Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sense of justice – follow-up

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I knock off near six p.m., being still behind with work. Enough is enough, I call it a day. Before seven p.m. odds of getting stuck in stationary traffic on ul. Puławska are negligible. Indeed, the traffic moves smoothly and as I drive at steady speed of 60 kpmh, I even manage to cross most intersections on green light. While approaching home, I get stuck in a queue of cars before intersection of ul. Raszyńska and ul. Mleczarska. Something is afoot, drivers are perplexed. After a minute I trundle forward to the intersection, pass by several damaged cars and turn right, barely avoiding being scraped by a driver of black Volkswagen SUV who thinks he’s a master of the road, and head to park my car in the garage. Then I put my father in the picture and we wander to the intersection to find out what happened. Prangs involving two vehicles are not infrequent on the nearby intersection, as ul. Mleczarska is narrow and visibility is poor, but this looked like a bigger smash-up – four cars damaged.

Some 30 minutes earlier... (full story in Polish here)

Auchan shopping centre in Piaseczno. Droves of people are roaming around the hypermarket and the adjacent shopping mall. Pre-Christmas rush is conducive to getting preoccupied and losing one’s mind. The owner of red Honda Civic walks out of the shopping centre and approaches his car. He pulls the car keys out of his pocket, press the button to unlock the door and… notices someone inside his vehicle. The thief cranks up the engine and swiftly drives away. The incident is witnessed by other shoppers. One of them instantly picks up the Honda owner, who in the meantime calls a police patrol) and they set off on a chase.

After running away one kilometre the thief comes upon a small traffic jam on his way and is caught up with by the Honda owner. In a desperate attempt to make his way through the busy road the thief crashes into three cars, forsakes the car and tries to make a getaway on foot. Some of the aggrieved (in info who exactly) jump out their cars, overpower the thief, knock him down on the road do not let him make off before the police arrives. As my father and I turn up, the criminal with a bleeding nose (probably the effect of scrimmage, serves him right) lies on the cold tarmac, cuffed in and awaits facing the music.

Sounds like a story with a happy ending. The thief didn’t manage to escape and was (temporarily) arrested. Nobody was injured. Justice triumphed again!

But on the other hand, four cars of innocent people were damaged. Who will pay for the repairs? Will they be paid from Civic owner’s third party liability insurance? If so, who will compensate him for losing discounts for damage-free track record? If not, what if some of those cars weren’t insured against own damage? What about those which were, but the repair will make them lose their discounts? The inebriated thief will be held accountable for theft and property damage, but even if convicted, will the Polish justice system manage to pull the last zloty out of his (shallow?) pocket to compensate the victims of his wrongdoing?

The exemplary, swift and sympathetic reactions of crime witnesses is profoundly reassuring. Such positive illustrations of civic attitude should be exposed to the public (and even rewarded) to induce others to follow their example. Actually by disenabling the criminal, their contributed to increasing well-being of the society.

With hindsight, I again pondered upon the borderline that should not be overstepped, when you are faced with a criminal and need to crack down on them. Recollect this post from February 2010. I’ve harked back to it instantly, read over and could write the same, in terms of content, today. When I return to my early posts of pension system, monetary policy and other issues I have clear views on, I see over almost five years of blogging my beliefs not only have not evolved, but even have become more entrenched. Does it mean my formative years have gone by so early?

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

A heartening story which shows that civic society - a sense of duty towards one's fellow citizen - is gradually growing in Poland.

I hope the courts and insurance firms interpret the outcome in a just and equitable way.