It’s strange. I was just thinking about the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run earlier this morning while taking my shower, wondering whether I will be doing the run simply for the sake of running or do I actually support the cause – my thoughts are conflicting about this, will go into more detail in awhile. Barely 15min later, I was checking facebook on my way to work like I always do and saw the following post by the organizers.
It simply got me contemplating further, trying to rationalize my thoughts – thoughts that were influenced by emotion and personal conviction… no pun intended.
The Yellow Ribbon Project – What is it? “Launched in 2004 by the former President of the Republic of Singapore Mr S R Nathan, the Yellow Ribbon Project seeks to engage the community in accepting ex-offenders and their families, giving them a second chance at life and to inspire a ripple effect of concerted community action to support ex-offenders and their families.” [Official website]
Word of Caution: The following contains my opinions that might seem offensive or insulting to some. Do know that my intention is NOT to offend and while I may be judgmental in some situations, know that I strive to be neutral all the time… but I’m just human and like everyone else, am affected by my emotions and beliefs.
The main question that plagues me is: Do ex-offenders deserve second chance? /sigh. This really is gonna be a sensitive topic with no right or wrong answer. Much as I’d love to say “yes” for certain, I can’t. It’s a Yes and No for me, and yeah I am simply not magnanimous enough to forgive. I honestly do think that some crimes (e.g. but not limited to: rape, child abuse, elderly abuse & animal abuse) should never be committed. Should I be given the authority, there wouldn’t even be a chance of rehabilitation – I’d have sentenced the offenders to a slow painful death… one that involves suffering the direct pain they have caused. It might seem cruel and a tad barbaric, but really, I am in favor of “necessary violence” as I believe they will serve as a deterrent.
That being said, for those who have committed lesser crimes where no lives are harmed (e.g. vandalism) and are truly repentant, I’d say yes, they deserve a second chance. And then again, who am I to judge which is a greater crime & which is a lesser crime? What I might view as ‘lesser’ in my eyes, the victims of the crime will have a different point of view. Besides, I believe the frequency of the acts should be taken into account as well. Meh, though I am in no position to judge, like most others, I can’t help doing so and I already have. I can see why employers are unwilling to hire an ex-con. It might be unfair, but that’s how the world is. Life is unfair.
Anyway, a comment on the above-mentioned facebook post reflects a doubt that am sure many people have: “What if 2nd chance is being abused?” Know the saying that a leopard can never change its spots? That. What is to say the ex-con won’t just revert to his old ways or escalate to something worse? i.e. “graduating” from animal abuse to child/women abuse? Yeah perhaps I have watched one too many episodes of CSI, Criminal Minds or other crime drama series, but anyone can tell me for sure that whatever I’ve watched is mere fiction? I fully believe that escalation is possible, and natural. It’s like taking drugs. One will need more of a substance to attain the same amount of high over time. Don’t agree? I’d like to hear your point of view, really.
Will the Yellow Ribbon Project change things? I don’t know. It will take more than just awareness to change the opinions of the general public. It’s ironic, huh? I am a misanthrope who especially dislikes people who are simply “one of the masses” w/o their own thoughts, who behaves like everyone else. When it comes to certain subjects, such as this one, it does seem that I belong to the category as well. It’s unfortunate, but am of the hopes that someday I will be able to put general prejudices behind… and taking part in this year’s Yellow Ribbon Prison Run will be my first tiny little step.