When you kill the killer…


“I have never believed that hatred and recrimination can solve problems.” 

That was a message printed on a card placed at the entrance to the wake of a 4 year-old child brutally beheaded near her mom… And that message came from the mom herself, Claire Wang.

I shared Wang’s story more than a month ago when I thought it was very timely to help make people see that it ain’t too late to have more faith in humanity… But it seems it wasn’t shared enough.

Our sympathy always go to the innocent. What exactly could appease a victim? Justice, we say. But is justice always equivalent to punishment? And is death really an acceptable punishment?

We’ve been clamouring for justice too much that we, the surprisingly forgiving people of the Philippines, accepted a presidentiable’s proposition to equate it to vengeance. That the only way to prevent crime is to incite fear in criminals by demonstrating the power of punishment and showing that the government is (jokingly) serious about it because… “political will.”

When you hurt a person, you do not just hurt your victim. You also hurt the people who tried their best to protect that person. You also hurt the people who tried their best to raise you as a good person. Ergo, the need to punish—the reinforcement of the message that something should not happen again.

But does putting a stop to one’s life also stop the crime? From Wang’s perspective, a mom’s perspective, it is more important to kill the root of the problem. That maybe it’s best to look at addressing family and education issues rather than the justice system.

Isn’t it of our best intention to not have to refer to the law at all? That we no longer have to go to the courts because there is nothing to plea at all, because we live in a community where people do the right thing?

How do you kill crime? Kill hate.

How do you kill hate? Promote love.

How do you promote love? Strengthen the families.

Naive? Isn’t it more naive to take a short cut by saying, “Just kill the criminal!” ?

What does that say about us? That we are too impatient about cultivating love?

Yes, it is always okay until you are the victim. It seems hard to utter words of love when you’ve been offended unjustly. But remember…

When you kill the killer, you let the evil in him succeed by forgetting the importance of love. You fail to grab the opportunity to correct what is wrong. You forget that the killer, the culprit, the thief, the perpetrator, the rapist, the abuser, and the pusher are also victims of our failure to correct what is deeply wrong in our society–POVERTY. The lack of fortune, lack of love, lack of respect, lack of everything nice.

Remember that the principle of discipline isn’t based on fear. It is based on understanding. Understanding why it’s always good to do the right thing.

With this, I share once more the words of Claire Wang. And I hope more people will realize what she meant when she said…

“It’s so beautiful. The world is so beautiful.”

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