Crime and Punishment

My house is still standing, which is something of a relief. Guess the obnoxious lout was all talk, after all, but I’m sure that I can be forgiven for having slight doubts. I’m not going to tar all late teen specimens with the same black brush as it’s undeserved. But I’d prefer less contact in future with those who deserve the tar and feather treatment.

Actually, in this case make that boiling oil … then tarring and feathering. And that’s for the threatening to burn my house down bit, as well as the dreadful things he said to Richard. I’m still trying to think of an additional vile enough punishment for uttering the “c” word in my presence. Nothing in the darkest recesses of my imagination quite fits that particular crime yet, though. No other word in the English language makes my insides knot up and my hair stand on end like that one does. I do realize that it’s no big deal to the youth of today, but where I come from, it’s the absolute worst thing that you can ever call someone of the female gender. Of course adding adjectives in front of it makes it worse still, but the word on its own is enough. So consider yourself warned. If it shows up anywhere on my blog, the one who typed it will be barred for life. I mean it. And it would really be in your best interests to never say it in my presence in “real life”. All reason and self-restraint tend to go straight out the window when I hear that word.

In the comments to the related post, a couple of people asked “where are the parents?” In this case, probably quivering with dread at the thought of their resident gargoyle returning home any time soon that evening. Are they to blame? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly some parenting instruction wouldn’t go amiss in many cases these days. But I’ve seen Spawn of Satan offspring come from really responsible, really caring parents who couldn’t have put more effort into making sure that little Johnny or Joannie turned out to be a good citizen. Unfortunately, good parenting isn’t always enough. One hopes that the lessons hammered into their brains at home stick with them away from home, but peer pressure can be a pretty tough thing to deal with. Of course society doesn’t help these days, as the whole consequences thing has become a bit of a joke. If you don’t have a conscience to keep you in line, there’s not much else that will. Young Offenders laws? Please, don’t make me laugh. Discipline in schools? Bwahahahahaha. Discipline at home? Well, parents can try, but from an early age kids are taught by interfering outside influences that they have the right to call the authorities should their parents treat them nastily. Nastily being a very subjective term, of course.

So what’s left? I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit over the past couple of days and one obvious solution comes to mind. Forget all of the namby pamby youth corrections crap. Make the teenage thugs do a swap places thing with farm kids of their age for a year. The farm kids deserve a break from the hard work and responsibility, and the city-raised thugs will learn what the terms actually mean. Should they continue to step out of line in the rural setting, well, I guess they’ll just learn that more than the work ethic is a tad different out in the country.

Of course there are still young thugs in rural areas, but, for the most part, it’s a different degree of thuggery. For one thing, it’s not cool to be bad out in the country, and there’s no such thing as anonymity. Publication bans of the names of young offenders only prevent the names from showing up in the local newspaper. No bans exist on the jungle drums, which beat particularly quickly and loudly on such occasions. Also, the staff of rural police detachments have more time on their hands and are only too happy to respond to any and all complaints, no matter how minor. And, and, the adults of the community, including the parents of the criminals in the making, support the police in their law enforcement efforts. Now there’s a novel concept! Often the cases don’t even appear before the courts as a deal is worked out for restitution and punishment between the police, the victim, school authorities, if warranted, and the parents of the perpetrator. With which the perpetrator fully complies, of course … or else. No ifs ands or buts here. You do something wrong, you’re going to face the consequences of your actions. End of story.

And that’s what it takes, folks. At least I think it does. I don’t care what their particular circumstances are, either, so don’t give me that “oh, the poor dear just doesn’t know any better, or he’s acting out because …” Yes, it’s sad if he has had a rough life for whatever reason, and that does need to be addressed accordingly. But wrong is wrong and, regardless of circumstances in their life, they need to be taught that consequences happen when you do something wrong. A rough life isn’t a reason, just an excuse, and at a certain point excuses just don’t cut it. Nor is it right to teach them that it’s okay to make excuses for the rest of their life. Where would society be if we all did that?

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2 thoughts on “Crime and Punishment

  1. My view? We all know our rights a little too well but are not as aware of our responsibilities in the society. We also forget that other people in the society have rights, too.Children and people in general are more inward looking these days. Our social skills aren't what they used to be and we don't care about the greater community as a whole. It's a me-me-me society. We need to teach our children that their feelings, their wants and their opinions are not the most important ones. We need to teach them that they have rights, but they also have the responsibility to behave in an appropriate manner. It's kinda sad these days, really.

  2. You've totally hit it on the head, Kinuk. I don't have much to add as you've said it so well. The incident made my blood boil for all of the obvious reasons. But the other thing that made me so angry is that I'm surrounded by elderly neighbours, who live in fear of monsters such as the one who threatened us. I've seen and heard them being abused and there just aren't words to express how it makes me feel. Bullies always pick on those who are most vulnerable and somehow, some way, young people have to be taught how to feel for others again, particularly the most vulnerable. When I was a child, our teachers made us recite The Golden Rule at the beginning of each day. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That's exactly what we have to get into children's heads again. Adults, too, of course, as some seem to have missed hearing it in their formative years. It's just as simple as that one, solitary rule. Respect each other and treat each other as we each want to be treated.

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