Letters to the Editor

Why people do bad things

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Dear Editor,

I am not a psychologist; however, I do believe that there is a psychological aspect of why individuals commit offences. If we are to omit people of an unsound mind (such as those with dementia) or those with an undeveloped mind (such as toddlers), it can be deduced that there are a few reasons people do bad things.

There are people who believe that their misconduct is justified based on their deficient moral compass. As for how an individual's moral compass excuses his/her acts of wrongdoing (such as inflicting suffering on others) this can be explained by instances where the individual may have been raised in an environment wherein repeated misconduct was the norm, and therefore being delinquent became a learnt behaviour.

On the other hand, a person may have been raised in an upright manner and developed a good, principled character; however, he maintained a susceptibility to negative influences. Examples of this can be seen when a good person becomes recruited into a gang or is brainwashed into accepting membership into a perverted cult. Another reason for wrongdoing is the lack of guidance during that crucial duration of social and mental development at a young age, wherein the distinction between good and bad was not impressed upon the individual.

I suspect that the main reason someone would intentionally perpetrate offensive activities is the punishment is not harsh enough (if there is any), or there are no obstacles thwarting an offence, or there is a self-assurance that he/she will be able to evade the consequences, or all the aforementioned. These conditions create a feeling of confidence for persons who are criminally intent and this confidence is most likely one of the contributing factors for the crime rate being so high.

There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to curbing crime; however, there are some steps that can be taken. A society must have very strict and swiftly executed punishments in response to unlawful acts and the provision of proper rehabilitation. Criminal justice must be efficiently, timely, and fairly practised so that offenders are not allowed the luxury of plotting their next act. There is also need for adequate policing and enforcement of laws to deter would-be felons, as well as mitigation policies to alleviate the impact of crime.

The Writer

blackpencilpoint@gmail.com

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