Re­spond­ing to crime

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY MARIA KATSOUNAKI

The as­sas­si­na­tion

of a man in­side his of­fice right in the heart of the cap­i­tal, ap­par­ently by per­pe­tra­tors pos­ing as clients (au­thor­i­ties said the two men who en­tered the build­ing had an ap­point­ment with the slain lawyer, Michalis Zafeiropou­los), marks yet an­other step into un­known ter­ri­tory. Ev­ery crime has its own par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics and all sides need to be cau­tious in their com­ments and as­sess­ments un­til the on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion has come to a close. De­tails about Thurs­day’s crime will be an­nounced by the au­thor­i­ties in due course. What re­mains is end­less sad­ness and in­cal­cu­la­ble cost. First and fore­most there’s the grief of Zafeiropou- los’s rel­a­tives, friends and col­leagues. The cost con­cerns the im­pact on his pro­fes­sion and so­ci­ety. Any lawyer deal­ing with crim­i­nal cases will from now on feel greater in­se­cu­rity and con­cern. The mes­sage, which is con­veyed both overtly and covertly, is that crime can oc­cur more and more eas­ily. Law­less­ness is grad­u­ally be­com­ing the norm. One should be care­ful about draw­ing any par­al­lels, but the signs could al­ready be seen in Greek so­ci­ety at large. The only fil­ter and bar­rier is the re­spect for, and abid­ance by, the law. And the fact is that Greece’s left­ist-led gov­ern­ment has a prob­lem in this re­spect. Its at­ti­tude has ranged from in­dif­fer­ence to tol- er­a­tion. Mem­bers of the Rouvikonas anti-estab­lish­ment group are left to op­er­ate unchecked. Sim­i­larly, au­thor­i­ties have taken no se­ri­ous steps to crack down on law­break­ing be­hav­ior in­side the coun­try’s uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing at­tacks on of­fi­cials who are try­ing to re­store or­der at the in­sti­tu­tions. But is there a con­nec­tion be­tween the as­sas­si­na­tion and the spread of law­less­ness across the so­cial fab­ric? One could ar­gue in fa­vor or against this po­si­tion. What is cer­tain is that the at­mos­phere is be­com­ing more and more toxic. There is a grow­ing feel­ing that we are more and more ex­posed to crim­i­nal forces who are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the gen­eral im­punity. There is a feel­ing that any­one who wishes to break the law can do so more eas­ily now. Crime is get­ting out of hand – and in or­der to deal with it you need a united and solid po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. The strong-worded state­ments con­demn­ing crim­i­nal acts – as we heard fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s mur­der – are not enough. Mean­while, the vo­cif­er­ous con­fronta­tion be­tween po­lit­i­cal lead­ers is only aimed at party au­di­ences. Such tac­tics would never at­tract vot­ers, in fact they only seem to help that con­tract killer, that para­noid or ran­dom mur­derer. Crime is the wrong kind of sub­ject for po­lit­i­cal ex­ploita­tion. It will only lead to more crime.

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