Guns, death penalty, and national service: A reply to Clive

23 March 2005

I refer to the respond to Rosiati Jumardi from Clive from the UK (7 March 2005) and have to disagree with him on several points.

First, Clive seemed to conclude casually that America has a high rate of gun crimes, including child gun crimes, due to the fact that Americans are permitted to possess guns.

This argument is absolutely too casual and baseless. In fact, statistics in America have shown repeatedly that having guns by individuals in fact deter would-be muggers, robbers, molesters and rapists etc. The high rate of gun crimes mentioned by Clive could be mistaken to be the rate of gun-related deaths cos that’s often been used to, mistakenly though, quote by anti-gun lobbyists. What they miss out is that this statistic includes shooting by legal enforcers (such as policemen), shooting mishaps and accidents etc.

However, I do agree with Clive with one point – that I don’t really come across any cases of gun shooting or crimes committed by children as young as five years old!

Secondly, Clive tried to decry and discredit the death penalty based on his assertion that ‘Singapore my sooner or later hang someone innocent by mistake’. Well, that would be one of the most unfortunate case if that ever happens.

However, I TRUST our nation’s legal system and the wise men and women presiding in cases which involved the life of an individual. These men and women are humans too and I believe that its with great reluctance and sadness that these men and women passed the death sentence on guilty individuals in the court of law. In addition, sentenced individuals have the RIGHT for an appeal to the court of appeal which comprised of three distinct, individual and honorable high court judges. All this was done in the hope that not one individual, if an element of doubt exist, would be mistakenly sentenced to death as Clive suggested.

However, at this juncture, I would like to stress that I’m also not in favor of Rosiati’s statement which mentioned that the death sentence was meted out so that convicts may not commit their crimes again when freed and to deter the possibilities of a prison breakout! This statement is so ridiculous that I don’t see the need to elaborate on it.

Lastly, I totally disagree with Clive’s notion that ‘if the country isn’t at war, you don’t need every able bodied young man to serve in the armed forces. It’s just a waste of their time, and the army’s time as well’. So Clive what do you suggest? That we enlist able bodied young men to serve when there’s a war? That’s pretty naive and foolish to even contemplate and suggest! Its certainly not a waste of time to have our men do their national service and if the need really arise, war in that case, they would be well trained and prepared to do and complete their job. While a well prepared army may deter and finally win in any battle and scenarios, I think the most important thing national service does was that it ensures that each and every young men are trained so as to increase their chance of survival in any crisis and battle or war! Lives are at stake in every conflict Clive, and it would be extremely myopic to think that we can ‘prepare’ young people for war only when war arises, it would be too late.

At this point, I may wish to remind Clive that the case of Singapore and Britain is different as we are a small nation compared to his and thus his country has the luxury to have an army consisting purely of volunteers and professionals.

At this juncture, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Clive and U.K for their support to the US in ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’. I’m not an American, but I think to liberate a country ruled by a dictator is what every armed forces in the free world and every freedom loving people such as Clive would like to do and participate.


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