On a LJ community an philosophical person raised the following questions:
When someone says "we create our own reality" I usually respond with "I dare you to say that to a paraplegic". Personally I find that attitude is reserved for the comfortable and privileged, it tends to go right out the window when something truly bad happens. If you think about it, its a pretty arrogant position. Essentially declaring yourself God. If I get hit with a hurricane, Its because I created the hurricane? That was a pretty mean and selfish thing for me to do, wasn't it.
To me, the hindsight question of "why did thing X happen" becomes a Gordian knot of spiritual and philosophical proportions. The interpretation of a past event invites multiple interpretations. Some explanations are easy. Others reach into the higher reaches of the Divine or pre-natal astral influence. The most pragmatic interpretation would be that the person was at the right place at the very wrong time.
Bad stuff happens to good people. The "why" part is the fuel that creates religions. It can get really fuzzy as to why the child has abusive parents/relatives, the person crossing the road is paralyzed, or the hurricane destroys a region. There are no simple answers that allow us to understand these situations. Instead, we are dared to merely shake our hands at the Divine, shouting "how dare you!".
Does this mean choice is excluded? IMO, no. To borrow a trite saying, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade". While we may not understand misfortune, we can make concrete choices regarding how we deal with the misfortune. Does the child, now grown, succumb to the trauma of childhood or do they seek healing through whatever means possible? Does the paraplegic vegetate or do they live life to its fullest possible outcome? Does the victim of a hurricane assume the life of a homeless person or do they find ways to build an even better life? Choice begins when the vagueness of the unfair universe ends.
The choice I speak of happens in the operational moment. Your choice is in the now. This does not mean that your choice is the only one on the table. The outcome of life is a mix of choices. They merge into the physical and energetic outcome of the moment. Some factors of the now can reach far back into time, the result of past choices. Even while there may be a physical and energetic outcome, the result of your previous choices and everyone else's, HOW you interpret and react to the event is a choice made in that moment.
I don't have the answer to why bad things happen to good people. I am convinced that life can go on beyond these seemingly fated points. Choice is alive and well in the aftermath of philosophical Gordian knots.