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Should crimes committed many years ago be forgotten? - Essay writing advice


lentan 1 / 2  
May 20, 2010   #1
Hello,

I'm improving my essay writing skills, would appreciate it very very much if anyone could point out what I can do to improve my writing.

Thank you!

Should crimes committed many years ago be forgotten?

To forgive is human, to forget, divine. To many, these words of wisdom mean little, especially when the crimes committed are terrible atrocities or have direct personal impact on their lives. It is therefore not surprising that some people feel that crimes committed in the past should not be forgotten, particularly when the criminal has not been trialed, as this would undermine the severity of the criminal's wrongdoings. While they may seem very critical, perhaps even vindictive, their worries are not unreasonable, given that however perfect our judiciary is, often, it is not always possible to undo all the damage that has been done by a criminal. Prevention is always better than the cure, and it is with this in mind that some people are unwilling to pardon crimes which have been committed many years ago. However, this is not always necessary, or even just, and I believe that although crimes should not be forgotten per se, criminals should be forgiven for the crimes they committed in the far past.

In certain instances, a crime may not be uncovered until many years later. This has occurred before in murder cases where new accomplices are discovered only decades later due to advances in technology used to procure forensic evidence. There are also cases where new evidence is shown many years later because the information was previously confidential, such as in the case of the German trails for the Nazi war crimes. In such cases, people often argue that letting a criminal go without trial is equivalent to condoning his misdeeds, and is a travesty of the entire notion of justice. This may result in criminals becoming more daring in their unlawful endeavors as dilatory tactics can vindicate them of their sentences, granting them impunity against the law. A criminal should always atone for his crimes, even If they were committed a long time ago, as after all, justice should stand separate from mundane temporal trifles.

Nevertheless, our judicial systems are only as sound as the men who make it up. The ideal of justice is but an ideal that is far removed from reality. Laws that impose justice are not infallible, and neither can more pragmatic concerns be disregarded. That laws are being amended regularly is testament to this fact. A recent amendment to the law in Singapore, the Criminal Procedure Code, allows judges to give a larger range of verdicts including punishments like corrective work order to criminals reflects this. Also, it shows that time does matter in the courts of law, because social values in a society vary over time, and it is crucial that our punishments for crimes reflect our attitudes and views towards such crimes appropriately. It is for this very reason, after all, that laws differ across countries. In this context, is it still possible to fairly assess a criminal for his crimes in the past?

Furthermore, does it still make sense for criminals to atone for their sins after so long? The ultimate purpose of punishment is to correct the moral faults of a criminal, and after so much time has passed, it is likely that even without the "aid" of law, a criminal may have already changed for the better. (Or he would be a repeat offender, in which case he would probably have been convicted already.) Does further punishment really do any good, other than satisfying the misplaced sense of justice of certain individuals? In addition, how would more practical aspects be reconciled? If a fine is to be a paid, does inflation have to be taken into account? Can testaments made by witnesses still be reliable after so many years? These minor details may border on the captious, but many small matters can hardly be ignored as a whole.

For criminals who have already been trialed, and have served or are currently serving their sentences, many are still unwilling to forget, or even pardon them. This is particularly so for victims of atrocious crimes. Many Chinese, especially the older generations, are still unable to neither forget nor forgive the crimes that the Japanese committed during the Second World War. However, such a mentality is becoming increasingly outdated, and although past crimes have not been forgotten, in all other practical and tangible aspects, they play an insignificant role today. This is particularly true for younger generations who feel detached from such historical events. Younger American Jews for example, are largely detached from the Israel Palestinian conflict, and do not share the opinions of their predecessors. Whether forgetting crimes is necessarily a bad thing is an issue of contention, but it is important to note that often, such negative feelings are widely directed not just at the criminals, but at the groups of people they are close to as well, and this unfair treatment often incites similar responses, all of which culminates in pointless, perpetuated viciousness.

However, simply forgetting a crime is not an option either. Even if a criminal has already served his sentence, a criminal record serves both as a lifelong reminder for the criminal, and as a deterrent for all aspiring law breakers. Furthermore, damage done is sometimes irreparable, and some victims will always remember the suffering that criminals have caused. Crimes committed in the past are also capable of teaching us lessons to avoid inviting similar grief in the future.

