12.19.2005

Of terrible tuesday, gruesome crime and we the people

What prompts a crime? Is it the victim or just the criminal’s mind or both? This is the question that always comes to my mind when I come across any crime especially dealing with assault, rape, murder and many such of the same ilk.
It was the very same question which came to my mind when I first heard the news about HP BPO's employee Pratibha Krishnamoorthy Shrikanth. In my tormented mind I imagined her fear as the sick guy committed the heinous crime. I read about the police’s reaction to it. But my question is “Will checking the background of all cab drivers prevent this”? Nobody is born with an evil mind. It’s developed over a certain period of time or it’s developed in one weak moment. I am also a bit skeptical about the background check itself. There are ways and means known to many about by-passing laws. It’s a universal truth and let’s acknowledge it. We did our bit of living room discussion on the subject when one of us raised the point that sending security guards with every cabbie might be a good idea. But my skeptical mind raised another question “How will you trust the security guard? On what basis?” We have heard of criminal incidents involving security guards as the main culprits. Whom do we trust? What about cases of mugging in broad daylight? Withdrawing money from an ATM or bank doesnt feel secure anymore. What can one do in such a situation where you have an assault weapon in your face and nobody around who will help? How do we change this situation of perpetually being in terror? And they talk about cross border terrorism all the time! I for one don’t feel very safe anymore about moving around alone in Bangalore. I have been in Bangalore for the past 17 years and never before did I shirk from walking back home from a bus stop 10 minutes away from home at 9:45 in the night. Now I will. I will become an obsessive compulsive over-the-shoulder looker. Our society is leading women towards a pepper spray and karate revolution. And it’s not only women. What about men who get mugged at knife point. Safety is fast becoming a myth in Bangalore.
I know there are a lot of questions and it’s an open ended debate. But it’s a debate that has to be discussed and a solution to be reached soon. Like Narayana Murthy said in discussion with Bill Gates and Prannoy Roy on NDTV, Indians are great at debating endlessly but we need to arrive at decisions faster (This quote is of course not verbatim. It’s just a quick gist). This need is of a greater consequence today. So let’s rally together and try to pool in our ideas. Let the solution to the growing problem of safety come from us, people!
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