Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Letter of the Day | Don't condemn victims who resist robbers

Published:Friday | July 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM


How often have we heard of businessmen or others being killed while putting up resistance during armed robberies and ever wonder in our hearts, and even aloud, why they chose to resist and did not simply hand over the money or whatever, to the criminals?

For those who are close to the victims, this thought is usually one of regret and sympathy, but for many, given the manner in which this view is sometimes expressed, it often sounds like a clear condemnation or criticism of the victims. Life comes first - why hold on to money and lose your life?




But it is not that simple. Self-preservation, which is essential for survival, is the protection of oneself from harm or death and is inborn in all animals and human beings and is manifested in the natural reaction to resist or run from danger! This is referred to as fight or flight after the fright. Why resist when you cannot run?

The hard fact is that most times, resistance is not a choice we make! There is no time to think because it is a reflex, a natural, spontaneous reaction, which is part of our self-preservation. A reflex causes our hands to be pulled away when burnt, for a lady to tighten the grip on her handbag when it is being snatched, and even a newborn sucking the breast does put up resistance when being taken off.




Similarly, when any creature or human being is pounced upon, resistance comes into play. There is no standard recommendation of how anyone should behave when confronted with the death threat by criminals. There are so many factors and possibilities that it becomes totally unpredictable. It is only the person faced with the death threat who can decide. Hardened criminals will still kill. Many persons were held up by gunmen, and, without any resistance or reluctance, handed over everything, begged and pleaded for their lives, and were still murdered brutally.

And it is so ironic when we learnt of some very benevolent persons who were community builders, who donated hundreds of thousands or even millions to worthy causes, or others who regularly gave many a few thousand dollars being killed while resisting armed robbers. Was it the love of or holding on to money or material things? I don't think so.