Thursday, February 5, 2009

What if?

Now here’s a tough one. We see on the news the dreadful
stories of young men who could kill a three-year-old child
by the most casually brutal treatment, and a 15-year-old
who could batter a girl, a stranger, a backpacking tourist, to
death with a baseball bat. It sickens you to the core. Do you:

(a) join the chorus of lock-'em-up let's-get-tough law-and-
order, comfortable with identifying these young men as
rotten apples in society’s barrel, guys who’re just bad to the
bone and need to be punished accordingly; or

(b) give some thought to the kind of society that produces
such crimes, in the same way that a society might produce
graduate students or steel flanges, and think about how that
can be changed. This is no ‘We are all guilty’ liberal hand-
wringing but a considered attempt to make connections
between the apparently good intentions of the majority and
and the bad stuff that happens to the minority. Could it be,
could we dare to think, that the values we hold dear have
some part to play in the incidence of child abuse, drug use
and violent crime?

Surely not, I hear you exclaim: most of us abide by
standards of decency far removed from the lives led by
child abusers and baseball-bat killers. But what if these
terrible crimes occur not despite society's approved
standards (which include, indeed exalt, the pursuit of
individual gain and the accumulation of wealth and power)
but because of them? Discuss quietly among yourselves.

4 comments:

Pdogge said...

You are on to it

Loran said...

Re read Maurice Gee's Crime Story...who really are the criminals in today's society? And do we forgo morals for wealth at our peril?
Great blog by the way.

Linuxluver said...

The problem is the causes may well be rooted in behaviours exhibited behind closed doors well away from the usual reach of society. To try to reform or repair what people do at home is generally branded as social-engineering...and therefore (we are supposed to believe) is a bad thing.

I'm all for social engineering provided it is done openly and democratically and everyone invovled is accountable.

Christopher said...

You're definately onto it .