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Global Violence And Public Outcry For Change

Published By Blue On Sun, December 23, 2012 - 9:08

Two recent events – one in the United States and the other in India have drawn dramatic press coverage tremendous public outcry for change.

On 14 December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut a 20 year old man murdered his mother then drove to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School and equally cold-bloodedly killed twenty, six and seven year-olds as well as six school teachers & staff before taking his own life.

Two days later in Delhi, India a 23-year old physiotherapy female student was brutally gang-raped and beaten with a metal rod. This deadly assault occurred on a bus, while the bus driver continued to drive – only to let someone else take the wheel, so that he too could have his turn at this sickening crime. The young woman and her companion were thrown out of the bus and left for dead. She currently is in intensive care fighting for her life.

Both events have drawn the attention of their respective nations and much of the rest of the World. In the United States, many clamor for gun control and describe the Newtown school shooting as a tipping point. The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) CEO and executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre has countered back with his plan that there should be government sanctioned and funded armed police at every school.

In Delhi, tens of thousands are protesting, resulting in many arrests and further injury. Five of the six perpetrators have been arrested and a fast-tracking of their trials has been proposed along with more severe punishment for rape – some even talk of making it a capital crime. Rape in India has increased dramatically in the past several decades. CNN reports an 875% increase in the last 40 years. And never forget that rape is an extremely under-reported crime, so it’s realistic that the real statistics far surpass this. Many outside the sub-continent are surprised to know just how patriarchal of a society India is. Census studies reveal that for every 1000 six-year old boys, there are only 914 girls in India. This figure continues to drop and is reflective of the illegal, but oft performed abortions of female fetuses.

The cause of crime in general, especially any particular crime is complex with many contributing etiologies and variables. One often over looked psychological and philosophical issue is that of empathy. If any of those who committed these crimes had increased empathy (or any) for their fellow human beings, these crimes would not have occurred. More research regarding empathy – what engenders it and what degrades it needs to be undertaken with urgency. Practical and real-world implementation of that which is already known regarding this irreplaceable quality can be performed immediately. For the lack of empathy is one of the issues at the root of most crime. Prevention can take place at many levels. What causes a person to attempt to “solve a problem” or react with violence is fundamentally self-centered rather than other-centered. Indeed empathy is one of the qualities which cannot only help to dramatically lower crime, but without it – one may be of flesh and blood – but they are fundamentally inhuman.