Beware of unintended consequences–The butt of a joke
Some staggering news out of Great Britain comes as a follow up to Kate Middleton’s hospitalization. Everyone remembers (it was only a couple days ago) the hoax phone call to the hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for extreme morning sickness. The fake call came in pretending the queen was on the line, inquiring about Kate.
The nurse who fielded that call, Jacintha Saldanha, has apparently committed suicide outside of the hospital. She was the butt of everyone’s joke. She leaves 2 small children. I believe she was a single mom. How truly tragic. Buckingham Palace immediately responded with horror and reassured everyone that they had not complained about anyone at the hospital.
Here is the lesson on unintended consequences. Who would have thought that a prank would result in the loss of someone’s life?
Words do hurt. Whether we play a prank on someone or whether we speak unkindly of people on a personal level as we conduct our politics for the day, what we say does impact others. I have seen some mighty unkind words in print. Some of them have been about Elena and me and our friends. Some of them have called our elected official awful names. “Bag of Sh*t” seems to come to mind. Other cases mimic others and make fun of personal appearance or how someone talks. I have even seen snide remarks over close dead family members who are deceased. There are many examples. There seem to be no limits when someone sits behind a computer screen.
I think it is up to all of us who engage in ink or electronic print to take a few moments and think about what impact words have had on a very decent person, from all accounts. I think care is particularly necessary when we are acting locally. The people we talk about are those we bump into in the grocery store or doing our jobs. We might sell those same people a car or make them a drink.
Regardless of what religion we practice, rest assured that there is some sort of Golden Rule to guild us in our dealings with others. It is there if we just listen.
What a horrible waste. RIP Nurse Jacintha Saldanha.