How dare thieves ruin lives

On 21 October, 2009, individuals broke into my duplex in Savannah. They stole items that were very important to me, but thankfully no one was hurt. This letter is to everyone, most specifically to the individuals who choose to violate people’s homes, homes that are seen as safe havens and places of peace. You violate our sanctuary and steal things that do not belong to you.

To those of us who live in peace, who work hard and pay honestly for our belongings, who have cherished items that may not be expensive but have emotional, sentimental value. Those of you who take these things will get nothing really in return, but to us these items are priceless. Oh and those items we work so long and hard for, that we patiently save for, so when time comes we are able to with a sense of accomplishment and pride make our purchase. In a matter of moments they are gone grabbed with sweaty palms shoved into a sack or back pocket and sold for a few dollars or traded for some drug. I don’t know, but I do care.

Allow me for a moment to tell you about my mother. She is 83 years old and she grew up in Grand Cayman. Her childhood home was in Savannah directly across the street from where I now live. She spent a great deal of her childhood in the old house directly to the east of my duplex where she would tell me that she slept under her grandma Evelyn’s arm. She is without a doubt the sweetest, kindest, gentlest woman. All she desires is a hug and someone who will talk with her. If that is not available she will sit quietly on the sofa doing her puzzle book. If someone came to our door she would invite them in and share all that she has. If you needed food or assistance she would do whatever she could to help. She would ask nothing in return except their company. She would do this because she has trust in her fellow human beings. She believes that Cayman is still the same as when she grew up here. She believes that people are like her and I have thus far not shattered that illusion.

My Aunt Sybil is like that too. She lives behind my duplex. She will feed so many people from four pots on the stove that more times than not I have been reminded of the story of Jesus serving thousands with five loaves of bread and two fishes.

In Savannah I am surrounded by family and I always felt safe and protected as I am sure everyone feels in their homes within their district…but we’re not…. We’re not safe and protected; we are victims waiting to be victimised.

I digress, back to my mother. What I also want you to know is that she has an aneurysm in her aorta artery. So whoever you are, when you broke into my duplex that night believing it was empty because my car was not there my mother may have been there along with my sweet, loving cousin Marlice, who stays with her when I am away. Yes, she could have been there and if she had you may have very well scared her to death. Yes, you could have done that.

Are you so heartless and cruel that you would terrorize an old woman who has lived her life showing kindness to all? Could you possibly live with yourself knowing that you had done such a thing? Could you be so soulless to do that to someone who has only been good and gentle? Do you have someone you love like that? Of course you do. You came from your mother’s womb and I know you were loved by someone as you must in return love someone now. I imagine you cherish the place where you lay your head at night. I imagine you feel safe and secure there. I bet you have belongings that you value and love so allow me to ask you this, How would you feel if someone terrorised someone you love? If someone came in uninvited to your place where you feel safe? If someone stole something that you loved and cherished? How would you feel? I bet you would hate it. I bet you would feel angry and violated.

Young people, people in general do not think about death; In fact more than not, people do not give much thought to God in general or what comes after. The time we think about God is when we are close to death, or caught up in a terrible tragedy. Until then we think we are invincible, that we will live forever. And then an illness is diagnosed, or we are involved in a tragic accident. Then we pray, then we beseech Him and ask for mercy, then we hope against hope that there is something more than just this. Know this; we will be held accountable. Whether it is next week, or next year or 80 years from now, we will stand before Him and be judged by our works on earth. None are perfect or even close to it, but there will be those who will stand before him and be proud of the time they walked this earth and there will be those who hold their heads in shame. What are you going to say for yourself? I spent my time stealing from others, terrorising innocent people for my gain, taking away the peace and tranquillity that existed for hundreds of years. Wow what a resume! Do you wake up in the morning with a sense of accomplishment? With a sense of power? How heartbreakingly sad. There is always someone meaner, bigger, stronger, and more ruthless. What a horrible vicious cycle. When did it begin? When will it end?

If you are Caymanian and are involved in these criminal acts, HOW DARE YOU DISHONOR THE FOREFATHERS OF GENERATIONS PAST! Generations who would share all they had, who would gives without hesitation, who worked and slaved to make things better for generations to come; who sacrificed and did all within their power to provide a better life for those who came after them. IS THIS HOW YOU REPAY THEM? IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT LEFT FOR FUTURE ENERATIONS? STOP THIS NOW!! BE BRAVE, STAND TALL, TURN THINGS AROUND FOR YOURSELF AND FOR THE REST OF US!

If you are not a Caymanian, if you have come from another country HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU, YOU DESTROY OUR HOME! HOW DARE YOU BRING FEAR AND INSSECURITY TO US! Is it because there is nothing left in your homeland that you come here to lay barren to our country? You are welcome if you live an honourable life among us but if you cannot GO BACK FROM WHERE YOU CAME! Would you be pleased to know that foreigners are arriving on your shores and terrifying your friends and loved ones, destroying the moral fabric of your country?

I will end this with a question. What are you going to do when there is nothing left to take, when there are bars on all the windows when tourists stop coming to our beautiful Island because they are afraid that when they walk out of a restaurant you will be there brandishing a gun and taking their purse or wallet. What is going to happen when people stop buying things because they are afraid that it will be an invitation to a robbery? Business will suffer, the economy will suffer and then the suffering will end. It will be all over, finished. What will you do then? Steal from each other? Jump on a boat or plane and find somewhere new?

My Name is Lori Sklenka. I have lived here for 27 years. I am a flight attendant and you probably know me if you support our national airline. I have never hurt anyone. I have never been unkind or disrespectful to others. I say please and I always say thank you. I have lived in peace and always felt safe. I do not anymore. I am a victim of a home invasion. I always thought it could never happen to me until the night it did. All you law abiding citizens may feel the same way that it could never happen you ….but it will….

PS I want my bag of coins back. It took a long time to save them. It took a long time to count them over and over again until there was enough for a full bag. Funny I kind of enjoyed it I want them back you hear? They are -not yours. And when you bring them back to me don’t forget to include the jewellery you stole too!

Thank you, I know you can do it.

Lori Sklenka