March 19, 2006

Beating The Devil Out Of Them

Any philosophy of social correction founded on beating the tar out of young people is bound to produce some heinous scenes. Like this one in India, where police beat young women out walking with boyfriends, which garnered widespread condemnation after video of the incident was played around the country:

... Shock mounted across the country Wednesday as several television stations showed video footage of female police officers slapping and punching young women. The incident took place in a public park in Meerut City, about 60 kilometers east of New Delhi.

The women had been rounded up in the park with their male dates. It was part of a police operation named "Operation Romeo," which was supposedly aimed at discouraging the sexual harassment of women. ...

Or, back here in the US, the death of a teen boy at a Florida youth boot camp. Was it sickle-cell or was it the brutality:

A teen who died after guards punched and kicked him at a boot camp likely was suffocated during the confrontation and was brain dead when he was brought to a hospital, a pathologist told lawmakers Friday.

... Anderson collapsed while doing exercises during his first day at the camp. The Bay County sheriff's office, which runs the camp, has said the guards were trying to get him to participate after he became uncooperative.

Baden said someone pressed on Anderson's back while he was on the ground - which could have kept him from breathing - and that a guard could be seen holding a hand over the boy's mouth.

"They did that, according to their report, so that he could inhale the ammonia that they were forcing up his nose" to revive him, Baden said. ...

A kid falls down exercising and he gets punched, kicked, held to the ground and ammonia shoved up his nose. I think that's egregious in and of itself. Why did this boy have to die before people started thinking about shutting these places down? It isn't the first time a young person with previously undiagnosed or untreated health problems has been pushed to their limits and either psychologically damaged, exercised to death or simply tortured.

There's something about permitting corporal punishment that just brings the sickos out of the woodwork to administer it. The military may have saved many young people from ruin by giving them discipline and direction, but not only are they also required to regularly monitor the health of recruits, it's generally frowned on to sit on their chests or backs when they collapse, or have them run in shackles until their ankles bleed.

It isn't any prettier when it happens to American youth than when it happens to young people in India, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. It isn't any less shameful when the administrators of the punishment are acting on secular concerns instead of religious ones.

Posted by natasha at March 19, 2006 04:12 AM | Human Rights | Technorati links |