‘Monster security guards’

This refers to the news item titled “Shoplifting suspect’s death probed by NBI” (Across the Nation, 5/12/13).

Mario Alfie Ducayag, a wrongfully accused shoplifter, died at the hands of mall security guards in Cebu. I am shocked but not surprised that the very persons tasked to administer security and order did violence to a man who came in peace to spend his hard-earned money at the mall.

Who are responsible?

Mall owners cannot wash their hands of the responsibility for Mario’s death for they have for too long looked down on customers as criminals instead of the valued customers that they are. Thus, security guards are only basically following the owner’s attitude and treat customers accordingly.

Mall owners have created these monster security guards by their attitude.

What happened to Mario was something easy for security guards to do because they have become accustomed to violating, daily and callously, our constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search. A police state exists in malls and shoppers have no rights in there. On the other hand, we shoppers have also been enablers of Mario’s death by “blissfully” allowing a mindless security procedure to be inflicted on us as a matter of course.

I offer my condolence and sympathy to Mario’s family and I pray that Mario’s death, though it is tragic, will serve as a wake-up call to us all, a people so inured to violence inflicted on us we no longer see it as being wrong.

When will we start to stand up for our constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and have the courage to say to these mall owners and monster security guards, “Do not touch me without cause”?

When will we say that we are people, not some commodity to be processed? Isn’t the price to be paid—our being marginalized as a people—too high a price for the power game mall owners insist on playing?