Monday, April 22, 2024

System too soft on violent crime


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The horrendous killing of a young mother – and in front of her young child – continues to drape my spirit in black.

My mind keeps asking the question: how could any human be minded to treat another in such a manner?

We’re witnessing increasingly a shocking disregard for the sanctity of human life, and the callous infliction of violence in general on one another. We’ve always had murder and violence, but of late the frequency and the level of brutality have been alarming.

It’s just one of the manifestations, I think, of a society on a rapid downward spiral, the final destination of which will be destruction of the society as we have known it.

The evidence is all around us in almost every area of national engagement, whether it be the slack dress of our young men and women, the disregard for others displayed by noise polluters on our roads and commercial transport vehicles, the degeneration in the standards of broadcasting by (some) mindless DJs pandering to the lowest common denominator, the lewd “bashment” behaviour of fans and even artistes at fetes . . . . The list seems endless.

Human societies are like ships on the ocean: they need to be managed and steered in the right direction, or those on board could find themselves in a perilous predicament.

The story of the Titanic comes to mind. Here was a captain whose task it was to ensure the safety of his crew and passengers, but who failed to respond to several warnings about the icebergs in the path of his vessel on that cold evening in 1912.

I see a similar failure of leadership, not just at the national level, but in all areas of management. The leadership of the home has failed; the leadership of broadcasting stations has failed, putting the dollar above the reputation of the profession and the well-being of the society; the leadership of the country has failed to arrest the growing anarchy in our transport system and on our streets.

We can only hope that the unfortunate fate of the Titanic passengers does not befall us.

If this horrible incident does nothing else, it must drive us to revisit the vexed question of capital punishment. For it is clear to me that there are people who have read the softness of the justice system on violent crime, and have determined that it is not a deterrent to them.

There is no point in punishment that does not fit the crime. I keep saying: there are societies where the level of crime is very low. The reason: the punishment fits.

We have bought into this popular notion that every punishment is cruel and inhuman.

A man breaks into a home, shoots the occupants to death and makes off with whatever he wants, and it is too cruel and inhuman to make him face the penalty for doing so.

Some vagabond chooses to molest a girl going about her lawful business, and it is too cruel and inhuman to make him feel the sting of a couple lashes in his [behind].

The reason for this explosion in violence and homicides is that we have become too soft, and those who are minded to commit these acts have recognised it and are taking full advantage of it. The day we toughen up, we will see a reduction in these acts.  

We cannot continue to permit the society to be ravaged by a minority of violent savages.



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