Sargodha fiasco gave us an opportunity to look and analyze weird side of society. Weirder was the reaction of Pakistani media that just ignored it beyond the breaking news, following the frenzy of it, playing and replaying statements of sick murdering maniac. Those who went a little deeper into it went on to quoting similar cult incidents and concluded that lower number of psychiatrists or mental health professionals (MHP) is one big reason and a possible solution is to improve the numbers. Politicians and government officials came up with usual condemnation rhetoric, formation of some committees to probe and that’s about it. This sums up society’s overall reaction to one pretty scary and gruesome mass murder incident.
This reaction itself is nothing less than a tragedy, for any other nation such incident would permanently engrave in their social fabric and they would take practical steps to prevent such calamity from happening again. For us, ruthless murder of 20 of our own is nothing but a feeble cry in an ocean of directionless mob. Though we do react on the acts of terrorism, why we couldn’t take this incident like any other act of extremism? May be, because we are more interested in the motive than the act itself. How is one man senselessly taking 20 lives is different from 5 gunman killing 150 children; though we can’t just call both incidents same in impact and magnitude, but without any doubt the individuals involved carry same kind of sickness, where human life holds no value. May be we are consumed by the menace of terrorism so deep that no other accident make us react. May be the never ending war we are engaged in for decades, is taking its toll and leaving us somewhat senseless as a nation and we are paying the price with dying empathy.
Enough of this doom and gloom, let’s see how to fix it. One possible solution is suggested by some media to have ample number of mental health professionals (MHP). Number of professionals in this field are very low and still there is no way to measure the impact of this lack, but current numbers defiantly paints a sorry picture with about 1000 MHP for whole population (yes its one thousand or less in whole country), that makes 1 professional for more than 200,000 individuals. One can understand that there is dire need for MHPs… but is this the solution? We can look at US, where they have 1 professional for about 600 individuals’; despite that all kind of crime, murder, rape and specially hate crimes are on high. Though introducing more MHPs in the field, making mental health facilities available to masses and rigorous campaign for mental health awareness would improve the situation, but still can’t fix the problem. The reason being, human mind is one complex unit and naturally have these creases and folds that can trigger at any uncertain, far from usual, situations and one can just never take these folds out. Its no more different than the blind spot in human eye, at specific angle our eyes just can’t see an object even if it is right in front of us; one can see people are inherently broken. And if we can’t fix it, the next best thing is to minimize the chance of triggering these bends in human brain.
Presenting a three prong solution that is more of a cliché and most obvious one, which would also fix many other problems we are facing. The first tier is ensuring rule of law so that everyone develops fear of punishment. We can see all around us that the boundaries between right and wrong are somewhat blurred in our society. By punishing every wrong, society would eventually learn to self correct and individuals would at least hesitate at sight of any wrong. Second, justice should prevail, where the focus should not only be the punishment, but through the due process. So that the society at large can experience the content, by eyeing the guilty paying for crime and innocent enjoying the honorable life, as the famous quote says “Not only must Justice be done, it must also be seen to be done”. Finally, those holding authority must literally strive to ensure equal opportunities for all; regardless of their class, status, race, color, religion etc. So that weak feels the power by exploring the available opportunities whether financially or through knowledge, education and developing rational facilities and be able to say no and stand against any exploitation.
By mere moving toward ideals like rule of law, justice and equal opportunities we can elevate this nation. As these ideals not only have merit of their own, but also train the society to develop sensitivity for all that is good and disgust to these social evils.