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Idea of 'Just Desserts' Lost on Our Society

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Idea of 'Just Desserts' Lost on Our Society

Among the things bothering me about the Timothy McVeigh case is this: No one is discussing the notion of "just desserts."

Some of a certain age will remember our mothers and fathers telling us that we got what we deserved. There was an implied lesson to be learned. It was that if we did well, we received the payment associated with doing well. Conversely, if we did wrong, and especially if we did something that was evil, we should expect to receive the payment associated with such behavior. Just desserts.

All of this is gone now -- like a lot of mothers and fathers, who divorce, or work all the time, or adopt or give birth to children without a husband. No one deserves bad things for bad actions anymore. We are all victims and to suggest that we should pay a price for bad decisions is to be judgmental and mean-spirited.

Is it any wonder the prisons overflow? Is it any wonder that we get more of the behavior we tolerate and condone? Of course, no one condones the Oklahoma City bombing, other than Tim McVeigh, who celebrates it. But we tolerate so much evil in our midst that it should be no surprise when evil rises up and gives us our own just desserts for ignoring evil.