A young man dresses up in expensive clothing, stuffs his pockets to the bulging point with money, then walks into a rough neighborhood. Someone hits him over the head, takes his money, and leaves him bleeding in the street. If you suggest that he acted recklessly, you are accused of “blaming the victim.”
Why is it so difficult to make a few simple distinctions?
The perpetrator is entirely to blame for robbery and assault.
But the victim in this case is to blame for foolhardiness and indiscretion.
The victim’s foolishness does not mitigate the perpetrator’s guilt for his crime.
But the perpetrator’s guilt does not mitigate the victim’s blame for his folly.
The perpetrator deserves our reprobation, and should suffer the full penalty of law.
But the victim, who has already suffered the penalty of natural consequences, deserves our pity -- and a stern talking-to.