Today’s Opinion: Not all robberies are equal

POSTED: 06/1/11 12:20 PM

The brutal daylight robbery at the home of former Public Health Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus is one of these rare events that may alter the course of our history. Talk about what is usually referred to as “the crime situation” has been going on for years, but so far, it has remained just that: talk.
For a government to take decisive action, something dramatic needs to happen and the robbery in St. John’s certainly qualifies as a dramatic event.
For too long politicians have thought they were living in an ivory tower. Stuff happened to other people, but not to them. Now that a former minister has become the target of an ordinary crime, the government will be ready to pay some real attention to “the crime situation.”
But no matter what course of action they will choose – that is, if the government chooses a course of action – our decision makers will soon discover that there is no quick fix available.
“The crime situation” is the result of years of neglect on many levels. What comes to mind is education, youth policy, facilities for the youth, drugs prevention programs, job creation, housing – should we go on?
There are many reasons why criminals do the things they do. They take the wrong decisions – at least, they break the law – but many of them are driven by poverty, a lack of perspective, and probably also by anger at that part of our community that ignores them.
So in a sense, “the crime situation” is something of our own making – and now even (former) decision makers are paying the price.
It is never too late to take initiatives to improve a bad situation, and if there was ever a moment to jump into action – this is it.
Of course, the question ordinary citizens will struggle with is this one: why suddenly all this attention? Is one robbery not as awful as the next one?
Also in this sense, the robbery will be a defining moment, because whatever the reaction will be, it will make clear that not all robberies are equal.

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