Malaysiakini Letter

Looking at crime from a different perspective

Tan Zhong Yan
Published:  |  Modified:

Yesterday, cyberspace especially Facebook was flooded with the news that a 13-year-old boy had attempted to rape a woman (or at least he was alleged to have molested her) inside the female toilet of a petrol kiosk. This, if not mistaken, was revealed by the alleged victim herself and her boyfriend through Facebook and was also later reported by The Star Online .

(The act of revealing the boy’s photo, identity and personal information should be condemned as everyone is innocent until proven guilty and the boy should be protected by virtue of Section 15 of the Child Act 2001 as he is still a minor.)

The recent shooting in Connecticut and the Delhi gang-rape are recent crimes which hit the headlines. Of course, these are not the only crimes that happen. There are thousands of crimes happening every day, everywhere in the world. Crime, generally is on the rise (though this is said not to be the case in Malaysia by the statistics given by the Royal Malaysian Police - but Benjamin Disraeli once said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”.

Most of us, if not all, will surely condemn the criminals whenever he heard about the news of the crime that happened. We will call the criminals as monsters, animals or some will say they are even worse than animals. But don’t you think when we are calling the criminals as monsters, animals or even worse than animals, we are actually referring to ourselves, too, as we are the same species as them - Homo sapiens?

The differences between a criminal and non-criminal are only the way they think and act but that does not make a non-criminal to be a different species than a criminal.

Putting that aside, whilst everyone is condemning the criminals, did we ever take a moment to think why did they commit crime? What has caused them to commit crime? Whom should we blame - the criminals, their parents or perhaps someone else?

Of course, if a person has committed a crime, he should be punished according to the punishment that he deserves. Even though one of the purposes of punishment is to serve as a deterrent, it seems to be not really effective as crime is on the rise!

The only effective way to curb crime is by going to the root of the problem. We should not only ask but we should also answer the questions posed above and take actions. Although the criminals should be held liable for what they have done, my question is, shouldn’t we also bear some responsibilities?

Society is sick because of you and me. We are the ones who caused the society to be sick because we are the ones who form the society. Society is sick because of our ignorance and our nature in putting blame on others. We are the ones who should be blamed. Therefore, whenever we heard of a crime that happened, we should not only blame and condemn the criminals but we should also blame and condemn ourselves.

Crime cannot be stopped but can be prevented, controlled and reduced. But that can only be done if we are willing to make some efforts and stop putting the blame on others.

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