Wednesday, September 07, 2005

100% for social justice?

The foundations of my principle "100% for social justice" have been vigorously shaken by the rude realisation that it could well be a piped dream. Social justice is impossible to enforce in society if people refuse to speak up for themselves and each other. Social justice relies heavily on collective action from a group of people doing the right thing in whatever circumstance. It cannot be left to one individual because in that case, the individual is seen as trying to be a hero and the offence being committed could well be redirected and channelled at this one individual.

I think that my stance represents the ideal response for an ideal society but the latter is far from ideal. In fact, if ideal bit society in the backside I don’t think society would notice, let alone know.

Why?

Because society is full of people who are firstly too scared to stand up for what is right and then secondly, too selfish to think beyond themselves. However, unfortunately for these selfish people, what you're avoiding may find its way to you. Then you will want some help but it will not be forthcoming - as you'll already know having been of the selfish demeanor yourself.

London city was full of bus related crime (crimes committed to passengers on buses) before the city introduced congestion charging (premium pricing to deter drivers that don’t need to drive into the city). The outcome is that roads are clearer but the number of people on the buses has increased, which increases the number of potential targets for crime. These days, you can even get "happy slapped", which is basically a group of youths with a camera phone selecting a random member of the public and assaulting them (slapping them) whilst recording this crime on their camera phones. How sick is that? These juveniles slap anyone.

I blame society for the extent to which these crimes have stretched. These youths are in their mid to late teens which speaks volumes about parenting. I will go further to blame society for doing nothing when someone is being victimised in their presence. I don’t mean take the law into your own hands, but people are too scared to be seen calling the police, too scared to speak out, to scared to do anything other than wish and pray that they are not next. Outrageous!!!

If you don’t act today, tomorrow you’ll be the one on the receiving end and others, just like you, will be watching doing nothing. So the juvenile criminal wins. The juvenile assaults anybody in your presence and walks off with no consequences!! This makes me sick in the stomach.

What should the public do?

When a single person stands up and instructs the juveniles to stop committing the crime, the whole bus should support this by also instructing the criminals to stop.
People should be vigilant in supporting each other as they wait for the police. But what happens instead is the police arrive to one seriously injured victim and many witnesses, which is fine but these witnesses can – in the mean time - deter the extent of crime by simply standing united and asserting instruction at these juvenile offenders.
In society today, people will just watch, and there is a direct positive correlation between the extent of crime being committed and how far away from the victim people will stand.

A woman colleague of mine was attacked on a crowded train but nobody did or said anything. Nobody but an old man who was – as usual – left to assist this woman on his own. He was left to be a "hero" and suffer the consequences of doing the right thing whilst everyone else climbed over each other trying to hurdle away from the ongoing offence. Luckily, the old man reported the incident to the police and when the criminal was spotted on the train again by the woman whom he attacked, there were police on sight to arrest the criminal. But, on the day that she was attacked, I remember that she was seriously hurt.

I really don’t know what to make of our existence in society. In trying to mind our own business, the offenders take root of society and we then have to subsequently change our patterns to avoid being victimised. A real infringement on our civil liberties.

If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
By not assisting the victim, you perpetuate the "easy-target" mainframe, which means that next time, you’d better watch out! You can either be free or live in fear. It seems Londoners prefer to live in fear and this decision means that those of us with enough courage to speak against crime can't because we KNOW that we don't have the backing from anybody. In fact, the minute you speak out, people move away from you so that they don't receive what is perceived to be coming your way - more crime.

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