We can’t all be superheroes, minister
|Native Sabahan Erna is (not) Malay but loves Malay literature. Her hobbies: cats/gaming/blogging at ernamerin.com/Tweeting at @ernamh.|
JULY 11 — It is easy to interpret Datuk Seri Utama Rais Yatim’s call to martial arts practitioners to help fight crime as a veiled acceptance of vigilantism. I hope we won’t be seeing masked silat proponents in dark alleys or Wing Chun artists patrolling the streets at night.
Yet, at the same time, it is no longer possible or practical to expect the police to do all the work keeping us safe. The government has rendered the police force incompetent; obedient, subservient and more loyal to a political party than to its duties. We have become a nation that accepts bribe-hungry policemen as a way of life.
But taking matters into our own hands isn’t the solution. I have a friend who keeps offering to help me buy weapons for self-defence: knuckles, knives... the works. Yet I keep remembering someone telling me that I could be carrying the tools to my own self-destruction.
Wouldn’t it be ironic to die by a blade I carried to protect myself?
I know too many people who think we should legalise firearms. I also think that half of them shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, ever. These people glorify the use of weapons, callously justifying the murder of anyone they would call a threat.
Imagine a friend trying to surprise you from behind for a lark. And, over-paranoid, you retaliate with a swift knife in the gut.
“Why shouldn’t I kill someone who wants to hurt me?” some ask.
Maim. Hurt. Defend yourself. If your attacker inadvertently gets killed, it is different from attacking someone with the intent to kill.
Once we start on that route, when will it ever end? An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.
Maybe in Batman’s world or Spiderman’s, an individual with special powers or unlimited resources would make a good crimefighter. In our world, it just means people get killed and often for all the wrong reasons.
Perhaps some of you have seen the pictures of African-Americans killed by lynch mobs, who never bothered to ascertain innocence or guilt. Go to sites like American Lynching and witness what happens when the rule of law is ignored.
Keeping ourselves safe shouldn’t mean endangering the lives of innocent people. There’s a difference between doing your civic duty... and being a dangerous idiot.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.