Dallas Hyland is a St. George News columnist, the opinions stated herein are his own and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – There is an age-old adage that observes how people in general tend to judge themselves in light of their intentions while judging others in light of their actions.
I have often asserted that this is the crux of most misunderstandings and injustice in human interaction.
But what of our tendency to pick, choose, support, and defend our predispositions without regard to logic or facts?
People do this and offer up what is tantamount to a disclaimer for actual behavior with the notion that because their intentions may have been misunderstood, they should somehow be exempt from the consequences of their actions.
Let’s put some skin on this.
Last year, an off-duty Utah State Patrolman left his home to assist in a traffic accident almost 40 miles north on Interstate 15.
While traveling at a rate of speeds up to 100 mph on a residential street he collided with a car killing two elderly women.
In light of his intentions, which were assumed to be good, his good track record, service with the agency, and some rather vague interpretations of state laws and agency protocols, he was exonerated and to my knowledge is back at work doing a fine job.
My question is profound in its simplicity and your answer defines you.
What if you or I did the same thing?
Would our good track record as citizens and well-intentioned reasons for driving in reckless fashion be enough to exonerate us from a second-degree murder charge?
Now, my good friend and colleague Kate Dalley would likely chime in that what is not understood here is how kind, goodhearted, well intentioned, under appreciated, and misunderstood our men and women in uniform really are; that because of the nature of their profession and their selfless dedication to the community they should somehow be held to a different standard than the everyday citizen.
I wonder if they agree?
I wonder if it would have gained the USP more respect from the community had they held this officer to the same standard or even the higher standard one might assume them to have by the very nature of the fact that: With granted power comes more accountability and responsibility.
I have no malice of heart towards this officer. It was a bad day for everyone and his guilt for the outcome of his decisions cannot be comprehended.
But I wonder what he would say to a drunk driver he was about to arrest for killing someone with their car who maintained their innocence by saying they had intended something better than what actually happened.
He might find himself in a moment of clarity able to empathize with the drivers remorse after the fact, but he would hold him accountable for his actual actions.
See you out there.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.