2005-09-20

Trivialising crime

Yesterday night I was having an argument with Shan, regarding the Yellow Ribbon Campaign.

I told him I'll be writing my column about how excessive campaigning is trivialising crime, and, once again showing my traits of having a serious lack of sympathy, I launched into of those "If they know going to jail will make it tough to find jobs in future, then don't commit the freaking crime! If they still do, they are only asking for it!" line of arguments.

Shan frowned (it was on MSN but I can feel him frown) and argued that society will have crimes no matter what, and to punish these ex-offenders (I would say jailbirds, but nobody has a sense of humour nowadays) for a lifetime for unemployment for a single mistake is just childish and malicious. He added that they have already served their time in prison, and if they are doomed to be not made useful for society after that, it will only cause far more social problems, i.e them turning to crime again for a livelihood.

He also added rather ominously: You will only look foolish in your article.

Douglas Adams once said that the best way to learn is to teach, because it forces you to clear your mind before explaining to someone else.

Which is true, because I see my friend's point of view, but yet... I still think there is something very wrong with the situation.

Then while explaining further, I realised my issue with the campaign is that it is excessive. It has way out-shot its original purpose, to achieve another effect totally. How much money has been poured into the Yellow Ribbon campaign? I see ads at bus stops, I see a movie made of that issue, I even met a flag raiser - get this - INSIDE Toa Payoh swimming pool!

Don't get me wrong. I know that the campaign IS for a good cause even before my friend chided me, and I agree people deserve a second chance. Naturally, we also do not want ex-offenders to commit crimes again when they are freed, due to a "I'm doomed anyway, I might as well commit more crimes" view of the world.

But there is a good thing, and then too much of a good thing. It seems to me that now, criminals are protrayed as objects of sympathy, are they not? Why should we all go like, oh, so poor thing!, when they did do wrong in the first place?

Which should not be the way! It is not right for people to think, Oh ok, maybe I will rob that bank now, because even if I go to jail, I can still come out a free man, and be accepted by society again, as if I have done nothing wrong! Yippee!

That just trivialises crime, doesn't it?

Singapore has a harsh legal system, and it is working well because Singaporeans KNOW how harsh it is, and think twice before committing crimes.

Isn't that the whole point? Who is to say what is an appropriate punishment anyway? A rape victim will wish death upon the rapist, but the rapist's dad probably thinks a few months in prison is enough suffering for his son.

Therefore, the issue is not about appropriate punishments. It is about knowingly committing a crime, when you jolly well know the respective punishments. It is a package - you burn a house, you go to jail, you get caned (do you?), and you get a criminal record, which will affect your whole future.

You know that, so you know that burning that house is not worth it, and you don't do it!

But yes, ex-offenders turning to crime again, they deserve a second chance blah blah arguments are still very much valid, but please, can we stop the excessive campaigning already? (But Wendy, if it is not excessive it won't work! Ok yes, fine, I've lost my thread of thought)

Why can't we use half of that money to educate the public on how serious crime is instead? Just a thought you know, thought that it might serve to lower the crime rates a little more. *shrug* I just thought, you know, that prevention is supposed to be better than cure.

p/s: Obviously, this article was meant to be somewhere else, but it was slightly too controversial, I believe. So there you go.

Post note: Dumb people are everywhere, so before you start opening your big fat mouth to say I am cruel *roll eyes* - or stupid, or selfish, or self-centred, or not capable of empathy - and that ex-criminals deserve a second chance yadda yadda, go fucking read my article again carefully, word by word, and with a sudden relevation discover that I actually AGREE that the Yellow Ribbon Campaign IS for a good cause, and that I AGREE that ex-criminals deserve a second chance. So stop stating the obvious just because it makes you seem like you have morals. We all know you eat babies for dinner. After you stab them with a Halloween pitchfork.

Oh and also, stating the obvious, and also appearing to be blind, has the reverse effect of making you look extremely stupid. That, we already know you are.

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