Saturday, July 28, 2012

Of our Poverty

President Aquino's spokespersons finally admitted that crimes are rising. Aquino even attributed this to creeping and widespread poverty, something which he should have announced during his State of the Nation address.


Fact was, Aquino and his cabinet members played us a ruse---index crimes are going southward while petty crimes are going North, a play of words or terms so to speak. Index crimes are what the US Federal Bureau of Investigation terms as serious crimes being monitored by the state, such as robberies, rape, homicides and five others. 


How fast and how huge the rate of increase, the State would not say. What is disappointing is the fact that the State attributes the rise of these crimes as the result of the disparity of the number of security forces with an ever-increasing number of the population. Worst, the State approves the purchase of 66,000 pistols as its response to the rise of crimes. 


I believe that crimes are simply not just a knee-jerk reaction coming from economically challenged individuals. A process of transformation takes place before an individual finally decides to commit a crime. This process does not depend on one's rationality, but of irrationality, the feeling of inadequacy and of abandonment, of seeming lack of options.


Surely, a desperate man cannot and will not succumb to the sight of a gun. In the mind of a desperate man, someone who needs money to feed his hungry son, there is no thing in the universe which will deter him from committing what the State terms as an illicit act. The State transformed him into such, for as opportunities dwindle, so do options for man to satisfy his needs. 


For years covering the police beat, I saw how the system transformed decent men into savages. The inhumanity brought by the system is such that even men of high rationality loses their very concept of law and order when faced with the gruesome reality of poverty. Poverty afflicts not just the body, but the mind and the soul, and when the very core of one's humanity has been eaten up by extreme poverty, a thing snaps in him that he loses the very concept of rights, of men, and of the value of everything. No amount of convincing to go back to the rational world can convince a savage to become a savant. 


Religion tries to mitigate the effects of such poverty, but up to a certain point. The realization that all options have been exhausted strikes a man dead in the mind, and therefore, no biblical passage can ever persuade him to tread the path of the Righteous. For even in the bible, when push comes to shove, even saints or God's elect were once allowed to erase a whole tribe or a race of people just for God's chosen ones to survive.