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Archive for January, 2013

I’d be willing to bet that almost any parent would want to ensure their child’s safety. Yet we seem use illogical means for securing it.

A couple of weeks ago witnessed the Connecticut, USA shooting in which a young man shot dead 25-26 people, 20 of them little children aged 5 to 7. From all media reports the mother of this young man had several [note the plural] assault weapons in the home and these were used to shoot the innocent children and teachers, as well as the mother herself. Tragic enough, but what’s worse is that this is not the only such incident. And what makes it really, really bad is the reaction to such an event.

Just take a look at some of the responses/measures to tackle such situations in the future.

  • An armored [good] guard  as a means to deal with the armored [bad] guys that might come into  a school…
  • Teachers being trained by members of the Utah Shooting Sports Council to handle weapons so they can deal with assailants in their classrooms.
  • People seeking more gun permits so that they can ‘defend’ themselves

To all these well-meaning folks, I have just a few questions….

  • How many weapons can you wield at one moment?
  • If they are kept away safely most of the time, how would they be available, in any case, in a split moment, assuming there was an assailant that attacked you within your home?
  • If you carried one or more gun around on a regular basis [so as to deal with any unforeseen circumstances], are you not likely to shoot at bystanders inadvertently?
  • Is this a ‘sport’ that really needs to be encouraged?
  • What if these weapons fall into the hands of children who may out of curiosity want to try them out, or some one who is mentally ill and may not be able to hold back on impulse and temporary rage?

Guns as protection?  I think not!

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An eye for an eye is not my idea of good justice. It is probably a politically incorrect stance to take at the moment amidst the clamour and outrage surrounding the recent gang rape case in Delhi.

Don’t get me wrong. I do empathize with the emotions and sentiments of many of the protestors. Yet I feel a deep disquiet at where this seems to be headed. Baying for the blood of the rapists and murderers and clamoring for their being hanged or subjected to similar brutality ‘ to teach them and others like them a lesson’, only temporarily stills an immediate sense of rage, despair, helplessness…. It does NOT address the root cause.

If MPs and political leaders can make insensitive statements / remarks that focus on only one facet of such situations [e.g. rape survivor – surely THAT is not a woman’s identity?!], it just underlines how unbalanced these views about women and indeed, humanity are!

‘Hanging’ is not a long term solution.  And torture, lynching etc. are not even measures that should be considered. Fast track courts, more convictions that are implemented and carried out to full term, directories of sex offenders and criminals are all needed, specially in the short run. But what is really needed is socialization. Call it changing the mindset, developing respectful attitudes… it still boils down to how we bring up our children [not just our own but those in our neigbhourhood and beyond]. Both boys and girls.

What do we say to them in verbal and non-verbal ways from the moment they are born? Do we even stop to reflect on our ‘lighthearted fun’ and depreciation reflected in disrespect of people? Not just disrespect of women but of persons with different capacities, of different cultures, of traditions different from out own…..

But to return to this particular aspect. Respect for women … [and men… but more about that another time].

We will hang these six, perhaps we’ll hang several hundred more, but while we are doing that, can we stop for a minute and think about what we can do as we go about our every day lives to stem this rot?

Just the other day, I was at a preschool  ‘annual’ day’ program. Imagine my dismay when 4-5 year old girls and boys began dancing to a ‘lavani’! The little ones shook their hips and twirled around to “Haath naka lavu majhya sadila”  [a coy -‘ oh please don’t touch my sari’].

What added immensely to my concern was that the audience consisting of the parents of these same children, fathers and mothers both, were applauding the performance. And not just applauding, but whistling at key moments…. Does the implication really not occur to these ‘educated’, ‘cultured’ folks?!

For me, as I hope it does for the majority of people, the answer lies in parenting, in real education, in the responsibility and concern we demonstrate as citizens.

The answer for me is still in quiet change….

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