For some of us, our beloved parent, trusted life-partner or dearly loved child begins making choices that cause concern; slowly trust is eroded and the relationship changes as a result long before the problem is generally known. Other times folks put on a "good face" and the sudden fall from respected community leader finds even their nearest and dearest wholly unprepared. Either way the new reality of legal troubles, financial ruin and public disgrace comes as a shock to family and friends. If it is a sufficiently public event we may have a camera and microphone shoved in our face when we are still reeling from the shock and the questions that trail into the years ahead, "How did this happen?" "What could I have done to prevent this?" And maybe eventually, as we share the journey of other families dealing with criminal behavior and/or incarceration, we begin to say, "Thank God it was not worse".
However it comes, a crime, news of a crime, response to a crime touches hundreds of lives from survivors to law enforcement to the person arrested, to the courtroom personnel and defense personnel, to the jail and prison personnel, to social workers and medical workers educators and community members who have to deal with the multiple layers of response and then add the families of each and every one of these folks who are touched in the ever widening circles of anxiety, expense, emotional exhaustion and destruction of one small act. It is not an act of kindness or courage that might be acknowledged by a grateful recipient, but rather acts of carelessness and wanton selfishness that get no benefit from the tsunami of damage it releases.
This is why it is so important to be thoughtful, the current buzz word is "mindful" of our choices. There are just too many people living in the aftermath of a moment, a choice that is remembered with confusion and pain and the cry "But I never intended for it to go that far!"
We each need to make a personal decision to "do no harm" as we seek response to the challenges of our culture, our lives is a step in the right direction, because reacting (rather than responding) can boost us right into legal trouble in a nanosecond. And the circles of destruction get a boost we never intended.