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Playing the Blame Game

By Father Pat Killilea, St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa

According to the story, it was the end of the school day and I was walking home for some milk and biscuits (cookies). As I arrived at the now familiar country crossroads, I must have been excited that school was over for the day because I bent down, picked up a stone and tossed it onto the galvanized roof of Mrs. McGuire’s roadside shed. The following Sunday after Mass, my mother was approached by Mrs. McGuire who complained to her that I had thrown a stone at her shed on my way home from school. My mother never told me what her reply was there and then, but over the years she enjoyed telling me that at age 4, on my very first day of school, I had committed this felony. She would then laugh and say that I probably did throw a stone but that the older boys and girls accompanying me had “put me up to it.” Subsequently, over the many years I “couldn’t hit a haycock” with a football, not to mention a stone.

As you may observe, the blame game unfortunately seems to be part of the human condition. We tend to blame Eve for passing the apple (or was it an avocado?) to Adam. And we blame Adam for being a sucker. We blame the cook when the soup is not exactly to our taste. We blame the referee when our team blows the game in the last quarter. We blame the pastor because his sermons are too long and the organist because the organ is out of tune. We blame the pope because he is too liberal or too conservative. We blame the president because of the price of beef.

We can always find excuses for playing the blame game. It’s easy to call out global warming when wild fires ravage neighborhoods and take the lives of their residents. Meantime, proper management of forests has been neglected. It is oh so easy for politicians to rail against fossil fuel while crisscrossing the country in private jets and living in fuel gorging mansions. Half truths are becoming the gospel of our time.

Here in Kalaupapa life goes on. We are shielded from the outside world by the giant cliffs as well as the surrounding ocean and we feel that we are free of the COVID-19 virus. Yet we are told that we are not certain of this. Such is the nature of the virus. This is not a half truth but rather a possibility. So we continue to follow the rules even when we wonder how much the medical experts know about the virus. They are doing their very best to give us the facts. We should not play the Blame Game. Aloha.


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