When a mob kills a man, do you blame the mob or someone who “incited” the mob? Here in India we’ve progressed far down the road of infantalizing our citizens. This means that instead of condemning the people who actually committed the crime, we seek to blame “priests”, and mysterious “outsiders” who forced the priest to make an announcement etc.
News reports say that a mob of around 200 people stormed the victim’s house and killed him. So far, only 6 people have been arrested. Why just 6? Every last one of those buggers needs to be hunted down and jailed. But most of the news reporting and outrage and “solutions” revolve around who “incited” the mob and spread false rumors.
Some politicians have even gone so far as to label the whole thing a “misunderstanding” and an “accident”. How the hell can you “accidentally” force a man out of his house and beat him to death? What “misunderstanding” can be responsible for it?
I don’t care who “incites” me. If I murder someone, I alone am responsible.
This is bullshit. Let’s be clear. The people who murdered this guy were adults who deliberately chose to go to his house and kill him. I don’t care if they were “incited”, or if false rumors were spread or whatever. They – and they alone – need to take full responsibility for their actions.
These are not animals who were “provoked” into violence. Human beings do not have a button inside their head which when pressed, leads them to uncontrollable rampage and violence. This mob felt safe and secure in their numbers and found voluntary ethical validation in their fellow rioters. They need to be taught a lesson – that you cannot shrug away responsibility for your actions.
Indian law repeatedly absolves rioters of their actions during a rampage. It treats them like a force of nature instead of aware adults who are expected to obey the law. Instead, it searches for who “provoked” the mob. As if that person holds a remote control and the actual mob members are brainless robots.
This lack of personal responsibility encourages people during a riot to simply do as they please. And it’s not just a question of law. News discussions, opinion articles and blogs are all quick to remove focus from the mob members. Well, I’m not willing to do that.
I don’t care who “incites” me. If I murder someone, I alone am responsible. I have the choice to decide whether or not a person’s words will influence me, and if I make the wrong choice, it is my fault and not theirs.
It’s time Indian law and society stopped diluting responsibility for violence. Islamic fanatics who murder others for “disrespecting Islam” cannot claim innocence no matter how much they were “provoked”. A criminal cannot blame society, “porn”, or alcohol for their misdeeds. Vandals who destroy art cannot shift the blame onto the artist for “hurting their sentiments”, and people cannot use the blanket of “offense” to escape culpability for murder.
Stop blaming priests, outsiders, and other nefarious elements. Start placing the blame for the murder squarely where it belongs – on the individual members of the mob who are expected to obey the law and made the choice to do otherwise. No one else is responsible for their actions expect for themselves.