Just how low can an individual sink? To that primordial question, some local criminals have provided an ugly answer. (Hint: Paramecia exhibit more evolved behavior.)
As if Tuesday’s three armed robberies – of two Esso stations and Mr. Arthur’s iconic waterfront store – weren’t evidence enough, the burglaries of George Town Primary School and the office of Cayman Islands Meals on Wheels prove there truly is no honor among thieves.
Mr. Arthur’s 80-year-old proprietor Arthurlyn Scott told a Cayman Compass reporter the store has been robbed and burgled so many times over the years that she is getting used to it. That’s a shameful way for a well-established and well-loved business owner to be treated.
Perhaps even more shameful is the damage inflicted upon George Town Primary School, where burglars entered, broke down a kitchen door and made off with a safe containing food tickets and money. The safe and its contents may have been recovered, but it will take a long time for the school community to recover their sense of security and faith in their fellow man.
And then there’s Meals on Wheels. What kind of person would destroy property and steal money from a volunteer program that feeds more than 215 needy elderly people every day, interrupting the charity’s delivery of hot meals to seniors in the wake of the crime? Don’t these crooks have any heart, or conscience, at all? Don’t they have grandparents? Would they steal food from their own Grandma, too?
As the charity’s director Beulah McField told the Compass, if the thieves had truly been needy, they had only to walk in the front door and say so. Meals on Wheels would have been happy to help.
In response to such despicable acts, we have no words (… almost).
Some might try to excuse the miscreants’ behavior as being due to drug addiction or unemployment, but most people living in even the toughest of circumstances make do without preying on innocent children, needy seniors and hardworking neighbors. No, whatever evil, selfish or unthinking impulse would drive someone to commit such acts has little to do with inebriation or need. It is a violation of public trust and social order that goes far beyond the definition of “property crime.”
Anyone who harbors a criminal from justice shares culpability for the crime. Whoever “knows” who stole from Meals on Wheels, but who doesn’t “speak up,” is also guilty of depriving Grandma.
Sadly, these most recent attacks on benevolent organizations are not the first Cayman has seen and suffered. Over the years, burglars and thugs have targeted school buildings, churches and charitable groups – stealing computers, electronics or a little cash, and leaving behind broken glass and shattered illusions. We’ll say it again: Despicable.
One consolation is that there are so many more people in our community who are driven to give instead of take. We remember well the spontaneous outpouring of support for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society just a few years ago, after some lowlifes stole hundreds of dollars raised by selling Christmas cards created by children, and intended to help people ill with cancer. (How low, indeed?) Once word spread about that theft, donations flooded in, making up for the loss many times over. We urge and expect the community to rally around the organizations recently victimized by crime, too.
We can do our part to reinforce the idea that Cayman is a strong community, filled with generous people who care.
The police, meanwhile, have their own parts to play – identifying, locating and arresting – so that these cold-blooded criminals, and their abettors, are swiftly brought to justice before judges and juries.