Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Understanding Crime and Criminality - 10 Guideposts

Questions arise in every society, such as "Can we prevent crime?" "Does criminality run in the family? Race?" "Can we justify crime?" "When is an act considered a crime?" "Should capital punishment be abolished or maintained?" "Will man find ultimate peace without crime?"
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

A talented inmate at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa explains his obra maestra: the essence of punishment for a crime is renewal - Great Awakening.

These guideposts may not be sufficient to cover the many facets of crime and criminality, but they certainly provide enlightenment to the reader, as well as raise challenge to look deeper into this social ill.

A primordial consideration will have to be first understood, which is lumped up in an acronym GET.

G means genetics,
E is environment, and
T is training.

Crime may evolve from lack of consideration of these factors, in like manner that it can be prevented by understanding and applying this simple formula. GET applies to discovering potentials of an individual. Institutions principally the family, school and church, each and collectively have definite vital roles in developing the good potentials and suppressing the undesirable ones.

1. Crime, though “perfectly” committed, at the end will be revealed by the facts that it tried to hide or suppress, or by some providential circumstances which are beyond human comprehension. Thus, the saying, “Crime does not pay.” Even as a means to attain good end, there is no way to justify crime, by civil and sacred law.

2. Values will always prevail over crime, like saying, “Goodness always prevails,” an adage that is in consonance with God’s gift to man – a formative rational conscience. If and when values appear to be overtaken by events contrary to it, still at the end values resurrect, and society is reborn, such as the Renaissance, the birth of new nations, the purification of society by war and pestilence. And, what happened Al Capone, Hitler, Madoff, Milosevic, et al?

3. Crime is as old as human evolution. The human species could not have successful evolved if evil was the rule, if cruelty, disobedience, lust, greed and all their attendants to the commission of crime had prevailed over goodness. Even Darwinian evolution takes the side of goodness as the key to “fittest in survival” – symbiosis, cooperation, loyalty, and most important of all, love.

4. Crime is sin in the eyes of God, whatever religious belief a person has. The major religions of the world have a common denominator that defines what is good and what is evil, and therefore, a person in his true self cannot deny through ignorance or debate whether his acts are good or evil. Therefore, there is no crime regarded as good, and no crime is so little to justify it as good.

5. The ultimate victim of crime is society. And it is shame to humanity. Thus we say: public peace and order, Juan de la Cruz versus the People of the Philippines. The essence of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the Interpol, attest to the fact that humanity must be protected by all means through collective and organized means, over and above individual concern.

6. As to the severity of punishment for a heinous crime, or crime designed to be meted by capital punishment, as in the case of the execution of drug traffickers in China, it is a matter of prerogative by countries based on their existing laws and ethico-morals of their culture.

7. Crime against life and property are the most common cases, but the severest and unfortunately the most difficult to prove are crimes behind legal cloak and protection, and influence, such as those acts of multi-national companies that led to the present economic crisis, cartels controlling oil, finance, major commodities, by companies and consortia, acting in the guise of service, progress and even philanthropy. For which reason, the Anti-Trust law of the US, and similar laws in other countries have been instituted.

8. Crimes perpetuated under authoritarian and monarchical regime which the society under them are subservient to rules and decisions outside the purview of what is right in the universal concept, are indeed difficult to prosecute and apply punishment to the guilty. It is a popular belief that only by means of revolution, such as what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East today Arab Spring), that justice to the people can be restored or attained, other demands for public good notwithstanding.

9. The borderline of crime depends on “who is talking” as the West colonized the East making the latter slave; who is writing history that tells of the saga of great men of ones country or race; those elevated popular heroes to question the establishment; who are anointed apostles of God – but who, under the universal principles of truth, justice, liberty, fraternity and the like, have in one way or the other, failed to live up with.

10. Is criminality in the genes? In spite of the advances in molecular biology the DNA cannot confirm which locus or loci lay the root of criminality. And if such is heritable, can genetic engineering suppress its carryover to the succeeding generations? Rare cases prove Nature’s error such as having double Y in normal XY chromosomes (XYY). This case involved a convict facing death penalty for killing a Filipina nurse, among others, way back in the sixties. As a result of such genetic revelation his sence was commuted to life imprisonment. Tendencies in passionate temper are in the genes, but these can bear either good or bad consequences. Purification of society though inaccurate has been an age long practise in all cultures.

Two men bludgeoning each other to death while they are being swallowed in a quicksand. Painting by the great Spanish painter Goya.

NOTE: These guideposts came about through observation and reflection - the result of my experience as instructor in Camp Sampaguita, in the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa, Rizal. As I taught the inmates the subject of livelihood preparing them of their future after serving their terms, they taught me, on the other hand, a more valuable thing in life - the art of living together in peace and harmony, which is the common denominator of Human and Being.

Reference: Living with Nature, AVRotor UST Publishing House 2006

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