Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review of the Television Series Flashpoint (2008+)

Review of the Television Series Flashpoint on CTV

You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.
The Buddha

Flashpoint is a slick and hard-hitting Canadian television series filmed in Toronto. The Strategic Response Unit, a highly trained SWAT team, handle hostage situations. Greg Parker, the leader, tries to empathize with the criminal and convince him or her to surrender peacefully. His job is to defuse the situation or give the command for the snipers to shoot the aggressor.

Quite often Greg, his team, and the audience connect and identify with the aggressor. At times, the hostage seems to be more of a villain than the person with the gun. Each episode begins at the peak of confrontation, and then rewinds to explain the series of events that have led up to this moment of ultimate threat. Cause and effect are clearly explained.

This heartrending show demonstrates how people can be caught up in causes and conditions that lead them to places and actions they never expected or desired. We indentify and feel compassion for the hostage, the hostage taker, the SRU team, and the people who love each of them.

There are many young girls, boat people, who are raped by sea pirates. Even though the United Nations and many countries try to help the government of Thailand prevent that kind of piracy, sea pirates continue to inflict much suffering on the refugees. One day we received a letter telling us about a young girl on a small boat who was raped by a Thai pirate. She was only twelve, and she jumped into the ocean and drowned herself.

When you first learn of something like that, you get angry at the pirate. You naturally take the side of the girl. As you look more deeply you will see it differently. If you take the side of the little girl, then it is easy. You only have to take a gun and shoot the pirate. But we cannot do that. In my meditation I saw that if I had been born in the village of the pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, there is a great likelihood that I would become a pirate. I saw that many babies are born along the Gulf of Siam, hundreds every day, and if we educators, social workers, politicians, and others do not do something about the situation, in twenty-five years a number of them will become sea pirates. That is certain. If you or I were born today in those fishing villages, we may become sea pirates in twenty-five years. If you take a gun and shoot the pirate, all of us are to some extent responsible for this state of affairs.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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