School shootout in India too: now what next?
This morning, a friend of mine gave me a shocking bit of news. She told me how, last evening, a few boys in the 16-18 age group in her neighbourhood almost justified yesterday's incident. "Probably the boys may have been provoked so much," is what they told my friend. She was so shocked she didn't know how to react.
It's very clear children aren't able to comprehend the gravity of the incident. "What crime a child could have done that needs to be punished by shooting him dead" is not a question a teenager can understand. Leave children, today we are supposed to be progressing to a stage when the crime of even an adult is not worth being punished with death. Reformation, not punishment, is the key. Or, so I thought.
If a teenager has to plan a murder 24 hours in advance, steal his father's gun for the purpose, smuggle it to school, discuss the plan with his friend, shoot his classmate, then pass on the gun to his friend to carry on the crime.... well, this is the limit to which our society can descend. Or, is there something worse that's awaiting all of us?
I don't think the boys can be blamed. Their parents in particular, and we elders in general, must share a good part of the blame. Every human being is born innocent until he is corrupted by the society of elders. There is no use blaming western influences, violent computer games and English movies: after all, villains -- virtual or real -- are not a modern-day phenomenon. If "the evil" is able to increasingly influence our children, then it only indicates how less potent "the good" has become. We have been celebrating festivals commemorating the victory of "the good" over "the evil". But in our day-to-day lives, who is winning?
Today, we have news that the parents of the killers have gone into hiding, and left their children alone in a juvenile home with no visitors at all. How tragic that that these teenagers have parents who have left them in such a plight. Should these children, may be cold-blooded murderers in the eyes of the law, should be punished? Hopefully, the law-enforcement agencies, in whose care they are, will provide counsellors and therapists to these children; so that, may be not immediately, but gradually they can be reformed, and they can grow up into responsible adults.