The Way of the World?

The painful discovery of missing person Jill Meagher’s body has awoken a wide variety of emotions in people all across the country; as such I’ve seen a lot of people use facebook/twitter/news forums/IRL to share their feelings about the horribly distressing conclusion to the Jill Meagher disappearance.

For those unaware of the crime I’m about to discuss, Jill Meagher disappeared while walking home from a night out with friends in Melbourne, Australia. This link provides an outline of the crime to this point. I’m going to attempt to express my feelings about this in my usual poorly structured and rambling way. These are simply my thoughts and I mean not to offend.

For me, this incident stirs up many different thoughts about many different facets of the event.

Firstly, I have nothing but empathy and compassion for this young woman’s family. I can’t imagine what they are going through right now and the best I can do is hope for a speedy resolution so they can carry on with their lives as best they can.
I feel for Jill Meagher herself. The last moments of her life must’ve been severely traumatic and what she must’ve endured no one should have to suffer.
I also feel powerless that something like this happens in the world I live in and I can do very little about it as an individual.

The public response has been one of overwhelming anger. I’ve seen people call for the accused’s head on a stake, for life in prison, for castration, for the family of the victim to have “free reign in violent retribution,” and a high number of creative medieval torture methods.
When reading these responses I feel the fury and anger that people are expressing toward the accused isn’t necessarily entirely directed towards him for what he has done over the past few days.

This is not to say that people don’t actually care what has happened to this woman or her family, quite the opposite. People genuinely feel quite deeply for both Jill and her family, then think about how they would react if such a heinous event ever happened to someone they care about.
This then intensifies their already present feelings towards this callous act and the person that perpetrated it. He gives everyone a tangible focal point to direct their own fear onto.

There may also be a slight feeling that people would want others to be as upset/outraged as they are over this incident if a similar fate were ever to befall someone they care about.

Alternatively, perhaps the calls to dismember/kill this guy come from a place of “such an act should not even happen in our modern, sophisticated, high speed internet, #firstworldproblem world and this shows how dangerous the world we live in actually is. And that is scary.”

I’ve seen people proclaim that the police should have been able to prevent it. Somehow.
Seriously, the police do not have pre-cognitive or teleportation powers and are generally unable to predict where/when a crime like this is going to happen and are also unable to instantaneously teleport to the scene of the crime the instant it begins.

People have also stated that there needs to be more CCTV cameras to prevent this happening again. This appears to be another fear based “solution.”
Unfortunately, if a camera was to catch the beginning of this incident, a struggle for example, the camera does not instantly dismount, spring legs/lasers, then rush to the defence of the victim.
Most cameras simply record. Privately owned CCTV cameras are rarely monitored in real time, which means there is no one watching to instantaneously raise the alarm. Even if all CCTV cameras were monitored 24/7 it still takes a significant amount of time for any relevant agencies to reach the destination of an incident.
This means that should there be an untoward incident like this and it’s caught on a CCTV camera, investigators will have the power to review visual evidence after the fact.
At a later date.

Why this particular case affected such huge public interest is peculiar. Is it the immense amount of media coverage? That we all walk home from nights out? Does it stir up emotions that it could happen to someone we care about? Or simply that she was an attractive young woman?
It’s most likely a combination of these and many other individual factors but this tragic event isn’t an aberration or a one off. People are attacked/raped/murdered in this state every day. According to the Victorian Police Departments official statistics, there have been 173 homicides, 2,044 rapes, 611 abductions and a staggering 42,076 assaults in just the 2011/2012 season alone.
Here. In Victoria.

These figures are mindblowing to me.

Some suggest that people should take self defence courses in order to protect themselves from people like this; those who would attack another without provocation.
This is a perfectly reasonable response. If more people physically/mentally trained themselves to prepare for a random attack to fight off attackers there may well be less murder/rape/abductions. I can’t argue with that logic.
I don’t, however, think people should need to be fully trained ninjas just to walk down a street! Regardless of the time of day, attacks like this shouldn’t even be happening in an advanced society and by stating self-defence is the solution to this ill you’re passively accepting that violent crime is an unchangeable part of society. I refuse to accept this.

We can do better. We deserve better. Our loved ones deserve better.

To me the real question is; why are we, as a society, breeding people that think its acceptable to do something this abhorrent? Where are we going wrong? Why are we living in a society where someone can abduct, rape, and then kill another person seemingly on a whim?
Clearly at no time did this man think that what he was doing was wrong. He certainly may now, as he is currently in police custody but still… The body was found over an hour away from where she disappeared. So at the absolute bare minimum this man had 60 minutes where he thought abducting, raping and then killing another, completely innocent, human was a good idea.
At no stage did he think “What the fuck am I doing? Why am I doing this? I should stop.”

And that scares the shit out of me.

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2 thoughts on “The Way of the World?

  1. I think the root of this problem stems from a lack of self-accountability.

    I’ve been around extremely weak-minded people before, and their thought processes tend to follow a pattern of wanting something, and then creating any justification to satisfy said desire. In their minds, the fault always lies with some outside factor/someone else, and never in themselves. When I talk to these kinds of people about the responsibility of choice, that there is always a choice, and that choice is always theirs to make, they just squirm and twitch and block me out, because if they acknowledge this, then they have to give up their self-serving mentality and actually take others into consideration.

    And ultimately, that self-serving mentality is what drives criminals.

    Weak minds have no problem hurting others for self-gain, and some are weak enough to go as far as murder and rape, just to satisfy petty urges. And the scariest part, is that said criminals probably won’t ever think twice about the crime, provided they don’t get caught.

    More frightening is the “power trip” mentality, where a person knows something is wrong, acknowledges it, but doesn’t care. They want to feel powerful, they want to force their will upon others, and they want to hurt others because it makes them feel strong and in control.

    These kinds of people are scarier than any horror movie.

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