A woman in a cinema asked a group of youths to be quiet. After the film,
“Two of the group followed the family into a nearby restaurant and threw bleach over the woman’s head and back, leaving her needing hospital treatment for burns to her skin and possible permanent damage to her eyes.”
I believe that most people are good people (and that some others who do bad things are not always bad people), and that if you trust them they will repay it. It is what makes me a libertarian. Sometimes it is difficult to stick to that belief.
Yet I feel I must do. To be inherently mistrustful of the majority of people is to open oneself up to a life of misery. Imagine how the average BNP voter feels, constantly in fear of ‘the other’, a fear which turns into hate; or the terrorist willing to kill themselves in order to murder others. Our common reaction is to mock and despise them. But we mustnâ€™t forget the importance of pity. Pity not for their views, but because they can hold such views.
Governments and many different political ideologies too warn us to be mistrustful of people, from social conservatism to socialism. It is why they want the state to have more of a say in our lives: we cannot be trusted if left to our own devices, because we are painted as inherently bad (along with other deficiencies).
We do need some system of law and order. There are bad people in the world (like the gang above), and there needs to be a way to stop them. But there also needs to be a reassessment of the way too many people view the majority of others. Not every youth on a street corner is a potential mugger. Not every Muslim is a potential terrorist. Most people will surprise you if you give them a chance.
Such a piece is no doubt of little comfort to the women scarred by bleach. But I don’t see any other way to act.
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