Letters to the Editor: Work together to stop crime

If it is correct that it is not the
absolute levels of poverty alone but the differences between people that
contribute to crime, then policing alone or even a Gun Court will not reduce
criminal activities in our urban communities.  Those of us out here recognise
now much more than ever, competition between individuals in these communities
has increased, with a comparative escalation in the instances of individual and
group violence.

Sadly the new gun culture exists
partly as a way of enhancing the egos and prestige of young men and women in
these communities who are trying to fulfil their very high expectations in what
has become a two-tier society; where the divisions between different urban
communities have created a high degree of mistrust that has been allowed to
persist in spite of studies pinpointing the negative potential of such a state
of affairs.  This is why any degree of managed social and cultural interaction
between the different groups in these communities could help to reduce
incidences of violence.

If the managers of our social
policies are so sure that gang related violence and retaliations are partly to
blame for some of the violence; then why are they not helping to organise
community activities that would give peace a chance? Or are we too proud or
still so much in denial that we cannot find and use some of these youth leaders
to support and organise “happening” or cultural celebrations, which could bring
them together for a few hours at a time.   I do not care to say again
certain things I have been saying, but regardless of what our political and
religious leaders believe, these boys and girls know that they cannot continue
with such high levels of destruction and many would like to learn how to stop.

It is impossible for me to believe
that I am the only person that knows that there are some in prison and outside,
who need to be enlisted if we are to be successful in reducing the levels of
senseless violence. And we must offer some of these “gangsters”  at least
a bone, because like any human being involved in war they know that warring
does not always pay and history teaches us that even in the most combatant of
times violence can be reduced if peace makers are willing to have faith in the
goodness of all human beings.

We need to accept that “gangsters”
have girlfriends, mothers, daughters; they have families and they are real
people who have been forced into believing that they can improve their lot and
protect those they love by dealing in criminal behaviour. Are they all as
illiterate and evil as not to desire peace and safety at least for their
families?  Or am I the only person with a voice that can see some good in
these individuals? Do the authorities really think these criminals will kill
out each other and that new “leaders” will not emerge to take their places,
thereby continuing the street battles and instances of crime?  

I pray it is not as I have often
been told on the streets; that they are doing the police a favour when they
“take out” each other’s “soldiers”.   Is our society so two-tier that
those of us better off having no feelings for those at the bottom. These hard
economic times create even greater competition among the “gangs” and force
others into their ranks, so do not think there will be a solution resulting
from police action alone. And we, and I mean all of us with a heart and some
resources, must now join in the struggle to win back our communities and our
youth.

For as long as time has existed
youth in all parts of the world have demonstrated a need to question and
perhaps even depart from the world view of their parents but they have only
been lost when we cannot or would not provide them with a view of themselves that
is needed to have constructive relationships with us and each other.  

We in Cayman know too well that
social breakdown has been happening for as long as we care to remember, but at
no stage have we ever thought it was important enough for us to risk or give up
something to achieve a better social environment. What we could give up now is
the feeling that these problems could really be successfully addressed without
us assisting the police in more ways than providing them with information.

We need to play or part and not
just rely on their “guns and ammunitions”, because this only tells that we are
the cause not the solution to the violence that threatens all of us in one way
or another. These type of conflicts we are experiencing are more intense in a
small environment like ours than in places that are larger; because of the almost
impossibility for these young people to avoid bucking up in each other at one
time or another. Therefore let the powers that be give peace a chance by way of
outreach actions directed at involving those youngsters mistrustful of each other
and thereby give their generation a possibility to see another generation.
 

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