Editorial for September 23: A disturbing idea

There has been a disturbing idea,
if idea it may be called, floating around the Islands during the ongoing debate
surrounding crime.

The thought is not always expressed
openly, but we’re starting to hear it more often. It goes something like this:
If people don’t have a job, they will, by the very course of necessity, be
forced to steal, rob and kill to support themselves and their families. It is
only to be expected if people do not receive that to which they are entitled.

We realise there are a significant
number of people in the community who hold this view.

At the risk of offending said
people, this view is utter nonsense. It is, in fact, one of the main obstacles
to tackling the crime problem in this country.

According to this view, a burglar
or robber could appear in court and argue “Gee, I just didn’t have a choice you
see, because I had no job. Therefore, it is my civic duty to go out and rip
other people off for a living”.

The judge then goes on to say,
“Sure, Mr. Burglar, it’s no problem. We understand times are hard and that
there are people out there with a lot more money than you. They can spare a
little bit of it. And if you have to beat it out of them or their families,
well, that’s just how life goes sometimes, isn’t it?”

Can anyone out there honestly say
that a society where this hypothetical situation occurs is one in which they
would wish to live?

Crime is a complex issue. We live
in a different world today where opportunities are often seen to be shrinking,
not expanding; where the gap between the haves and have nots has grown wider.

But in no way should any of these
complexities detract from the fact that the fault for crime lies first and
foremost with the criminal who commits the act.