Perhaps what is necessary and appropriate is for people to disengage themselves from any predispositions they may have about a crime, and the criminal himself. What is needed is not really for crimes to be forgotten, but for the criminal to be forgiven and judged anew. The Yellow Ribbon Project initiative embodies such a principle. Although a criminal may not be able to undo what he has done, but a magnanimity to be able to accept this unchangeable fact and provide him with a new lease of life will surely make the world a better place.

puroodsy 3 / 16  
May 20, 2010   #2
Hello,

I think you wrote a very impressive essay! The command of language is good, and the use of examples is very relevant to the question.

Just a few things you may want to take note of:

It is therefore not surprising that some people feel that crimes committed in the past should not be forgotten, particularly when the criminal has not been trialed, as this would undermine the severity of the criminal's wrongdoings.

trialed--> trialled (spelling)
Instead of 'undermine' I would use something like 'underestimate', cos undermine means weaken.

For criminals who have already been trialed, and have served or are currently serving their sentences, many are still unwilling to forget, or even pardon them.

You may want to make it clearer, "many" as in who? the victims or the general public?

Although a criminal may not be able to undo what he has done, but a magnanimity to be able to accept this unchangeable fact and provide him with a new lease of life will surely make the world a better place.

Perhaps you can elaborate your examples in more details to support your point (ie: the grudge of the Chinese against the Japanese is outdated as China and Japan are important trade partners now; their past as enemy does not have much influence on their relationship now.) Overall, I think your essay is a joy to read. Great job!
yangzom 2 / 7  
May 20, 2010   #3
Hi,
Your essay is nice but somewhere, there are many run-on sentences. If i am not wrong! Basically, my English is not good enough to correct some one's essay.

May be i am wrong! Overall your essay is great and such a bombastic words that you had used. Great!
OP lentan 1 / 2  
May 20, 2010   #4
Thank you so much for your feedback!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,682 129  
May 21, 2010   #5
Prevention is always better than the cure, and it is with this in mind that some people are unwilling to pardon crimes which have been committed many years ago.

You writ beautifully! I am impressed. With this sentence above, I think you are referring to what is called "deterrence." It might be good to specify that you are talking about punishment of crimes in order to deter others for committing crimes. I know what you mean, but maybe you could add a phrase about deterrence to make it clearer.

You capitalied an "I" here inappropriately
... even If they were committed...

For criminals who have already been put on trial, and have served or ...----- trial is not a verb.

Nevertheless, our judicial systems are only as sound as the men people who make it up.---- be careful not to write in a way that marginalizes women! :-)

Many Chinese, especially the older generations, are still unable to neither forget nor or forgive----------------- you can write "... are able to neither forget nor forgive..." or you can write, "...unable to forget or forgive..."

but don't write "unable to neither"

and as a deterrent for all aspiring law breakers.--- i see you included this important word, "deterrent" in the essay, but use it in that first paragraph as well.

great job!! I hope you will help lots of people with their essays, because I think you have a special talent for writing. Are you bilingual?
OP lentan 1 / 2  
May 23, 2010   #6
Thanks Kevin, but you exaggerate really. I can communicate in Chinese as well, but i'm not nearly as fluent. I've written three more essays, but they all seem pretty bland, feels like this one was a fluke. Gonna upload them soon.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,682 129  
May 24, 2010   #7
Perhaps what is necessary and appropriate is for people to disengage themselves from any predispositions they may have about a crime, and the criminal himself.

Well, some sentences like the one above are very, very impressive.

You write like someone who is bilingual, and bilingualism is the way of the 21st century. The English language is changing as people of various cultures use it in ways that reflect a bit of other languages. So, I feel a sort of appreciation for bilingual people at EssayForum. You're making a unique contribution.

Okay, I look forward to the other essays. When you feel that an essay is bland, ask yourself what its purpose is and how important it is. Ask yourself what part of your own mind is reflected in it. Make it a work of art by using PRECISION, only including the necessary words and phrases, carefully controlling the experience you provide for the reader.

Sit very still, and start with the most important sentences. Always keep it simple, with no extra words, and the reader will have a good experience -- as long as you are writing about something meaningful.


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