Breaking the spirit

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EVERY day I saw him with dog. Leash in one hand and stick in the other. Every day he screamed, shrieked and shouted commands to the poor dumb creature and if the four legged fellow failed to comprehend or refused to obey, the stick swished the air and came down mercilessly on furry skin. But today was different.
There was something different in the look in the animal’s eyes, and as stick threatened to tear its hide again it raised itself on haunches and with terrible growl and even more ferocious roar it threw itself on its master, its fangs evil and closing on flesh that cried out with terror.
The dog had had enough. All the master thought he had been doing, was training his dog. His methods though were cruel and barbaric. The dog finally had enough. Its spirit had been broken and with a devil may care attitude, it attacked the very person who had invoked it with fear.
How familiar it sounds? We punish our criminals with police lathis and truncheons, carefully seeing that we break no skin and bones, breaking only the wild spirit that we see in him, till suddenly petty thief comes out a murderer. Pickpocket becomes gangster. Chain snatcher turns into extortioner.
And we look with disbelief and wonder who created these monsters? We of course. Who else? Like that master of the dog, we try to tame with stick and fist, hoping that we can beat the wildness out of the trapped criminal. We hit and with unleashed fury smash his spirit into the ground for having dared to defy.
A monster worse than the one before sprouts out. An actor has been caught with drugs. Read what most readers have to say about him. “Lock him up for a few years.” “Beat the day lights out of him!”
“Humiliate him in public!” Ah how we want to punish the fellow. What kind of a man will he be after the punishment. Broken in spirit. Are these the kind of people we want?
Or do we want to change and reform them, so that they will come back into the folds of society, transformed into good human beings. Men and women who will turn to our children and say, “I erred, see that you don’t. It’s not worth it.”
Remember that dog. In inflicting punishment with cruel and brutal ways, we create fiends. And then with a roar and a howl of devilish delight, those whom we thought we had corrected will pounce on our unsuspecting throats and tear us to bloody bits.
Correction and punishment are two different things. It’s time we opened our eyes and started noticing the difference…!It’s time we stopped breaking the spirit.
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