Was the attack against veteran newspaper columnist Randy David trying to teach him a lesson?
In his column “Personal Security” published Thursday in the Inquirer, David said he went through the topics of his past columns to check if he has offended anyone which could trigger such attack.
Unidentified armed men fired at David's house inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City Tuesday night. No one was hurt in the incident.
“Be that as it may, it occurred to me that this perplexing incident dramatizes in an ironic way the very issues I wrote about last week on this space—namely, the right to the city, our dwindling public spaces, the fragmentation of our city into gated communities walled off from one another and from the swarm of homeless people, and our descent to an insecure society protected by private security agencies,” he said.
David added that the column elicited reactions mostly “in defense of the right of households to secure themselves in what they perceive to be an increasingly unsafe environment.”
The retired UP professor even singled out a response from “a clearly upset reader” which called his opinion “absurd.”
“Your assertion that it is absurd for subdivision residents to close and fence off entire streets from their adjoining neighborhoods is itself absurd. Is it absurd for one to seek security, safety and peace within one’s own neighborhood? Are you prepared to tell me that my neighbors and I should sacrifice our families’ security, safety and peace just so our neighbors in the adjoining village can save a few minutes of travel as well as a few liters of gasoline?” the reader’s comment said.
In his reply to the reader, David reiterated his point of view saying, “Right now, every family, every community, is forced to defend itself, using its own resources, against what appears to be a hostile environment. This response, while understandable, has limited value. It pits one community against the others, the well-off against the poor. [...] These individualistic responses must give way to systemic and comprehensive solutions. That is what governments and communities are for.”
However, after the incident, the columnist said he thinks he wasn’t able to persuade his reader.
Despite the attack, David stressed that he will still not get a security guard to protect his household or carry a gun to defend himself.
According to a radio report early Thursday, the police has so far traced the license plate number (UDM-191) of the FX-type vehicle used by the assailants.
The report added that investigators, who are still trying to determine the assailants' motive, are not discounting the possibility that the attack was related to David’s work as a journalist.