Culture has many definitions, one being that it is a common reference point for people living in a particular area. Culture is all about art, literature, food, beliefs and distinct way to lead life. In fact, culture is an unspoken language that is represented through symbols. It lives in the heart of the people and travels with them to where ever they live.
Last few days there has been shocking news coming in from all parts of the world about violence, killings and actions of people that will put anyone representing any culture to shame.
If the news from India is all about rapes and assault on women, then from Canada and US we hear about people going on shooting rampage, taking away lives unnecessarily. We say it’s their culture, they don’t know how to respect women, they say we have ‘gun culture’.
Recently news reports from Egypt have horrified the world about mass sexual assault on a woman that took place as the new president was taking the charge of the country. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has apologized but damage to the woman’s soul has been done. Then a father-in-law in UK almost blinded his daughter-in-law just because he thought that she was having an affair with a Muslim.
We say other countries, especially in the east are not culturally evolved and treat their women badly, we call them backward and ‘States of hopelessness’ when it comes to human rights but what label we want to put on ourselves when the number of targeted killings, rampage killings, serial killings are rising in our own country, when we are still struggling to find the missing aboriginal women, when we lost mothers and daughters to the Vancouver serial killer – Robert Pickton.
What we call ourselves when every year there is at least one case when an infant is murdered brutally by the parents, sometimes starved for long time before being killed. What we do when a young man of 24 years shoots 5 RCMP men, killing three and keeps a city on edge for more than 24 hours before being captured and when a disgruntled ex-employee shoots his ex-employer in broad daylight in Vancouver?
Are we moving towards a society that follows ‘Gun Culture’ and ‘Culture of Anger?’ Or is it we are also part of global ‘Culture of Desperation and Sadism’?
Many people blame provincial, and local government for failure to protect citizens, and others blame RCMP for non-performance. But no one blames himself or herself towards contributing to the rise in violence in our culture. We as parents, friends, and colleagues play an important part in an individual’s life. Common people need to be as vigilant as RCMP when it comes to observing a person and drawing conclusions from his or her behaviour.
Individualism and privacy are an individual’s right but those rights cannot be allowed to become threat. A family should know what the other person in the house is up to or even what a neighbor is up to. Many would call this idea as being interfering or being a pest, but it is fine to be a pest now rather than to find out later that the neighbor has dark secrets in the basement. So many lives could be saved if neighbors were vigilant, so many lives can be saved if State could take control of guns rather than individuals. Why do civilians need guns? And even if they do how about doing a regular physiological tests every few months? If a person wants freedom to carry gun, then that person has to respect our freedom to protect ourselves. It is a simple give and take with no bullets being exchanged.
Every culture has its crests and troughs, and like its distinct arts, every culture has its own woes of crime. Crime is as part of a culture as is arts. We can only hope and work towards lesser degree of crime, lesser horrific crimes.