Three year old Jason was chasing five year old Robert. R slammed door on J. When J’s fingers were in the hinge jamb. And jammed were J’s fingers, taking on a decidedly flat look. Squeals of shock and pain. Robert’s even greater shock, when he saw the damage he’d done. The consequence he’d never anticipated when he’d slammed the door.
A child’s ability to foresee consequences is limited. Most adults are better at it. Actions have consequences, right? It hardly needs saying, but who knows who is reading this. Donald Trump might well get to our website, because Twitter and Facebook are now no-go zones for him.
I remember my third form geography teacher leading us through anthropological development from hunter-gathering to farming to urbanisation to the need for laws and regulations because, he taught, actions have consequences and one man’s (well, this was a boys’ school) rights must not be pressed at the expense of another man’s rights. He lost us at the use of “anthropological”, but for some reason the memory of the lesson remains, because the need for law and order suddenly made sense. Laws arose to limit bad consequences.
“A man,” said Mr Sinclair, “can do whatever he likes, as long as his actions don’t hurt others. To ensure that, we have laws.”
Some, though of adult appearance, have not learnt nor, at least, embraced, Mr Sinclair’s truth. Whatever we think of Donald Trump, and, amazingly, based on the same presenting evidence, some people love him and some hate him, he is a man who either doesn’t realise that his actions/words have consequences, or he doesn’t care. Did he know what he was doing when he told a crowd of stirrers and ‘patriots’, “… we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. … we’re going to walk down to the Capitol …” and “… you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong”? (You can read the whole inflammatory speech at https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-told-supporters-stormed-capitol-hill/story?id=75110558.)
Did it occur to him that such words would have consequences; or did he know it but not care, or even intend it? That’s what the impeachment process will need to decide, and he may face other further consequences.
But, unlike Robert, I can’t see young Donald learning from his imprudence.