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KES Lewis

It seems for the longest while we have been talking about the increasing incidents of violent behaviour in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And yet, little has been done, or, rather, little of what has been done has worked. The vaunted Pan Against Crime helped create a new generation of pannists but did not stem the flow of violent offenders streaming towards Her Majesty’s Prisons. If the Pan Against Crime venture did work, it would be good to see the data on it. Furthermore, it would be good to see any data on how specific programmes aimed at reducing criminal behaviour have worked. Without such access, and from the evidence on hand, it seems that nothing is working.

After the next heinous crime is committed, we will find ourselves going down, again, the same old, pot-holed path, a call from those who oppose the government would go out asking why the government is not doing anything about crime. Then the government will respond with “evidence” that they, the government, are really, really working on doing something about it. They would then present a nice table showing how in reality crime is decreasing overall, but it’s only violent crime that is increasing. Truth be told, I have seen the movie and its sequel too often. What we need to understand is that governments are not designed to “work” in the way we think they should. And as strange as it sounds, I think that clarity would help us to do something about the situation.

A government is, for all rights and purposes, a consumer. They purchase projects and human resources that are made to look like “solutions” to problems, but they are not, they are merely expenditure items. A good government is very similar to a budget shopper. They try to get the best prices for mediocre goods. As every shopper knows, sometimes you hit the jackpot and you get a piece of clothing that lasts for 10 years for literal pennies. When a government shops for you the “win” for them is that they spent very little to get you what you now have. What they do well is tell you how much they spent to get you what they gave you, whether what you have actually worked or not.

And for good measure, they would tell you that your neighbour’s budget shopper (government) spent more to get them the same thing you got from them for less. That’s the “work” of governments for you. They do not fix things they buy things that look like they are trying to fix things.

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But that still leaves us with the problem of limiting criminal activity. How are we going to fix that? The answer in short is that “you need to fix it”. Yes you, not them, you.

Literature over the last 40 years has given credence to the idea of socialised violence. When violence is displayed in the media, in public, or at home, it conditions persons to respond to situations in a violent way. Other studies have shown that if little Tommy bullies his playmates in Grade 3 and does not suffer any consequences from the school or home, eventually little Tommy would grow up to become Big Tommy and Big Tommy will bully those who report to him, he will bully his intimate partner, and he would bully his family. He may never end up before a judge or in prison, but violence or the threat of violence, in this case verbal, will become his modus operandi. Without intervention, little bullies become big bullies.

Since we know government purchases such as more and bigger prisons, more police who are better trained and armed, more cameras, legalised abortions, and more jobs do not work, or if they do only in a particular time and context, here is what we can do.

Men, stop treating your girlfriend/spouse like a punching bag. When you do, you are teaching little Tommy to do the same thing when he is hungry, angry, intoxicated, depressed, or disappointed in life. Women, stop with the verbal evisceration. Your words hurt and part of the reason little Tommy is a bully at school is that you keep telling him he is like his sperm donor. All you are doing is enforcing what he is seeing. When little Tommy goes to school what do you think he is going to do? Talk with the counsellor about why he is angry?No, he will use the schoolyard as a practice field for what he sees at home, on television, or in the community.  Mommy and daddy could help little Tommy by turning off the television, stopping listening to the songs that promote and glorify violence, and spending time playing marbles with little Tommy.

When this happens in the home, the budget shopper (government) can then purchase things like regulations and laws, more school counsellors, more prisons, more and better-trained police officers, more media time advocating healthy homes, more parenting programmes, and more teachers and schools. The hope is that when these new purchases combine with new behaviours at home, things would change for the better. And we would have taken steps toward a society that is peaceful, prosperous, kinder, and more unified.

P.S. Any name listed here is not meant to reflect on anyone alive. “Tommy” came to mind because I watched a movie with a lead actor by that name before writing this piece.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

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2 replies on “A society of violence”

  1. You fail to mention the police who are one of the worst abusers. I have seen police with guns when Vincentians stage a peaceful protest. They can set examples for people to follow. Why are you giving the government a passing grade when it is one of the biggest abusers of the people.
    All we have do is to look for a typical example in the US where Trump organized his followers to attack congress.
    Ralph uses the police to control the people buy brute force not by example. Are you forgetting the man who was shot in his yard by Ralph’s supporters and friends? What about the police woman who accused Ralph of rape? Man you are way of your lane.

  2. Way arl deez guns coming fram? Good Lord. D criminals getting bolder an bolder. Fire the COP. The royals only good fo beet up people fo nuttin.

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