Everyone in Australia, and many people from elsewhere, are aware of the horrible, horrible bushfires that have ravaged the state of Victoria over recent days.
Every time you turn on the news there's another horror story. Homes lost, family, friends, animals torched by the incoming flames. The total, utter destruction of the whole region is almost unbelievable. The death toll is impossible to keep up with, as every time you hear it it's crept up by 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 more people, almost to the stage where the numbers are no longer able to be processed.
What is even more incomprehendible is the likelihood that these fires were deliberately lit. Some man or woman went out into the country side, in the middle of drought, during some of the hottest weather on record, when the wind was blowing a gale and set light to the tinder dry Australian scrub.
When they catch this person, I'm not sure the police could, or would want to, stop the public from tearing this individual limb from limb.
But it makes me think - what makes someone an arsonist? Obviously no one wakes up one morning and says 'I think today I'll become an arsonist' - any more than someone chooses to be gay or straight or male or female. Surely it's something in them, whether it be nature or nurture. And either way, as a society, don't we have an obligation to contribute to doing something about this? If it's nurture, can we work towards building a society that values our communities and creates environments where all children can be cared for to reduce the number of people who feel that this is the only way that they can demonstrate their power? If it's nature, create attitudes within the community that allows these people to put their hands up and say 'hey, I've been having these thoughts and I know they're wrong but I'm having a lot of trouble controlling them and I need help'? Either way wouldn't we have fewer drug addicts, homeless youth, paedophiles, rapists, wife beaters etc too?
Yes, I know there's no magic wand to wave to make all of this happen, but unless we as a society start to value each other, from the word go, there is either no way to stop people becoming those who lit these fires, or if they're born that way there's little hope of them not fulfilling this self-made prophecy.
Of course we are all responsible for our actions, and this person/people decided to light these fires, and totally and utterly deserve to punished as roundly as our legal system allows for what they have done and the pain they have caused. But wouldn't it be in everyone's interests if we prevented it happening in the first place?
Also, I think I'm becoming AFM, I seem to keep using song lyrics for my post titles.