Friday, August 6, 2010

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

I’ve been escorted out of stores by managers and security guards on more than one occasion, I’ve been approached by people that work in the store I’d just walked out of for a bag-check, my own mother was once asked to leave a cinema mid-movie because she couldn't find her ticket - in the dark, I might add, and were we breaking any laws or doing anything out of the ordinary? No.

Are my mother and I criminals by hobby? Course not, I mean, she scored herself a parking ticket once, does that count? I wonder, if I stand in a convenience store for five minutes and I don’t end up buying anything, is it so inconceivable that I am just horribly indecisive? If a thirteen year old is disconnecting computers in the neighbouring electronics store, does that mean that I wish to steal computers from the store that I'm in simply because I happen to be thirteen? You see, this is what often makes me nervous about the world and those that feel that it's warranted to treat everybody like they could be a criminal. We can't blame them though, I know that I don’t - well that's a lie - in hindsight I don’t. In my opinion the onus is on those that are in fact criminals - the very people at the root of any security measure and microcosm of paranoia in someone's mind. Things like security scanners, security tags, security wands, surveillance cameras, the copious amounts of identification that is required just to prove who you are, ticket inspections, these are all watermarks of that one person who did it first and those that followed. The fact that I, and every other law abider, feels even mildly mistreated by those laws that are meant to be here to protect us just goes to show how much injustice breeds within the tunnel-minded world we reside.

It's a given, criminality is in no way a good thing, but the larger problem is that those that aren’t criminals suffer too as a consequence of the very actions made in trying to deter and remedy wrongdoing, and that isn’t right at all. Also, it seems that the more that a crime occurs to a certain person or an entity of people, the less concessions they are psychologically able to make for those that, for all they know, could be genuinely innocent. I know how it feels to be the accuser, I’ve been that arsehole, it’s never 'perhaps, you did just misplace your ticket or leave it at home' or 'maybe you did just decide not to buy something'; it’s hard to turn the other cheek. Take the Bali judicial system, for instance, they are so set in their ways that it seems like they just itch to put vacationers away for drug possession. Don’t get me wrong, when reading up on the facts, they had just-cause to put Schapelle Corby away, but I won't dance around it, there is still a very small part of me that doubts her guilty verdict. Since Corby was sentenced, laws have been tightened even more and people have even been executed, and it’s all because of the addicts and dealers that roam the streets of that poor holiday island; they ruin it for everyone. If you knew what my views on drugs were, you'd know my stern view on how dealers should be treated, but still, it’s the general closed-mindedness of Bali's law procedure which concerns me most. I feel like as the years go on and there are more and more incidents of a certain crime, innocent people like me lose more and more of the headroom that once allowed us to make simple mistakes. By the way, when my mother got home from that humiliating day at the cinema, she found that ticket, sent it to them and they apologised; just goes to show.

I realise that my thinking on this is very idealistic and that rules always need to be followed impartially in order for them to function properly, and I’m not asking anybody to cut corners, but more just to lose this mentality that everybody is capable of crime, especially when you begin thinking that way on the simple basis of stereotype and past experience. So lastly, and this goes for that Indian prick who manages (or once did) Officeworks in Parramatta, just because I was thirteen does not mean that I was doing anything other than purchasing stationary. Bottom line is, clear your head and be a little more compassionate.

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