Allow me to illustrate a small tale: A mother raises her child to be a good person. She instills him the basic values of “share with others”, “be respectful of others”, “follow the rules”, etc. Yet, the child is obstinate and rebellious. He refuses to listen to authority, he disrespects others, and he causes trouble and mayhem everywhere he goes— intentionally. Eventually, the child grows up to be a criminal and commits a crime for which he is prosecuted. Should the mother be punished as well?
According to Ronald Reagan, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” I agree with Reagan because the entire human population has the free will to choose their actions, whether they be unlawful or lawful. Essentially, I am arguing we cannot always blame society when a crime occurs. People need to take responsibility for their actions, not use society as a crutch when bad decision making occurs. In other words, we must take responsibility for our actions. We must take responsibility for our crimes.
Going back to my illustration, the mother did all she could to raise her child to be a good person but ultimately, it was the child who committed the crime. It’s the same way with society. Society can instill into us what are acceptable actions and what are taboos but in the end, each individual person determines their own actions. For example, interracial romances were once frowned upon (sometimes even illegal) but some people continued on in their forbidden love. Eventually, that taboo was overturned. Why? Because society does not dictate human action, humans dictate human action.