Thursday, December 27, 2012

Governments and society: Rape in Delhi and children gunned down in Connecticut

Two recent incidents, a world apart seem to be grabbing headlines and shocking communities. One is “a Brutal Gang Rape In Delhi Has Shaken India To The Core” while the other is the senseless shooting of innocent children in an elementary school that sent shock waves through the United States.

Both instances of senseless crime have received much needed spotlight from traditional media and digerati. Political leaders of all stripes have taken the stage promising constituents some action coming out of the respective tragedies. There was a slight difference, however, in the way the media reacted to statement by leaders: while the media in the US highlighted President Obama shedding some tears during his press conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ‘Theek Hai’ comment after his statement on the Rape had a polarizing effect at least among digirati

While the media attention on both cases slowly dwindles away from these incidents, one wonders if any action will really come of it? Probably not. And why?

Underfunded, highly overstretched, inept and sometimes corrupt bureaucracy in India. Enough said?! Anyone with some familiarity to India and Indian bureaucracy will surely have their favorite anecdote on dealing with the bureaucracy. I guess it is not just one factor at play in India, like the need to change the law as some in the media are suggesting, or just additional policing: the already overstretched police force probably has its hands full with chasing the bad guys, providing security to VIPs and of course trying hard to address the omni-present terrorist threat in India.

There is a similar Gordian Knot plaguing the government and society in the other part of the world. United States is a nation divided on the "second amendment" that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Controlling gun violence is not as simple as having additional security checks or policing…or as the powerful American lobby group NRA has suggested: Put armed police in every school (ref: Washington Post). Literally fighting fire with fire!

Like rest of the digirati, bloggers and others voicing opinions, I would like to believe that change is around the corner. In the New Year all that legislators and bureaucrats will have to do is to wave a magic wand and pesto, we will have better, more peaceful societies!