Just Because Everyone Does It, Doesn’t Make It Right

A few weeks ago, at the end of a food-shopping expedition, I had just completed loading groceries into my car and wanted to return the cart. Sometimes, I bring it back into the store, and other times, I look for an area where they are retrieved. I was about to leave the carriage in one of those selected areas or what I thought was. On this particular day, I noticed an employee sitting outside in one of these spots. As I was about to leave the carriage, I realized that perhaps I was wrong about this designated location. I asked the employee. Cheerfully, she responded with, “Everyone else leaves it here.” I looked at her  and said, “Well, just because everyone does it does not make it right.” I proceeded to wheel the carriage into the market, and as I walked by this woman again, she smiled and said, “Thank you.” I returned her friendly gesture and repeated what I just stated.

Thinking about this issue, I realized how often we do this innocuously and not so harmlessly. When it comes to the latter, the situation can be deadly.

The Murder of Kitty Genovese

I remember hearing later about a homicide that took place when I was a child. In 1964, Kitty Genovese of Queens, New York, was raped and stabbed to death. Reputedly, several witnesses heard her cries or saw her but did nothing. Later, further discovery revealed there was gross exaggeration in the number of witnesses. Whether or not there was inflation is not the question. Even if there were a few who chose not to intervene because they saw no one else do so, does that make it right? Of course not. We do not know the facts because of the embellishment of the reporters and the obscurity of the details at that time. Allegedly, contacting the police rendered no immediate action as not deemed a priority. Again, there is no way to know. What can be deduced from the information is that some people were fearful or believed others could handle the situation more appropriately, so they did nothing.

A Man Drowning

A few years ago, some minors posted a disturbing video on social media, which, thankfully, I did not view. Researching this tragedy, I found it took place in Florida in 2017. These young people watched, laughed, and videoed this man crying for help before he succumbed to his death. Charges were withheld against these minors because, legally, there was no requirement for them to intercede. The law may state one thing, but you would hope that our moral compass conveys another. Just because there was no legal responsibility to rescue this distressed man, does that make it right?

Acquiescing to Peer Pressure

Last year or so, there was a commentary in the Wall Street Journal regarding a situation that was occurring at a college. I do not recall the specifics, but the writer indicated that his professorial friend was signing something that he knew did not comport with his friend. When he asked his friend, the professor told him he was correct but was doing it as was everyone else even though he doubted they agreed with it. Alrighty, then, but does that make it right?

Just Because Few People Say It, Doesn’t Make It Wrong

We live in times where you are not always able to be yourself so let me try. I am a privileged woman. How so, you might wonder? Well, not in a conventional manner. I am not referring to the color of my skin or my socioeconomic status. No, I am referring to the following: I am a sixty-two-year-old woman of faith soon to be sixty-three blessed to have a zest for life and continuous openness to the possibilities. I have been a solopreneur for over thirty years, fortunate to have a robust career working with some of the most remarkable people you could ever encounter. I am most grateful for living in a great country where opportunities remain abundant to those of us throughout the lifecycle and being alive in the 21st century.

Most importantly, I am beyond appreciative of being healthy and expressing myself, being who I am supposed to be. I am indeed wealthy, and what a privilege that is. Many people will disagree with my definition of ”privilege.” Even if most people do, that is their right, but it doesn’t mean they are right.

Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on following the crowd, not speaking out, or fearful of standing out? I look forward to receiving your comments.


Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. For over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary professional role has been as a Therapist, but now she includes Author and Writer. In 2011, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper and hasn’t stopped. Many of her blogs can also be found on Sixty and Me, Medium, and Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, Stop Depriving The World of You, traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Throughout her career, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book. As a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene’s first novel, Visible Forever, will be published in the spring of 2024 by WordCrafts Press.

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  1. Great share Darlene,
    All there with you on this topic.
    Integrity always is important, even though you don’t like it yourself. Like private matters.
    That’s, always doing the right thing. On a professional level, it’s for me just common sense and I don’t spend much time on explanations. In private matters, yes there is the “why” more important, because mostly there is also a part and responsibility of “upbringing”. No jokes here, I take this topic very serious.
    When it comes to fearful standing out, I encourage that when it comes to people with great values, those who are a light to our world and still are very humble. Such people shine in their true essence, even in their stillness you can feel the power of their presence.

    There is also a great quote: always stand up what you believe in / stand up for what is right, even if that means standing alone.

    • Hi Ineke,

      I apologize for my tardy response. Everyone has a story. You do not need to hear mine, but a hearty thank you for your lovely response. Yes, I love what you wrote, and I love the quote. Thank you as always!

  2. Great article Darlene, being a cop for as long as I was and answering the various calls of all sorts, one of my many lines I would use when confronted with debate about whether something was right or wrong, was “ just because someone else does it, doesn’t make it right. Do you agree or disagree? 99 % of the time the answer was simply “no”. Always try to do the right thing. Plain and simple.