Crime Must Con­cern All Of Us!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

If some­one were to lose his or her life un­der your watch would you hold your­self re­spon­si­ble? What if the life was lost be­cause those charged with pro­tect­ing him/her failed to do their duty? What if he/she died be­cause friends and fam­ily feared for their own safety?

He ma­te­ri­al­ized at the STAR one day without warn­ing and, in the course of con­ver­sa­tion, showed his scars from bul­let wounds: two to the chest, two to the back. We fea­tured his night­mar­ish story about cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als who had sworn to take re­venge after they sus­pected he had re­ported their ac­tiv­i­ties to the po­lice. In­deed, via our story we pleaded with the au­thor­i­ties on his be­half. Ei­ther they never read the pa­per or they didn't care enough to act. The look in the eyes of the young man as he told his tale left no doubt he be­lieved his life was over; that he knew his days on this rock were num­bered.

In 2013 I learned that an 11-year-old had been shot. A bul­let had grazed his head. Mirac­u­lously fa­ther and son had man­aged to get away with their lives. That divine res­cue was short-lived. The boy's fa­ther was killed a short time later. The in­di­vid­u­als came to mind this week. Crime re­mains on the in­crease, and the po­lice con­tinue to strug­gle with the prob­lem of get­ting wit­nesses of se­ri­ous crimes to as­sist law en­force­ment.

This week I thought, too, about where that first-men­tioned young boy would be at this time, had he lived. My in­tro­spec­tion was grounded in a meet­ing with an­other young woman who seemed tainted by her cir­cum­stances. One of seven chil­dren in her house­hold, the now 17-year-old lived with an older man who had taken her in. She spoke ca­su­ally about how she was for­bid­den to make con­tact with their neigh­bours, and also about how she roamed the streets, some­times at night, for lack of any­thing bet­ter to do. She re­called meet­ing an­other man and his fam­ily at the beach who in­vited her to come live with him. Ques­tioned why she'd be com­fort­able with such an ar­range­ment, she shrugged and smiled without an­swer­ing. As I had in the case of the young man who lost his fa­ther,

I won­dered what lay ahead of her. She was young enough for any­one to be con­cerned, but old enough for so­ci­ety to con­sider her an adult. There was no par­ent to coun­sel her what to do or not do.

Again my ear­lier ques­tion: if some­one was to be­come a vic­tim of cir­cum­stances un­der your watch would you hold your­self re­spon­si­ble? What if that some­one had re­fused your help? What if they'd gone down the wrong path be­cause peo­ple who were sup­posed to care for them, the au­thor­i­ties in­cluded, had let them down?

The mon­sters in our midst con­tinue to prey on our most vul­ner­a­ble with im­punity, while the rest of the pop­u­la­tion pre­tends not to know what's go­ing on un­der their noses. They are self-con­vinced the re­ports of crim­i­nal­ity have noth­ing to do with them, that the rapes and the mur­ders and the other bru­tal­i­ties suf­fered even by chil­dren are for the po­lice to deal with. That it's not their busi­ness. Ah, but it

is their busi­ness. Our busi­ness, yours and mine. Hope­fully we'll face the truth—be­fore we are in no po­si­tion to of­fer dis­claimers and ex­cuses for look­ing the other way.

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