Pressed to kill

Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 07:32

Is violence – deadly or otherwise – ever justifiable?

This question flashed through my mind this morning when I came across one of the most ignorant, uncouth, sorry excuses for womanhood, and the answer was just this side of ‘no’.

An acquaintance recently committed suicide.

I walked into a shop, and blanched. I asked a woman who was her spitting image whether she was, in fact, her sister, and she said yes.

Another woman in the shop piped up and said “it would have been much better had I been the one to die, because I would have been set free…”  It was all I could do not to spit in her face and bitch-slap her to the ground, but in the nick of time I thought better of it and informed her that she was rude to butt in, and that life was a gift and she had no business to say that.

I turned on my heels and left, walking as fast as I could without actually knowing where I was heading, to get the bad feeling out of my system.

I thought about the Texan who beat a man to death when he found him molesting his four-year-old daughter in a barn in Lavaca County, Texas.

The Houston Chronicle reported that several people were in the barn grooming and otherwise attending to horses – so it’s not as if the molester sought privacy. But it was only when the girl screamed that the father went to look for her.

The consensus seems to be that the man “got what he deserved big time”, and many people explained in detail how, exactly, they would have done worse to him.

The State should execute certain criminals. To not do so is a further crime against the victim. This comment was from one of my most level-headed friends.

“Crimes of Passion” will always exist.  But what about violence that happens after the victim has long deliberated upon what has happened.

Some of us do not even stop to think, however, when actually physical violence is involved; the perpetrators rarely enjoy getting a taste of their own medicine.

I find it liberating to physically pick up a child who is bullying another off him, and depositing him elsewhere. This is promptly followed by an invitation to the child – which has never, as yet, been accepted – to tell his parents what I did to him, and why.

A friend of mine who is a Krav Maga expert goes even further. I was brought up to have a strong moral sense and if I ever came across something that doesn’t tally with it, then, yes, I have used violence. When I see someone mugging an old person, I get right in with very dirty fighting… I have used violence against people who were abusing kids, women, older men, animals… Bullying offends my idea of right. As part of a group we also used extreme violence against those pushing drugs who did not take drugs themselves.

Let us now take a hypothetical case of the death of a teenager.

She is taken to hospital with a splitting headache, and pain in the jaws. The doctors (mis)diagnose a migraine, and send her home with pain killers. It does not occur to them that this could be a stroke – after all, the victim is still practically a child.  She dies.

Now let’s take a true case of a woman who is taken to hospital bleeding from the rear. She is told not to make a guess, because it is “just” haemorrhoids.  The next day, it happens again – and a different firm of doctors similarly misdiagnoses colo-rectal cncer.

Are the relatives of these two people justified in seeking justice by their own hands – or should they sue the doctors whose signatures appear on the discharge forms?

I took a quick poll among a couple of trusted friends, and even the calmest among them agreed that they would “perhaps lose it” in certain circumstance.

‘People will do things and shoot their mouths off and you feel the urge to seriously harm them, although you always preach peace. But violence is never acceptable.’

‘It is the people who have the least to complain about who are the quickest to judge others. They do not even know what walking a mile in someone’s feels like, because they have never felt the urge to do it.’

‘We had a guy at work commit suicide a few years ago, because he couldn’t cope with the news that he had a rare, terminal form of cancer. He told his wife he was too unwell to go to church one Sunday morning, and did it. And of course people said he was a coward.’

This brings me to the question of euthanasia and assisted suicide and all other terms used to describe the same thing; actively ending the life of someone rather than allowing him to die when the moment comes. And I have to point out that this has been described as “a dignified death”.

Let us go back to the question of terminal, metastatic, untreatable cancer.  Is it “cruel” to allow a person to die in his own time – or is it “violence” to make him undergo treatments just so that you can prolong his life by a few mistakable months, and boast that you “did everything in your power to keep him alive”?

Self-defence, in some cases, is not justifiable violence – burglars have successfully sued home-owners who injured them while they were trespassing with criminal intent.

On the other hand, there have been many accusations when the police were accused of using unjustifiable force;  indeed there are foreign sites solely devoted to highlighting these cases, the majority of which would not have happened when the “Citizen Possessed Weapon” or “Citizen Made Obscene or Insulting Gestures”.

That is why there are mixed feelings about the how and why of Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signing a Bill allowing citizens to use deadly force against police officers, if they think the latter are entering their homes illegally.

A Kindergartner can actually contemplate violence against his teacher and express this in a drawing. All figures of authority “attract” at least one underling’s desire to cause them grievous bodily harm, if this person feels hard done by enough.

So do people who are assumed to be acting badly; whether they are in-laws who have not accepted you into their close-knit family, neighbours who gossip about you because of your live-in lover, or service-providers who regularly over-charge you knowing you are too timid to make a fuss.

Sometimes, the person acts on his wish. And anarchy ensues, as it tends to do when we interpret the law as we deem fit.

Alas, the punishments do not always fit the crime… either way.

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