Mel+Greig,+left,+and+Michael+ChristianWhen I think of the events from two Australian Disc Jockeys who pulled a prank on United Kingdom hospital nurse where Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness I recall y time in Johannesburg, South Africa some fourteen years ago. As I sat in a lounge, CNN interrupted their normal news showing the damage of a Los Angeles, California earthquake some ten (10) minutes prior.

And that’s my point … it took only ten minutes for the news to travel halfway around the globe. I am most positive that neither Mel Greig and Michael Christian thought nurse Jacintha Saldanha would end her life. I also understand Ms. Saldanha is responsible for taking her own life. Also, we have no idea of the nurse’s state of mind at the time of her death. I simply pray for her family and friends.

Still, the Australian DJ’s lack of technical responsibility does not change the fact that two children and a husband will spend many years without a mother. If the DJ’s had not performed that joke, waited another, waited another ten minutes, events might be totally different. But for all intent and purposes, the careers of both Mel Greig and Michael Christian are toast! They are over. No company will seriously hire either. All that work, training, talent and energy are crushed.

As I mentioned in a previous writing, the butterfly effect seems so vividly appropriate. The butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place results in large change somewhere else. Here, the DJ’s actions set off tragic consequences. However, are they responsible for everything? Maybe not, but does it matter?

I find great irony in Ms. Greig’s bio:

Now at 29, Mel considers herself ‘one of the lucky ones that turned my life around’, and, as a co-owner of a successful business, she is immensely proud of her 13-year career in radio, that is still going strong … Mel likes long walks on the beach and is an advocate for world peace.

It’s that last line, “… and she is an advocate for world peace.”

From a Buddhist perspective, if the DJ’s had remember two lessons this event may have never occurred: 1). Do no harm; and 2). Do not lie.  Our lies have wings of a butterfly. All of us touch one another’s life is such subtle ways. Yet those very glances can be powerful enough to change the course of personal history.

I myself wish I had learned those two lessons many years ago. If I did, I would have never hurt so many people and the one I love.