Thursday, 11 August 2011

Crying Out For Blood

You know a country has had enough when private citizens actively condone brutal, violent, and very public killings of criminals by law enforcement officials.

I have been in the Philippines for a little over four years now, and the level of violence here make the hardest Malaysian gangsters look amateur. Criminal organizations here have complex systems of organizations and even private armies; granted, these are the ones that present difficulty to the nation as a whole. Understandably, the frustration of the masses would blow over more to the petty criminals, the ones who operate on a much smaller scale and are either too unlucky/dumb/careless and were caught.

Reading the comments on this news report (see the number of "likes" as well!) has made me conclude that yes, many of these criminals have nowhere else to go but six feet under. Before anything else, let's not get anything wrong: I believe in human rights and I support it in principle and in spirit. In so saying, I also believe that individuals who would seek to deny another individual the very precious thing called "life" forfeit their claim to justice and their lives. When I think about it, I do not think that criminals who take away life deserve to keep theirs.

A Vigilante Attitude?
Of course, the public condoning of criminal killing is obviously not a long-term solution. The last thing anybody wants are roving packs of armed private citizens mercilessly serving out a deadly dish of vengeance. No. This will breed disorder, discord, and a false sense of justice for the country. There is also the chance of making grievous errors; an innocent man may fall victim to this witch-hunt. In the case of rooting out and killing known criminals, the means does not justify the end.

All Down to the Individual
In the end, where does this bring us? Crime is still rampant in the Philippines and the death of several criminals, while high-profile, will actually not do much to reduce the level of overall criminal activity in the country. I suppose apart from distancing ourselves from crime, it is far more important to maintain the "us against them" mentality (id est, "us" being non-criminals and "them" being criminals). Also, it is my opinion that we, bring private citizens, should (as much as possible) allow the law enforcement officials to be the ones to enforce the heavy hand of the law - they are much better trained and equipped for "removing" the "unwanted elements" of our society. Our part, I suppose, would be to remain vigilant against threats to our social well-being and security. After all, a private citizen, no matter how good the intention, will be considered a criminal under the rule of law if said citizen commits a crime to avenge/reverse another crime.

A tooth for a tooth would sounds fair, but I know for sure I wouldn't give a tooth for a criminal. Not even a single skin cell.


News article linked courtesy of Yahoo! News Philippines.

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