Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whose fault is it anyway?

Two third-standard boys picked up a wire from the ground, tied it around the neck of their classmate and strangled him to death. All over a pencil.

These were the opening lines of an article on the front page of the Bangalore edition of Times of India last Saturday. Apart from the shock, the first thing that crossed my mind was how could this have been averted. Who can be held responsible for this young life coming to an untimely end? Is a human life’s worth less than that of a pencil?

The boys subsequently told the police that they didn’t realize what they were doing.

The boys would have seen this in some movie and had tried to imitate that without having any clue about the consequence of their act. This is similar to children trying out moves out of WWF and TNA shows, and imitating Spiderman and Superman, and even the desi Shaktiman. The inspiration for the act would have been some action sequence the twelve- and the nine-year olds would have seen on TV or a movie. They knew this would hurt, but did not know it could lead to death.

This would have happened at such a normal occasion that none of the school authorities would have paid attention—children do quarrel over small things, but who would have imagined someone getting killed in the process?

Children learn from every incident, every visual, and every sound they encounter, see, and hear. There is no way we can stop any of those. We cannot prevent children from watching TV; banning all forms of violence on screen is not feasible either. Parents cannot, and should not, censor absolutely everything their children watch and talk about. Keeping a check on all forms of tiffs between children is also not possible.

It is not necessary to put someone at fault but there is something that is not right somewhere. Imagine the plight of the three-years elder brother of the 9-year old victim, who went to rescue him seeing him fighting, only to see him collapse to death when they reached home.

Whose fault is it? Is there anything we (read anyone) can do to prevent such losses?


Cuckoo said...

What a depressing way to start a day.

I just can't think of the plight the victim's family must be going through and there is hardly anything that can be done by anyone.

There are already so many cases happening under the influence of these TV shows/movies. All the points raised by you are so very relevant. I can imagine, even the classmates, oblivious of the situation, would have enjoyed the show.
But at the same point what I think is, these days nine year olds are much more smarter than we used to be, they know & understand a lot.. a lot more than what we used to know, then why not these things as well ?

I just wish someone from their families should have told them about the consequences.

A very sad affair for all of us. May God give all the strength to the family to cope with it, especially the elder brother who has seen it.

himanshu said...

Sad incident but this sort of stuff is bound to happen -- poor parenting, unrestricted exposure to all the filth through media, as well as improper supervision and teaching at schools, etc. etc. Its no one's fault, you can't change a thing...just learn, try and raise your kids right, and keep your fingers crossed that they don't encounter any whacko at school/college

Jayati said...

A shocking incident...but yes kids nowadays are much more aware of the things going around them and they feel pleasure in trying such acts as u said in desi Shaktimaan or the Spiderman or the Superman...they just want to try out the things they see in various shows or movies...without thinking about the consequences....although they knew it would hurt...but they might not have thought that it will take someone's life....thus it is our duty to look after these and hope that it wont happen any time in future...

swap said...

That was really scary. I mean who would imagine 3rd standard kids doing all this. Kids are supposed to be innocent and I really don't see that any more. Kids today are much much smarter than we used to be at this age.

The amount of exposure kids today are getting is tremendous and there's really no way to control it as such. It has it's own advantages and disadvantages. What is missing here is that they need to be taught to handle all this. The parents/teachers/elders should work closely with the kids to make them understand the rights and wrongs. I see so many parents getting their really small kids to movie halls for movies like Omkara, Corporate and many more. Is that really advisable? I feel definitely not.

Why not encourage kids to watch cartoons/discovery/animal planet and some such really good channels and shows.
Why not encourage them to play outdoor games or engage them in some sort of activities than make them sit in front of the TV or play computer games.

I feel parents/family are equally responsible for this and have a really major/imp role to play in the whole thing. As with the fast paced life we are leading do parents really have time for their kids? The best option for parents to keep their kids occupied is to give them the TV remote or may be buy them some game CD.

I mean after all they are kids yaar they really don't understand things but they are definitely quick learners and great observers. So I feel it's the elders responsibility to make them aware of things. Come to think of it it's a very tough job to make them understand things and still not make them over matured for their age..:)…and yet preserve the innocence.

