Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Stupid And The Decent

Criminals are not so much fearsome or dangerous as stupid. A recent crime here in Singapore really underlined this point. A gang of young men attacked and robbed four immigrant workers, seriously harming them and killing one. Within a few days they were all caught except one who has probably fled the country. Three have now been charged with murder and if found guilty will probably hang, while the other four face a range of charges for which, if convicted, they will spend years in jail. And how much did they rob from their victims? Forty dollars and a few odds and ends. One life lost, three seriously threatened, five people severely injured, a widow and three orphans made, the best years of several young men’s lives spent in incarceration. And for what? Forty dollars and a few phone cards!
This shocking and tragic case set me thinking. Does capital punishment really act at a deterrent? Maybe for the intelligent person tempted to commit a serious crime. But most criminals are, as I said, stupid. They commit their crime because they are stupid enough to think they can get away with it. In this recent case, only one of the accused had the sense to get out of the country. The others were caught within a few days. Stupid! Hanging may eliminate stupid people but it doesn’t make stupid people smart.
The other thing this case did is remind me of how decent people can be. According to the news paper when Mr. Shanmneanathan’s (the murdered man) body was returned to India, all his worldly goods accompanied it – several sets of cloths, a cooking pot and a small album of family photos. I was deeply moved when I read this. When I thought of the struggles and difficulties his wife will now have to face, I mentioned it to friends and students and they opened their hearts and their wallets. In no time we had collected $3000. This money has been handed over to HOME, an organization here in Singapore that works for the welfare of immigrant workers and will be passed on to Mr. Shanmneanthan’s wife. Just when some people make you lose your faith in human nature, others come along and restore it.
About HOME see


selfyparkit said...

Can I translate this article into bahasa? thanks ^__^

Shravasti Dhammika said...

I am happy to give my permission.