Sun, Jan 15, 2017 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTER ]

The possibility of change

When we watch TV, the news is usually related to society. We learn what happened, when it occurred and the importance of the event immediately. As is known to us, social media are very likely to report this kind of news.

However, recently the matter has become more serious in Taiwan and in other nations. When an event occurs it arouses our attention. If the actions of a criminal were very cruel, it will result in public outrage and maybe even street protests. At that time, the most important thing to the public is whether a murderer might be sentenced to death. Nevertheless, as time goes by, people start to forget the matter. Then reports that a prisoner can be rehabilitated grab our attention, but the public seems to be displeased with this. It is difficult for people to know how a judge decides whether a prisoner can be rehabilitated or not and they do not even really know the definition of the word.

More cases like this have occurred in recent years. For example: In 2012, the murder of a 10-year-old boy whose throat was slit in a games arcade in Tainan. When his murderer was arrested, he said: “Killing one or two people in Taiwan will not get you the death sentence.” This caused an outrage. His final sentence was life in prison, because he was diagnosed with a mental illness. This sentence does not meet everyone’s expectations.

In 2015, a girl was walking to the toilet in her elementary school at about 4pm, when a man allegedly slashed her twice across the throat with a knife. This case also set off public indignation. The judgement was the same as in the above case. The public questioned how these perpetrators could escape the death penalty.

The possibility of rehabilitation cannot be decided by whether the criminal has a mental illness or not. Although people sometimes feel frustrated or depressed, they cannot do anything they want to hurt people. These criminals are adults, therefore, they should take responsibility for their mistakes.

The most important thing to do is improve counseling for these people, and their parents should make more time to take care of them. Although there are different views about the death penalty, we should stop intense debate and start changing the world together.

Chen Jei-fang

Nantou

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