There are certain events that get you thinking. The ones which highlight how humans treat fellow humans (the dirty minds), they peak my interest. The general debate on issues involving humans usually focus on why one person/group of people should be punished. Their acts are put down as gruesome, inhumane, or sometimes in bad taste. Their punishments however have a wider range, from instant civilian justice to castration and sometimes death (can also be read as genocide-the line between the perpetrator and the perpetrated is finer than you expect).
What is interesting about events like this is that the level of public outrage is usually not in direct relation to the level of the ‘crime’. Now that is understandable because human reaction does not necessarily follow the rules of rationality (it shouldn’t, because that would be against the rules of emotion). However, what I fail to understand is the basis for the approach taken to solve the problem. Because the basic structure of a problem is that it stems from somewhere. You can’t cut the stem of a (few) plant(s) and expect to solve the problem. The root still remains untouched. (please brace for the plant and gardening metaphors to follow)
I am often in awe of the human need for instantaneous judgement. We believe that it teaches everyone a lesson, that it serves as an example. We’ve all been to school. Lessons can be forgotten, in fact they are meant to be forgotten. I believe that as a society we need to start asking questions and get to the root of the problem. But don’t be hasty and cut off the root just yet. Maybe the problem has nothing to do with the root, it can even be the soil. (I warned you! )
I believe the only way to diagnose the problem is to ask a few questions.
Why did whatever happen, happen?
Is there scope for this to happen again? And again?
If yes, why?
(Ask these questions not on the scale of an individual, but on the scale of society)
Before I continue I would like to make it very clear that I am in no way justifying the act(s) itself, but I sincerely believe that along with delivering a message to the miscreants of the future, we must try and create a system where we can reduce the number of miscreants created in the first place.
It is too idealistic a vision, but it also targets too real a problem. Maybe the dirty minds aren’t the actual problem but merely a symptom of the general trajectory of change to follow. If so, this symptom needs to be weeded out before the dirty minds become our default setting and the resulting activities commonplace.