Intent doesn’t trump impact | Letter
Re: “With Intention,” Moment’s Notice, Feb. 16: I'd like Maria Montalvo to consider the fact that intent doesn't trump impact.
If someone accidentally steps hard on my foot, they didn't mean to cause me harm, but the reality is that it hurts. And when I say, hey that hurts, the proper response is to apologize and remove their foot. Not to tell me that they didn't intend to cause harm, especially if they continue to step on my foot while they go to the trouble of explaining their intent.
We have to understand that our words and actions have the potential to do harm. When that harm is pointed out, it's our responsibility to correct our actions, not to convince people that we didn't mean anything by it. It is not appropriate to ask people to consider our intent when we do harm.
Certainly, we should have the best intentions. But when our intentions lead us astray, we should have courtesy to listen to those who suffer the impact of our actions.
Maria Montalvo responds: The comments are very much appreciated, and we may actually agree. My intent was to say that it can be difficult to separate the person from the intent or the action. We will almost always question intent and action. I try not to question the person before the action and then the intent if my hope is that we will reach some common ground.