It’s your fault

Jamaica Gleaner - - WELL -

IT IS dif­fi­cult to avoid deep-seated re­flec­tion on the sense­less mur­der of stu­dents dur­ing their com­mute from school. The slew of com­men­tary on the is­sue points to fail­ure of in­sti­tu­tions. I want to sug­gest that it is re­ally your fault and mine.

Col­lec­tively, we have cre­ated a so­ci­ety in which a fancy car and a cell phone have been given greater value than hu­man life. Each one of us needs to un­dergo fo­cused re­flec­tion on how we got to this state of wan­ton lack of re­spect for the sanc­tity of life.

An­other ma­jor cause for con­cern is that the per­pe­tra­tors of these heinous deeds feel com­fort­able com­mit­ting them in full view of the pub­lic with the as­sur­ance that it is safe to do so.

The risk of im­me­di­ate ap­pre­hen­sion, swift trial and just pun­ish­ment is not high. Our col­lec­tive lack of car­ing, vig­i­lance and fear­ful­ness pro­vide great odds in favour of get­ting away with mur­der. No mat­ter what per­spec­tive you bring to this state of af­fairs, there can be no mis­tak­ing the fact that our so­ci­ety is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dys­func­tional and it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of each of us to ar­rest this tide.

In this po­lit­i­cally cor­rect era, in­vok­ing thoughts of God’s wrath and jus­tice is a turn-off for many. How­ever, the Bible, which has ac­cu­rately recorded his­tor­i­cal events, points re­peat­edly to na­tions that have met with dis­as­ter as a result of their wicked­ness. Sodom’s demise is known uni­ver­sally.

What can you do?

1. Look out­side of your­self

Come to the prac­ti­cal ac­cep­tance of the fact that there are things that fall out­side the realm of hu­man con­trol. Man is not in con­trol. Con­se­quently, set about be­ing cu­ri­ous about who or what is in con­trol. Gather in­for­ma­tion from sources that claim to be in con­trol and eval­u­ate their claims.

In that state of re­flec­tion and ex­am­i­na­tion, your frailty and vul­ner­a­bil­ity will be ex­posed. The sanc­tity of life should take on new re­spect. Spread the awak­en­ing that we are not self-suf­fi­cient, and that our in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness brings with it re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

2. Adopt a dif­fer­ent idea of self­ish­ness

Make a phys­i­cal or men­tal list of the things that you want for your­self. Spend time re­flect­ing on how much you would trea­sure the things on your list.

Now, cast your mind to the fact that in a cut-throat so­ci­ety in which ev­ery­one ag­gres­sively pur­sues their own per­sonal wants, it will be very dif­fi­cult for you to get the things on your list. Con­se­quently, it is in your self­ish in­ter­est to help cre­ate a so­ci­ety in which peo­ple like you can have their wish list come to fruition.

Pro­tect­ing the rights and in­ter­ests of oth­ers is the most ef­fec­tive means of hav­ing your rights and in­ter­ests pro­tected.

3. Take ac­tion

You in your small cor­ner or large plat­form, must make it a point of duty to take ac­tion to cor­rect the dis­ease that threat­ens us.

You can start by reach­ing out to fam­ily mem­bers, neigh­bours, work col­leagues, fel­low stu­dents, etc. Start to en­gage them in earnest di­a­logue about the state of af­fairs, its root causes and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions.

Go the ex­tra mile to learn more about anger man­age­ment and con­flict res­o­lu­tion, and freely share what you have learnt.

Cham­pion the cause of mo­bil­is­ing ini­tia­tives to en­gage at-risk youth in the cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis of their choices. Does it make sense to risk los­ing your free­dom for a $3,000 cell phone? Fol­low up that kind of di­a­logue by de­mand­ing in­ter­ven­tions that di­rect youth to al­ter­na­tive ca­reer paths and means of fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity.

4. Chal­lenge your fear

Your fears and mine pro­vide a safe en­vi­ron­ment for crim­i­nal­ity to flour­ish. Un­less we muster the courage to speak out or to in­ter­vene, crim­i­nals will be em­bold­ened. Then oth­ers will just watch and be blind when it is our turn.

Get hid­den in­sights into your life, your fam­ily’s, your team or your or­gan­i­sa­tion with laser-sharp be­havioural analyses on the revo­lu­tion­ary FinxS Plat­form from Ex­tended DISC. Re­duce bad hires with our Hir­ing Smart CSI solution. Email info@sw­pacademy.com to get on board.

Trevor E.S. Smith is a be­hav­iour mod­i­fi­ca­tion coach with the Success with Peo­ple Academy, Ex­tended DISC/FinxS.

RUDOLPH BROWN/PHOTOGRAPHER

Xavier Fran­cis and Petrona Hamilton, par­ents of Ni­cholas Fran­cis, the Ja­maica Col­lege stu­dent who was re­cently fa­tally stabbed on a bus, at the peace­ful protest held at Ja­maica Col­lege.

SMITH

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