Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The other face of parental love

Today I read a very interesting item on the BBC site – basically, a father informed the police that his crackhead son had beaten, stamped and violently mugged a teenager and left him unconscious… all just to get a mobile phone. (More details here).

I personally think the father did the right and responsible thing. I cant imagine how difficult it would have been for him to do so, but he’s a hero for bringing his son to justice. He should be given some sort of award for setting an example well worthy of emulation!

If someone you knew had committed a violent crime, wouldn’t you let the police know? Wouldn’t it be your civic and public duty to do so? Why should that change just because the crime-doer is a son or daughter or some other family member or friend? Would you really, as a mother or father, keep quiet about your offspring’s crime, knowing that he or she had seriously injured or even killed someone else? Would you keep quiet about it, just because you felt that jail wasn’t “right” for your son or daughter?

Perhaps murder or violent crime is too much to imagine. Let’s say your child cheated at school to win a prize, or bullied another kid - and you alone knew it. Say your child would be expelled from the school if the school authorities found out. Would you keep quiet about it to protect your child? Would you let another child continue to be cheated of a prize, or be bullied, just because YOU love YOUR child and cant see your child punished?

I’m not a parent, but I’m pretty sure that I would not be able to live with my conscience if I knew a friend or relative had committed a serious – and especially unprovoked – crime, and I did nothing about it. Granted it would not be easy to give that person up, not at all easy… but it would be more difficult still to ignore the fact that my child/relative/friend had brought terrible grief to another family. And if MY friend/family member was the victim, I would most certainly want the criminal brought to justice.

Which I why I cant understand how Patsy McKie, whose son was shot dead, says she could never tell another parent to shop their child to the police because, in her words: “You love your child; you want the best for your child. And ending up in prison isn't the best for your child”.

If you ask me, ending up paralysed or dead isn’t exactly good for the victim of “your child” either!

I bet there are plenty of people who feel that Patsy McKie is a wonderful mother, all the more wonderful for saying that she doesn’t want the parents of her son’s killer(s) to shop their children to the police. Well, I beg to differ. Patsy McKie and her admirers might think she is a saint, but I wonder if they have considered that leaving the killers “unshopped”, as it were, could endanger the lives of other innocent people! Innocent people who could well be the beloved children of loving parents! What about the fact that the victims and their surviving family need justice? Is all that less important than the need for parents to protect their violent/murdering/thieving offspring from the law, out of parental love?

One other thing also struck me. How, exactly, does Patsy McKie want the police to find her son’s killers, if she doesnt mind the parents keeping quiet? Is it okay for someone other than the parents to “shop” the killers, perhaps?

Going by her logic, I guess all rapists, murderers, muggers, thieves and really anybody who commits any serious crime at all, should just roam about free… because after all, they’re also somebody’s “child” - and since prison “isn’t the best for your child”, they shouldn’t have to pay for their crime in prison. Never mind the victims, they’re dead anyway.

Parents who knowingly shield their criminal children and obstruct justice aren’t worthy of admiration. That isn’t love – it’s pure selfishness. It doesnt matter how exemplary they have been as parents till then. The truth is, such parents are as contemptible as their offspring, and should be considered as guilty of committing their offspring’s crime.

1 comment:

Kamini said...

I hope this is a situation I will never, ever find myself in. There are few things that I can imagine that are worse.
A 19 year college girl, neighbor of my parents in Madras,and her friend who was visiting, took her family car for a drive around the colony. Neither had a driver's license. An elderly watchman was standing on the side of the road, chatting with his friends. Seeing him, the girl who was driving panicked, and pressed down on the accelerator and killed the old man. And then the girls tried to run away from the scene, but were stopped by the watchman's friends. A short while later the mother appeared, just a couple of minutes before the police, and announced that she (who had a valid license) had been driving. She had a large wad of notes at the ready, to keep troublesome mouths quiet. She had the nerve to say that he was "just a watchman". What a sorry mess. The only saving grace was that the watchman's friends refused to be bought into silence, and the girl is paying the price for her mistake.