Much more to write on this but will stop here as it's quite complicated and sort of never ending…:).

ashes said...

Yes indeed, it was depressing enough.

...these days nine year olds are much more smarter than we used to be, they know & understand a lot... I completely agree, but I was surprised to read that these kids did not know strangling leads to death.

Very rightly put, its no one's fault. We can only learn from such incidents to bring up our children in a better manner.

This was your first comment on my blog. Thanks and welcome! :)

Yes dear, we need to take care that these things do not happen around us.

Welcome to my blog. First official comment from you.

The amount of exposure kids today are getting is tremendous and there's really no way to control it as such. Exactly. I also agree on your point that they need to be taught to handle all this.

...it's a very tough job to make them understand things and still not make them over matured for their age... As everybody here said, children today are more mature and smart than we were when we were their age. I feel that is better in all ways.

You don't have to stop when you feel you can write more :) Consider this as your own blog and publish. :)

Thanks for coming by and posting a comment. Please keep doing that.

Syntacto said...

Really scary incident. Not sure how one can prevent juvenile delinquency, agreed that the probability of the number is getting higher thanks to the kind of exposure children get. But yes like someone pointed out, parenting, monitoring in school play a major role. You cannot hide the existence of concepts like violence till your child grows up to whatever age you deem fit, instead you can instill the awareness of what the implications would be.

ashes said...


Scary indeed! Yes, instilling awareness of the implications of whatever children witness is the need of the hour.

Welcome to my blog. Please keep coming. Also, 'Syntacto' is a nice name!

Anadi Misra said...

Thats sad...feel sorry for all the three kids and their families. Its often said that its the survivors who suffer the worst and the longest (this has been used as a logic behind abolition of capital punishment frequently).

One of the many things we can do is to rate movies, video games, tv and internet stuff by age groups, just like they do for movies in US & Europe. That and the other measures suggested by other readers may help control it to an extent and then....just hope for the best.

One machine operator I was working with here (this was w.r.t. the school/college shootings in US), made a very good observation.

With so much virtual stuff (movies, video games, etc.) engulfing our lives, people are losing their ability to deal with reality, to handle disappointment,confrontation, disapproval and rejection. Human beings are losing their ability to handle other humans. And this is more prominent in youngsters. So the onus lies on the parents to expose them to the real world and help them develop their sense of morality

ashes said...

Yes Anadi, rating movies, games, TV shows and websites by age groups is a good idea. However, that is effective only to a certain extent, as monitoring would still be required on the parents'/guardians' part so that their children stick to the ratings. Also, making something restrictive creates curiosity towards it, thereby making some children going for an extra try for such restricted content. But yes, if not completely, this might address the issue to a certain level.

Anadi Misra said...

The prime concern expressed in my opinion, was that whether its an isolated event or it is a sign of how the future may unfold. Assuming that, and assuming the latter is significantly more dangerous, I'll express my opinion.

With all laws/rules/regulations, there is always a certain percentage of people who do not obey them. As long as the laws are able to prevent the majority from turning rogue, they are serving their purpose. So, I wouldn't worry too much about that.

In any case, this is one of the many things (parents' initiative etc etc) which need to be done. This one maybe easier to do than the others.

Obviously this alone can not solve the problem, neither will a bunch of other initiatives. Seen in a bigger context, this may relate to deeper social/psychological issues which may be harder or even impossible to solve.

Can we eliminate perversion ? No! But if we keep it to an acceptable level, we are doing fine.

Such pro-active steps may help us mitigate our problems and show that we are a society which cares, which is responsive. And not the kind which keeps in assimilating disasters after disasters and just moves ahead, unconcerned.

So being pro-active makes people have faith that there is some kind of order which exists. Whether it does or not, is a matter of opinion. But such an apporach puts the bulk of the people at ease.

I guess I should get off or I will no longer have a job!

ashes said...


Yes, you are right. We need to be proactive.

...being pro-active makes people have faith....such an apporach puts the bulk of the people at ease.. Very rightly put. At least we would feel there is somebody (we ourselves?) who cares for us.

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