We need to learn to look af­ter our­selves

Cape Argus - - OPINION - By David Biggs

MORE of­ten these days we hear grumpy old men mut­ter­ing: “I just don’t know what the world’s com­ing to. Ev­ery­thing is fall­ing apart. There seems to be no law and or­der”. It’s not only the grumpy old men, ei­ther. Sta­tis­tics from around the world in­di­cate a scary break­down of what we think of as civilised val­ues.

It was an­nounced that in 2015, Brazil ex­pe­ri­enced 60 000 mur­ders – as many as North Amer­ica, Rus­sia, China and Europe com­bined.

It was also an­nounced of­fi­cially that 97 mil­lion work­ers around the globe are liv­ing from pay cheque to pay cheque. In other words, they do not know whether they will be em­ployed next month. (That’s just those who have jobs)

It doesn’t take an ex­pert to re­alise crime and vi­o­lence is in­creas­ing glob­ally at a fast rate. Ev­ery day we hear of new bomb at­tacks, ter­ror­ists driv­ing into crowds, ar­son, geno­cide, ri­ots and wars.

A study group in Amer­i­can and Bri­tish uni­ver­si­ties has found that so­ci­ety has col­lapsed sev­eral times in the past. The hu­man race seems to go in cy­cles un­til things get out of con­trol, then the pop­u­la­tion gath­ers the scraps and those who are left re­build.

In me­dieval times, there were no strong po­lice forces to pro­tect the weak. Peo­ple learned to fend for them­selves. The poor bunched to­gether for pro­tec­tion and the rich hired armed guards.

Peo­ple hid their money, or buried their treasures, be­cause they no longer trusted banks to pro­tect it from thieves. Mod­ern thieves are clev­erer than ever be­fore be­cause money is only vir­tual re­al­ity in com­put­ers, so thieves don’t even need to pick locks to get at it. They just press a few but­tons.

The great plagues were the re­sult of poor hy­giene and over-crowd­ing and this seems to be hap­pen­ing again. Dis­eases like swine flu or avian flu, sweep across coun­tries be­cause farm stock is kept in crowded pens.

In the US, it was an­nounced that more Amer­i­cans that ever be­fore own guns. In South Africa thou­sands of weapons are stolen an­nu­ally from the po­lice. Where is it all head­ing? The an­swer is sim­ple. We are go­ing to have to learn to look af­ter our­selves.

If the politi­cians can’t help us and the po­lice are too in­ef­fi­cient to pro­tect us, we must help our­selves. Have you thought of join­ing your neigh­bour­hood watch? Have you con­sid­ered at­tend­ing first aid classes? Do you know how to skin and cook a co­bra?

I’m sorry to be an alarmist, but maybe we should all put down our gins and ton­ics for a mo­ment, un­plug our iPhones and take stock of how self-suf­fi­cient we are.

Last Laugh

A very an­gry man marched into the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion and dropped a dead cat on the charge of­fice counter.

“Some­body threw this cat over my gar­den wall into my prop­erty,” he said. “What are you go­ing to do about it?”

The duty sergeant reached for his in­ci­dent book and said: “No prob­lem, sir. I’ll just take your name and ad­dress and if no­body claims the cat within three months you may keep it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.