Whole picture

November 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

The body of 66-year old David Maxwell was found today post hurricane Sandy. Before the hurricane, a neighbor knocked at the door and he did not reply, so everyone thought that he was gone. The same neighbor commented “He thought the storm wasn’t going to be as bad as it was. He underestimated it. And this is what happened to him.” But there is more to the story.

Most stories tend to blame victims for their carelessness, negligence, or lack of sight. Since in the western world is so important to count on our own forces, the emphasis is on our own action, or lack of action.

Reading beyond these lines, I learn that David was rather isolated, and that his partner, a man, was institutionalized in a nursing home. So David was either gay or bisexual. And he was a former member of the military forces. I can also assume that maybe the neighborhood was not the most liberal. Who knows…

Perhaps higher and intangible forces led him not to answer the knock – heterosexism, ageism…Maybe a luck of trust with the world around him. Or maybe he did not hear the knock because of some impairment or a fall. It is impossible to say at this point. What matters is that we move beyond the easy and trite stories of blaming someone for his actions and look at the whole picture, as much as we can.



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