Who should take responsibility

For beatings and shootings and robbery?

Is it only the one who's holding the gun?

Or partly the fault of everyone?


If I stand by, and watch or gape

As an angry man, beats and rapes,

Do I contribute to the plan

To keep her under this vicious man?


As I listen to someone criticize

With words that mame or paralyze,

Do I become part of malicious gossip

'Cause I did nothing to curb or stop it?


If I see someone steal cold hard cash

With actions bold and sometimes rash,

Do I encourage the greed and the thrill

Even though my hand wasn't in the till?

If I let you watch a TV show

With guns and bloodshed from head to toe,

Am I creating that day and time

When no one feels bad about murder or crime?


When I see a co-worker stabbed in the back

And fail to do something to stop the attack,

Do I get by without shame or guilt?

Or stick in the knife with a brand new tilt?


When I see waste of water and trees

And say, "I have no control of these,"

Will I suffer less when it's dry and hot

Than those who were wasting while I was not?


I know it's hard to stand my ground

For everyone's rights--all around.

But if I don't, it's my failure to rise

Above violence, greed, waste and lies.


©Lynnette Schuepbach, September 16, 1992