In overthinking the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Philippine Airlines flight attendant Christine Dacera, Inquirer columnist Hyacinth Tagupa in her piece “It’s a tragedy, but…” inadvertently backward-reasons her “analysis” from prescribed woke dogma and, as a result, arrives at a flawed thesis on the matter. Tagupa’s brainwave is encapsulated in this single paragraph of hers…
Here are facts: Drinking with the opposite sex is not asking to be harmed. A person in a vulnerable state does not give others the right to take advantage. It does not make crime “understandable.”
The flaw in Tagupa’s reasoning lies in how she takes each observed detail of the case and then constructs an argument around it outside of and isolated from the complete context of the broad circumstances surrounding the case. In so doing, she oversimplifies her assertion thus…
(1) Men allegedly assaulted victim — men bad
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(2) Victim had a “right” not to be assaulted — woman victim
Conclusion: Christine Dacera absolved of all personal accountability.
Nobody is saying the behaviour of the alleged perpetrators is “understandable” nor is anyone saying that Dacera is to be blamed for that behaviour. However, the fact is that such behaviour is likely under the full circumstances of the case and, therefore, the situation presented a recognisable risk to Dacera. Dacera was indeed in “a vulnerable state” as Tagupa herself points out. But just as a car left unlocked in the middle of Manila is also in a similarly vulnerable state and does not give anyone the right to steal it does not change the probability of it being stolen.
A tightrope and a tightrope walker taken individually by themselves are not risks. But, together, plus height, they form a risky situation. In the case of Dacera’s misfortune, the elements present were individually benign — a young woman in a slinky party outfit, a group of young men out for a good time, a room in a so-so hotel. Put all three together plus alcohol and possibly drugs and you get a situation that elicits the same feelings one would get watching a daring tightrope act at the circus.
Fans of the Star Wars franchise would be familiar with the quip “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” At the back of most normal people’s heads, many of whom are fearful of being cancelledt by wokedom’s Thought Police for simply thinking normal, is that bad feeling you get when you see a young woman going off to an unsafe place alone with a group of young men. It just does not feel right, and most parents with young daughters know that gut feeling. Who in their right mind would not think “I have a bad feeling about this”?
The only right being violated here is people’s prerogative to judge a situation as they see fit.
Our lives. Our sons and daughters.
Nobody has the right to “cancel” anyone’s intuition. What separates the adults from the kiddie “influencers” who sound off shrill tweets before all the facts are taken stock of is an ability to put that intuition in proper perspective. This is also why we subject things like this to due process within the criminal justice system. Nonetheless intuition and judgement are ours to own and apply to what we deem fit to tell our kids and what we discuss with one another when a recognisably risky situation turns tragic.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.