Accident or Intention?

It has been my experience that when one does something inadvertently or accidentally to another person and it causes harm, the person apologizes profusely.  Perhaps it is a leap in logic to presume this is always the case, but I think in most cases, if someone causes harm unintentionally, apology is the appropriate and common response.  Accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, apology.  I can recall some instances where there was an accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, then acknowledgment of the harm, and acknowledgment of the action.  However, I cannot recall any situations with accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, and defense of original action without an apology.  If there was an accidental action that caused harm, there was an apology as well.

How common is it, do you think, that there is accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, then defense of the original action as accident without apology?  For instance, I trip you accidentally, you fall and get hurt, then I don’t apologize, but instead say Ah well, it was an accident…?  Considering cultural norms surrounding apology in this circumstance, it does not seem to be a stretch to presume that if I trip you and you fall and I don’t apologize, that the original tripping was not accidental.  In this instance, it would be necessary to look to the surrounding circumstances to determine whether or not my action was intentional or inadvertent.  For instance, I’m wearing big shoes that I’m not used to wearing and holding my feet out at a funny angle because the shoes feel odd.  It would not be hard to figure it really was an accident.

However, if there is a footprint on the back of your leg in such a way that for that footprint to have landed there I would have had to have kicked you, and then you were harmed, and then I did not apologize, it would not be difficult to surmise that I intended to cause harm.  I may have intended to kick and tripped instead, but the original intent was to cause some harm thereby negating the need for apology.

Ah, it is all speculation.  I know it wasn’t an accident.  If it were, there would have been profuse apology.  The resulting damage may have been greater than predicted, but harm was still the intent.  The fact there was no apology is just another factor that proves it.

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