Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quality Of Freedom in Democratic Societies

I came here to America visiting my daughters recently. While my daughter and her husband both go to work everyday, leaving their two year old child at the Day Care Center, my daughter is concerned about how I pass my time. Of course, there is TV and this laptop totally at my disposal. Yet, a couple of days back she brings some latest issues of Time magazine from her bed room and gives me to read.

Today I pick up an issue dated 24th Jan.2011. The Tucson, Arizona shooting madness story calls my attention. In fact that was the main article appearing on the cover page, which made me pick that issue of the magazine. This Tucson shooting incident, I believe had made headlines on all global news media soon after it took place on 8th Jan. A school drop out, Jared Loughner, also an alcoholic and drug addict found to be a schizophrenic wrecked havoc on that day going on a shooting spree during a political meeting presided by the local Democratic Party congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In fact his first target was this woman, whom he abhorred and shot from close range, the bullet piercing through the right side of her head and emerging from the left drilling a hole in her brain from side to side. It is a different story that this woman has survived the injury miraculously, now MSN news just today reporting her verbal request for toast for breakfast, declaring the recovery as lightning fast. The madness caused 6 deaths and 13 injuries.

Whereas, it is always the ruling political party blaming the opposition and the opposition blaming the ruling party in such situations in a democracy, the writer of the article poses questions about  two deeper issues involved in this incident, which is not the first of its kind. Four years back the Virginia Tech massacre caused 33 deaths including the shooter. One, he asks, if it is not high time that people with serious mental conditions such as schizophrenia should be confined to asylums and the other is if it is not time to revise the weapons law and make amendments to the constitution.

 In America, the constitution is so much for the freedom of speech that it allows individuals to make tirades of pure hatred of all kinds in public. An individual simply walks to an ammunition stores, buys a fire arm of his choice and walks away. He needs to get a permit to carry it in public, but for buying at a store, there are no restrictions. One can conceal it easily and carry to a cinema hall or a church. The author of the article, one David Von Drehle, sarcastically, though in all seriousness of the issue says, while the speech does not kill, a gun kills! I wonder if freedom is not bordering on promiscuity, if not lunacy in America!

While issues are so serious and crying loud for reforms, in a democratic society of any kind and pattern, people at the helm of power indulge in blame game, never serious about rooting out social anomalies permanently. Tax paying and law abiding common man is always a casualty in a democracy.

I have seen people of so called advanced countries laughing at India calling it a land of snake charmers and roaming cattle. In India we have bulls roaming freely, even having mating games making people in busy streets run helter-skelter for life! In developed countries we have schizophrenics like the Loughners roaming among people concealing firearms on their person and killing people at will. These things can happen only in immature democracies enabling greedy stupid cheats climb to the peak of power. Be it Indian, American or European democracy, in my opinion, all are miserably immature and stupid systems of governance. Will the system mature? Not in the near future at least, if not never! Is democracy all about freedom or should there be social responsibility at the top. People like you and me can only debate for ever and ever....another form of stupidity, madness? 

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