Capital Punishment – When does the punishment fit the crime?

Capital Punishment is a difficult topic for everyone.  Although I am pro life and attempt to fix everything from an educational point of view I sometimes battle to see how some people can be rehabilitated.

It is difficult to calculate the worth of a human life, not only in monetary value, but also from the perspective what he/she was worth to those around them.  I would go as far as to say it’s priceless, but sadly some people think it is only worth R1.20 here in South Africa.

There was an article about two weeks ago where a 15 and 18 year old youth assaulted a older man, and then stabbed him to death for R1.20, a while back there was another article in the news of a young man who was killed for R10.

If a life is worth so little for for some individuals in our society, then we are in for a lot a rough and very unpleasant ride.  How did we as a species fall so far as not to recognize the value of another sentient being’s life?

Being pro life and against capital punishment comes for knowing that the justice system is like any other man made system which is not flawless, but I believe that such a system could be used in the interim as a deterrent for senseless violent killings and rape while we work on the eradication of the source.

I’ve often pondered why we have so many violent crimes in South Africa, and to be honest, there is no clear cut textbook answer for why we are experiencing these, what one could call hate crimes on such a frequent basis, but I know it has to do with our past, the inequities  between the incomes groups, and the wake of destruction by the disappearance of the family structure left by the Apartheid system along with a good dash of frustration towards a Government who is failing to uplift and better the lives of the destitute.

Most pro life activists are quick to bring out the human rights of the offender, but what happens to the human rights of the victims?  As an example, a court in the UK has ruled that it goes against the human rights of a pedophile to keep him from seeing his children, and it is also against his rights to not allow him to view his material while in jail to prepare him for his trial.

One also has to ask, if I remove one bad element from the human race, who I know will cause unimaginable pain to 10 other good elements in the human race, wouldn’t it be for the better for the species as a whole?

I firmly believe that everyone gets born with what we call human rights, but through our actions we can lose it, for example when we act inhumane towards other humans through actions like violent murders and savage rapes.  One can’t murder, maim and scar on the one hand, and if caught claim human rights on the other hand, logically it does not make sense, and it is also not fair to the victims, the families and the loved ones of the victim.

By recognizing the human rights of an individual above the rights of the victim would be abuse of the victim and his/her rights in totality.

Through this all I maintain that through education and mutual understand between the different people and cultures that we can overcome these sort of hate crimes, but for the interim we need a deterrent that will buy us the much needed time to try and fix society through education for a better future.

Correctional Services – The Failed Rehab

I believe most countries across the globe sits with the same problem, so with this I’ll try and relay an alternative idea, and maybe someone, somewhere who reads this will be able to implement it.  The idea is workable, but it will need someone with strong moral and ethical values to pull it off.

  • Firstly, studies have shown that most inmates are returnees
  • Secondly, it costs the tax payer money to put them in there, keep them in there, and keep them alive for the duration of their sentence
  • Thirdly, the inmates themselves are in most of the cases not rehabilitated

In most cases the inmates are better off in jail than they are out in the world of the free.  To explain what I mean please take into consideration the following.

The scenario is worked out around what we are currently experiencing in South Africa, but I am pretty sure that the situation around the globe will be along the same lines.

To keep a inmate locked up for a year costs round about R250.oo per day.  So 365 x R250 and you get to an astonishing figure of R91 250.00 per year.  That is rougly R7 600.00 per month.

In South Africa a normal domestic worker will earn, if he/she is lucky R5 000.00 per month, working every day of the week and most Saturday’s.  Normally it will be less, since the middle income class can’t afford to have a domestic worker every day, so they only have them come in 2 days a week at anything between R150 per day to R300 per day.

The same is the truth for most of the uneducated populace of our country, the salaries they are able to earn is so low that a life of crime seems to be the only way out of their solution.

Now we know this costs us money every day, so why not make use of these non-violent individuals who are now being subsided by the tax payers month to actually earn and income of their own, and to help build the economy and to better themselves?

I propose that a non-profit takes charge of such an initiative, and with the input of Government and academic institutions you will be able to take these inmates and rehabilitate them, so that they can be reintroduced back into society as schooled laborers after their sentence.

The core idea behind the program would be to show the inmate that it’s more difficult to build up something, than to help to destroy it, while giving him the opportunity to keep a steady job, earn a Government and Academic accredited certificate with a little spare change in his pocket and to create a sense of belonging as part of a community within him/her.

The Rehab Facility should cater for the following

  • Should be build on agricultural land so that some of the inmates can raise crops and life stock to feed themselves, surplus food can be sold of at the markets and find it’s way into the economy like every other commercial farmer’s produce.
  • Should be close to a sustainable water source, so that they can water water their crops, and have water for their own usage, as well as a water treatment plant so that they can treat sewage.
  • There should be different workshops, automotive, electronic, carpentry etc, with top notch tutors so that they can learn to repair and manufacture
  • Construction division which will focus on building new infrastructure, and maintaining existing infrastructure like roads, railways, bridges and buildings.

