Guess I’m feeling lecture-y…
I don’t watch video news but I read a lot and there is ongoing debate about Putin’s reasons for the invasion of Ukraine. I say his and not his country’s because he made the decision, he didn’t take a vote. There may be hidden influences, or not so hidden ones but, ultimately, he made the call.
Thing is, “reasons” in a case like this, his reasons, are simply what he feels he needs to use to motivate his actions before he acts or to justify them afterwards. They are what he needs to say in order to feel better about committing a crime.
These are often lies. For practical purposes, they might as well be.
He knows, deep down, most likely that he is hurting others, destroying life and the livingness of others. Not just Ukrainians but his own people’s because a crime against humanity is a crime against all humans. Hurting others is always a crime, whether it’s bullying and petty vandalism or invading a country and shooting and bombing. It’s the same class of crime, just much bigger in its destruction.
People who do this sort of thing NEED reasons for doing it. It’s like gravity. They speak them a LOT because it’s the only way to alleviate the guilt they feel or would feel about the crime. Strangely, they want us to LIKE them.
If they don’t feel any guilt then they are just sociopaths and insane. Their reasons might be, “because I’m always right,” or “because whatever I think is best is best” or “It feels good.” Still they have their “reasons.”
Focusing on the reasons is what individuals who have committed a crime want you, us, to do. “Look over there!” “I HAD to!” “They did it first!” Motivations, Justifications. Pity party. The most obvious reason for throwing the first punch is usually, “He was attacking me. It was self-defense.”
What is important is what was done. Period. There was a slap. There was an invasion, whatever. That person who DID that thing is what you need to look at, not their reasons for doing it.
Ignore the reasons.
Ukrainians don’t need to tell your their reasons for defending their lives and culture. We KNOW what they are doing and know that it’s right. That’s a pretty good sign they are the target and not the tank.
And our actions, in the long run, shouldn’t be about punishment, which is just a cycle where the victim becomes the bully. It’s about responsibility where the bully sees himself for what he is and makes things right. Or humanity removes him from society and allows others to make it right.
What did you DO? Is the question. Not why did you do it.
Peter Kjenaas is an author, screenwriter, theater director, producer, chef, AirBnB host, parent and caregiver extraordinaire. And now he adds travel writer to his resumé as he sets off across the country in a 1971 VW camper bus. But first and foremost he is a caring and productive human who has graciously allowed us to post some of his writings to this site. See his latest book at PeterKjenaas.com, and his travel adventures at Riders on the Storm Bus.