yes, breakups can be extremely difficult — there’s even talk of making extreme grief reactions to such events diagnosable disorders in the next edition of the DSM (the diagnostic manual of mental disorders) — but it’s not difficult to go through any of that without abusing drugs.  Once again, it’s super easy — don’t abuse any drugs, and if you do, don’t expect empathy if you end up in a hospital and then in criminal and/or family court (as long as there’s a minor involved, a family court ought to assess Moore’s fitness to parent).

Thanks for reading, and have a good, personally responsible, weekend — it’s not difficult, it’s easy!

(P.S. If you live in eastern Kansas, one thing you won’t want to bother doing this weekend is taking a road trip to the tiny town of Stull, which is getting renewed publicity as the site of an upcoming horror movie — produced by former Guns & Roses guitarist “Slash” — about a cemetery that supposedly contains a portal to Hell.  I went to Stull as a teenager and wrote an article about that cemetery for my high school newspaper’s Halloween edition — there’s nothing unusual about the place at all; it’s what you might call a “rural legend.”  Tombstones in old cemeteries can be fascinating glimpses into the past, but if you’re ever inclined to take a walk through one in eastern Kansas, the 1865 Civil War era cemetery just west of Lawrence is a lot more interesting — one of its historic tombstones is pictured to the left.)

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