These are only a couple of professions that could be implemented at the Rehab Facility, and I am pretty sure if one can get a think tank going on this that more opportunities will be identified.

With the products they deliver and the services they render, and the food they are now producing for themselves they will be less of a burden on the tax paying populace, and the money which was used to sustain them could be used to further develop the country.

This will also give them a measure of self worth, because most of us who have created something knows that the feeling you get from seeing your product in it’s completed stage is next to none.  Apart from that they will develop the basic skill to be part of a productive society and, if their income was good, they might even get “dividends” from their labor which one could deposit into a savings account for the day when they step out of the facility, so that they have some start up cash.

Of course this will only work with certain security measures in place, and you will only be able to use the non violent crime offenders.  I am pretty sure the same could be applied to violent crime offenders, but a lot of limitation would have to be in place to safeguard the general community.

Education – The road to Freedom

I live in a country which is plagued by corruption and maladministration in most of it’s crucial functions.

One of these, which I believe is the most crucial towards building a better future for everyone in the country and not just a specific group of people is education.  Sadly, the Education system is rifled with horrible maladministration and a poor curriculum which is failing not only the country, but the children in the system who are tomorrows voter base.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen says in his article on Mediocrity the following:

With the young woman’s claim to study I have no problem. With the society that sets the bar for performance so low, I have serious problems.

Here is where I whole heartedly agree with Prof. Jansen.  We as a society are allowing for the creation of drones, where we actually need to cater for the creation of mentally liberated young entrepreneurs who can take the country, and the global community further.

Through education one will be able to liberate yourself in various way, most importantly from a Government who does not really rely on the votes of intellectuals who can distinguish between wrong and right and what is best for the country or not, but who relies on the fear of the uneducated masses with a dash religious fear mongering ahead of election time.

This will pave the way for a Government who will take the tax money which everyone pays to better local communities as a whole instead of MP’s or parliament lining their own pockets at the cost of the poor and destitute.

Being a teacher is still a noble profession, and one has to do it out of passion, and not because of the need for the pay cheque at the end of the month.  Between the teachers of today, and the children in our classes we can build a better tomorrow for everyone.

The Spirit of Ubuntu and it’s relevance in today’s society

I think most of us can agree that there is something very wrong with the world today.  It is as if the global society have become sick, driven by the lust, the greed for power and wealth of the “own me”.

Over the last couple of years I’ve seen a decline in the social fabric that kept societies together.  I remember as a child and staying with my grandparents from time to time that in the afternoon, when they come home from work they would go and water the garden and have a chat to the neighbours who were on their way home, or taking an afternoon stroll.

Everyone knew everyone in the neighbourhood and it gave you a sense of belonging where kids could play in the street, kicking ball or driving around on their bicycles under the watchful eye of someone’s parents or grandparents.

Things have changed however, those people who can afford it put up huge walls around their properties to ensure the privacy and safety, and those who can’t just tend to lock themselves in their houses and steer clear of any interaction with the neighbors.  It is as if every household changed into a mini island state, hell bend on keeping to itself.

A few weeks ago a very good friend of mine asked me to help her with a paper that she had to do for school.  The topic was Western Philosophy vs The Spirit of Ubuntu, and one had to do a comparison between the two.  I finished the paper quickly because it was such a fun topic, but I was somewhat limited to what could be said in the paper since it had a length restriction.  Imagine that, touching such a great topic without being able to go into it to deeply.

This is one of the reasons I decided to start the blog, and to touch on some other aspects which carry great importance for me related to the state of the global collective of the human race.

In short, The Spirit of Ubuntu says you are who you are because of your interaction with the community around you, if the community thrives then you will thrive.

Stanlake J.W.T Samkange defines the three main maxim’s of Ubuntu as follows:

  • To be human is to affirm one’s humanity by recognizing the humanity of others and, on that basis, establish respectful human relations with them
  • If and when one is faced with a decisive choice between wealth and the preservation of the life of another human being, then one should opt for the preservation of life
  • A ‘principle deeply embedded in traditional African political philosophy’ says ‘that the king owed his status, including all the powers associated with it, to the will of the people under him

I firmly believe that the time is right for the human race to evolve beyond  the constraining “I think, therefore I am am” Western Philosophy which revolves around the interests of the individual towards something more in line with the Spirit of Ubuntu.

Evolve you might ask?  Yes, evolve I say, since it would be impossible for you to deliver a positive contribution towards your local community if you do not know yourself.

If more people embrace this philosophy I believe that we can see a Renaissance of global proportions which would ensure the survival of the human race as a species and further our own evolution as being who can actually decide between right and wrong.