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Blaming the victim

Bencyrus Ellorin

PERHAPS in ignorance, the crowd is quick to condemn those who have been arrested for illegal drugs. Worse, those handcuffed are considered lucky because they did not get a hole in the head.

We ask: Has the crowd become so blood-thirsty, they have to quench it with drug-laced blood? Problem is, most probably, this thirst may not be quenched as some of the blood do not have meth and/or cannabis and thus, there is no kick. Would the crowd demand more blood?

The problem with ignorance and cult-like behavior is that critical thinking is slowly getting criminalized. Even the factual presentation of stories is being challenged by fake news, sometimes clothed with the label “alternative facts,” as if there is a thing.

This week, the crowd clapped, howled, the news blared with the arrest of a traffic enforcer, then a prominent government disaster risk reduction worker.

While these individuals may not be role models (in fact, huwag tularan), they are productive individuals. As public servants when the traffic enforcer is at work, directing traffic, issuing traffic violation citations, he enjoys the presumption of regularity. The same with the disaster risk reduction worker who has developed skills in weather forecasting. He was helping people, perhaps saving lives whenever he issues weather warnings, gives early warnings to emergency responders and the general public.

The reality that there are productive people hooked drugs is as real as the existence of criminals driven by drugs.

The lamentable thing about this war on drugs is that it foments a culture of condemnation and damnation against those arrested for illegal drug use. It relegates the state policy laid down by the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act which is compassionate toward drug users and harsh on the pusher.

The Department of Health considers drug addiction an illness. Among the policy issuances of the Dangerous Drugs Board, Resolution no. 2 provides for rules on community-based drug rehabilitation.

So, I enjoin the crowd to hold your horses. Those caught, even if they are no longer productive members of society, deserve their day in court. Even the worse of drug users enjoy the presumption of innocence. And if possible, second chances.

The crowd may also need reminding that the “kill, kill, kill” pronouncement they hear is not the law. It could just be a figurative elocution from a person said to be fond of hyperbole.

Unless we allow our democracy to slide down further, we are still governed by the rule of law, not of men. And the law still provides second chances even to the worst of users. For those killed innocent — basically those killed without trial — all we can do is pray for their souls and a stop to this impunity, unfortunately.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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