This article actually echos to what I wrote more than one year ago on my Chinese blog The Tragedy of Humanity, and Love for the Guilty. If you can read Chinese, I’d suggest you to read it. My thought about the guilty and humanity never changed since then, and I don’t know how to translate many of the words in that article. Here are some additional thoughts about it.
Crime is like Infectious Disease
When someone was got by flu, and he/she infects others, we know that we need to cure the person instead of kill him/her, even though the disease spread out from this person to others. Why we know it is the disease that we need to fight against, not the person himself? Because we know we are human, and all human are vulnerable to diseases. Besides curing the patient, we need to go further to build the facility to reduce spread of diseases in public places, and educate people to wash hands often, and stay at home when infected.
However, when it comes to crime, and the guilty, we tend to believe it is the PERSON who conducted the bad deed that we need to get rid of. We hate people who kill others, or who cheat, and who started a war. But the most dangerous conclusion I heard of is, they are different from us. They are bad guy, and we are the good guy. After killing them or putting them into jail for their entire lives, we solved the problem. No. They are not different from us at all, since we share the same thing: humanity.
Besides love, there are negative, dangerous, and disastrous factors in the humanity, such as fear, greed, and hate. Everyone has that inside ourselves, but most of us are so lucky that the fate hasn’t played a trick with us and put it into a situation that triggered this bad nature of humanity. However, many people are not that lucky.
Hate, for example, is very infectious. When Tim beats Jack on the shoulder, hate rises in the heart of Jack – exactly as the virus spread out from Tim to Jack. Jack will naturally go mad, and fight back and hit Tim on the face. A higher degree of hate infects Tim. If Tim or Jack cannot find justice from the society (a court, or police), they tend to rise the level of the conflict, and eventually, if someone is really driven mad, he will kill the other person. That is the typical tragedy in this world.
In real situation, things are much more complicated than this. I hate thieves. I obviously support to punish the thieves according to law, but we need to go further to understand why it happens. How the thought of the thieves were infected by greediness (“I am convinced that stealing is the quickest, and easiest way to be rich), or fear (“I will starve if I don’t steal. No one in this world really care about me.”)? They are the patient. To put them into jail is just like to put a patient into hospital. They need to be cured, in a hard way.
This is the continued discussion of my last article: I am a Rich Person?. I hate all kinds of bad behavior: the mason who laughed at me and blackmail me to give him more money (just 50RMB) by being bad to me, or the security guard who never thought about what service means, and who is the owner of the property, and I hate the movers who cheat, increase price 5 times during the move, and scratch my table without a sorry. I hate those behaviors, but I also need to understand that they were infected by diseases, just as I was often infected by mental diseases like thinking I am the center of the universe. We need to fight against the spread of the disease, not the patients where are infected.
The guilty and ourselves are the same – with the same humanity. We are programmed inside that we may lose temper. That is the nature of the human kind. The tragedy drama kindly remind us that we can very easily be the bad guy in real life.
Never think that we will not conduct crime some day in this life. We don’t not because we are different from people who conduct the crime. It is just because we are lucky enough that we were not infected by extreme hate. If you ask any of the people who killed someone, do they believe they will do it before they were triggered by something? They do it because they feel hopeless, they feel so angry, and they don’t believe there is any other solution to solve the problem. We are very likely to behave the same way – it is just the nature of humanity. That is the reason we need to work hard to prevent people getting into that terrible situation, and to offer help when they need it. That is to help ourselves.