For many years now the one crime in the US that makes headlines across the world is mass shootings by crazy, gun-toting men. The one change in the approach to these crimes has definitely been a bit more sensitive reporting of these tragic events. In August 2012 six Sikhs were killed at a temple in Wisconsin. In December 2012 at a school in Connecticut 26 were killed. In fact, the chilling fact is that the US has a history of school-killings, from 1760s to the 2010s. In recent history the one incident that got most attention was the Columbine school shootings from April 1999. When the carnage was over 12 students and a teacher were dead and another 21 injured. Take a look at this clip (3.40 mins):
Each time these shootings happen they inevitably bring about another debate on gun-laws in the US. Lately, the debates are not just in the US but even on TV channels like NDTV and CNN-IBN. It seems to be simple logic that more guns in society would mean more gun-crimes. And the answer proposed is more gun-control laws. We are familiar with that road, aren’t we? Each time a rape-crime happens, the clamour for tougher laws and death to rapists grows louder. If only more laws could prevent these crimes. Considering the US has a huge population of guns Michael Moore, who made the Oscar-winning documentary “Bowling for Columbine”, travelled to Canada to find out their scene with guns and crimes. He shockingly found there was hardly any gun-crime. In a major city there was only 1 murder in 3 years, that too not by a Canadian.
When asked about this, ordinary folks in the US had the usual explanation for low crimes in Canada. They don’t watch violent movies, they don’t have poverty, they have low unemployment rates, there are less Blacks in Canada. None of this was true. On the contrary, for a population of 30 million people, Canadians had 7 million guns between them. (The documentary was made in 2004 so stats not current). Take a look at another clip, this one about Canada (8.25 mins):
It almost looks like Canada is a terribly boring country, with boring TV. Many Canadians don’t lock their doors. Well, walk down the residential areas of South Delhi or most parts of Delhi you will find that even small bungalows and apartments have high walls and high gates. You can’t see what’s behind those walls and gates. They clearly tell you to “keep off”. After the latest incident of a 5-year old girl being kidnapped, raped, a bottle and candle shoved inside her there was naturally another outrage in Delhi. A woman on the TimesNow panel on April 22 screamed “we are a nation at war with women”. The only thing we have gotten better at is what we call them. NDTV wants them to be called “survivors” and not “victims”. The media comes up with names like Nirbhaya, Damini, Amanat, Masoom and each media outlet promotes its own “brand name” of the victim. Then again, if rapes happen in Delhi it is a problem with the whole country and not Delhi. They have now come up with a new root cause for this rape problem: “social mindset”. And they all seek and demand a change in this social mindset. What exactly is that?
There are two kinds of rape-crimes; one that happens on the streets or in public places and the other that happens in the privacy of homes. Shiney Ahuja raping his maid (or being accused of it) is certainly difficult to prevent unless homes are fitted with loud alarm bells in every room. But crimes on the streets like the December 2012 Delhi Gangrape (Jyoti Singh) can certainly be a case for prevention. In the latest case the 5-year old was kidnapped and locked up for four days. Her disappearance for more than 12 hours should have had alarm bells ringing with the police if a complaint was filed. Four days? Furthermore, there is no way a parent should be leaving a 5-year old anywhere unattended or out of sight except maybe when she’s in school under care of teachers and school authorities. Even schools don’t seem that safe anymore going by the rape and molestation cases that come up.
Asking police chiefs to resign is senseless. They are mere political tools. The real change in social mindset, if at all, has to really start with the politicians. No heads have ever rolled in Delhi for the crimes in the past few years. Not one politician has resigned or has been sacked. The most infamous cases of rape and murder have all come from politicians. There is that infamous Tandoor case, there’s Bhanwari Devi and there’s the Geethika suicide case and the list could go on and on. There is lately a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking to ban pornography on the internet citing that as a potential cause for crimes against women and children. I am not sure the criminals involved in the Delhi Gangrape, the latest case of kidnap and rape were inspired by the internet.
And if there is some mindset to be changed then the first one has to be the media. Seriously, you even have Abhishek Singhvi as a panellist on crimes against women. In other shows the media promotes criminal behaviour be it from Bollywood or from politics. They live under the principle that this is what “people want”. If you want to create revulsion against crime then don’t promote Salman Khan or Sanjay Dutt even if people want it or those who are convicted of crimes. If you want to create revulsion against crimes don’t promote those who are seeking pardon for criminals. Because the more they see bad behaviour, the more people are inspired to believe one can get away with it. People aren’t watching internet movies for inspiration for crimes, our TV shows are enough. Cleverly, the Delhi Police Commissioner is frequently being made a “bakra” for all the crimes. None of the media folks seem to want to ask any questions of Sheila Dikshit or whosoever runs Delhi. On the contrary, they create platforms for SheilaD to cry on TV and appear a victim herself. If she is helpless because police is not under her control then she should take a moral stand and quit.
Far from seeking justice or stopping crimes against women our media actually seems to love these incidents. I know that is a shocking statement to make but if they mean business they should be sending a strong message to the politicians to get out if they can’t deliver. For the media another rape incident is just another incident to splurge on and generate TRPs. If they were serious they would be putting the politicians in the dock. Every editor in the country should be seeking the dismissal of Sheila Dikshit or Sushilkumar Shinde or anyone who is in charge of security. But you know what? If they really managed to do that what would they then report on? What would their debates be? Take a look at the pic from the video clip you just saw. I guess it would be as exciting as Canadian news where new speed-bumps are “Breaking News”.