- Category: Other destructive feeling articles
- Published on Tuesday, 03 August 2010 13:25
- Written by Erin Bodeau
- Hits: 497
In 2008 there were 441,855 robberies reported in the United States. I was one of that number.
It was late on a Saturday when my friend and I were walking back to our dormitory. We were a half block from home, when two males approached us and demanded our wallets. Their hoods hid their faces, but they seemed nervous. They were unsure of themselves—this wasn’t something they had done before. My friend surrendered her entire bag immediately but I, in shock, scrambled through my purse looking for my wallet. This made them nervous, I suspect, because at this point, one pulled a gun and pressed into my abdomen. Amid screams from my friend and yells from the men, my purse was yanked from my shoulder and the two sprinted into the darkness. Sobbing, clutching at each other, we ran toward the well-lit street, thankful my friend’s cell phone had been in her pocket so we could call the cops.
Now, we all know that in a utopian society, crime would not occur at all. But there is no utopia, only realistic goals of reducing crime rates, because crime is not just a reflection of the individual(s) that committed it, but of society as a whole. A society that was completely healthy, a utopia, would not have crime. So we cannot just blame the “criminals” because in many cases, society created the “criminal." It is not true that everybody is created equal, because in our society today not every individual has the same chances of achieving success; background, race, economic status, family—all of these things and more affect every individual’s chances for success (in the common definition of the term). And this is where compassion comes in.
As hard as it is to feel compassion for someone that harmed you in some way, it’s important that we try. I recognize that these two boys have factors influencing their decisions that I know nothing about; the boys arrested by the police were both from North Minneapolis, a part of the city known for high crime, gang activity and low income—these are all factors that could have forced the hand of the boys convincing them robbery was the only solution to their problems. I am not condoning crime or robbery, but trying to say that I realize that, as different as I am from these boys, we are all still human beings. According to the Dalai Lama, all other characteristics are secondary to this common ground. I have compassion for them because we are the same, we are human beings. He says in his book How To Expand Love that we all have the potential to commit crime, as long as desire, hatred, attachment, jealousy or ignorance are present, crime is possible. Those boys do not deserve my hate, but my help, because in a perfect society, they wouldn’t have had to make the decision whether or not to rob me.
Check out the Compassionate Societies Index created by Ron Anderson to see how crime rates affect a country's score.