"Passing the buck" is the act of attributing
another person or group with responsibility
for one's own actions.
Poker became very popular in America during the second half of the 19th century. Players were highly suspicious of cheating or any form of bias and there's considerable folklore depicting gunslingers in shoot-outs based on accusations of dirty dealing. In order to avoid unfairness the deal changed hands during sessions. The person who was next in line to deal would be given a marker. This was often a knife, and knives often had handles made of buck's horn - hence the marker becoming known as a buck. When the dealer's turn was done he "passed the buck." The tradition of marking the progression of the game became known as passing the buck. (http://www.phrases.org.uk)
In modern society, people in general avoid taking responsibility for their own wrong actions. They feel the need to place blame on someone else when something goes wrong. When bad things happen, they pass the buck to someone or something else. For example, some people seem to think if they are not the person directly stealing, lying, or committing any other sinful act, they hold no liability..
But, in truth, when humans stand by and let something happen, or worse, enable it to happen, they may actually be committing a graver offense because they know it is wrong. A lack of direct proximity somehow makes many people feel free of culpability.
Criminals, be they thieves or scoundrels without a conscience, do not care who they hurt, financially or otherwise. After all, how many people would buy goods they suspicion had been stolen as long as their dirty hands had not been involved in committing the robbery? Someone else did the offense; the "innocent" buyers are simply taking advantage of a "bargain."
Imagine you have the opportunity to make big money, potentially millions of dollars. All you have to do is pass the buck. To be a part of this wealthy venture, you may own the business, prescribe the orders, distribute the products, or just defend the operation by extolling some of its marginal benefits.
You are aware that the business practices are questionable, the products are potentially lethal, and the tremendous distribution has no absolute accountability, but you excuse yourself from any wrongdoing because you are never directly involved in harming any customers. Sure, many of those who misuse and abuse your products become very ill and even die; however, you, personally, never force them to destroy their lives.
The money you make is great and the growth potential is sky high. You convince yourself that the limited benefits of your business warrant continued operation despite any hazards to others.
The chain of operations in this lucrative business involves the following:
1. Pharmaceutical Corporations,
2. Business owners,
3. Medical doctors,
5. Business employees,
6. Legal representatives,
America must stop passing the buck to end the deadly epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Those who feel they have no responsibility for the carnage must search their conscience and realize their obligation to the whole of society. Anyone who contributes to the advance of illegal operations must face charges, no matter who they are. All of these criminals share considerable blame for mayhem and murder.
"For what shall it profit a man,
if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?"
King James Bible, Mark 8:36