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Addressing the crime problem

THE EDITOR: No one seems to be speaking the truth about crime! From the top there is, for instance, the mixing up of 'minimum wage' for 'just wage'. The two are not the same. Any economic decision made in the context of capitalism can hardly arrive at the 'just line'. When a system has such an extremely wide disparity in economic wealth distribution, crime is bound to surface. In this country very few people receive thirty thousand dollars and over in salaries, plus extremely large allowances and substantial benefits. And when they whisper, "we need an increase" they get it. On the other hand extremely large numbers of citizens are given below one thousand dollars, if so much, without benefits and allowances that are enjoyed by the wealthy few. They bawl louder and more persistently for increases, even more persistent than the persistent woman in the Bible (Luke 18:1-8), yet their plight goes unheard, un-addressed.

Those who work hard and are driven to the brink of the grave because they do not receive just wages for their labour and just working time, depending on their level of guts, patience, contentment, fear and blindness all mixed together with much more, may tend to find ways of getting their just dues. The ways chosen vary in intensity. For instance, one may choose to steal office supplies (even if it is one staple or paper) or rub their employers wholesale. Some join pawn arrangement for their employers or other economic controllers as a way of meeting the demands they were lured into by materialism, the breadbasket of capitalism.

Some Early Roman Catholic Church Theologians wrote and I quote: St. Augustine, "The superfluities of the rich are the necessaries of the poor.p12"; St. Ambrose, "You do not give to the poor person of your own, but of his or hers. That which was given for the common use of all, you have usurped for yourself...p14"; and lastly St Gregory the Great, "When we give necessaries to the needy we do not bestow upon them our goods; we return to them their own; we pay a debt of justice rather than fulfill a work of mercy. p16"[1] In other words one can deduce that, the luxuries the rich enjoy belong to the poor in so far as they are employed by the rich who underpay and overwork them. Wow, I wonder if the Church were to brave living the Gospel like Christ, if that would not start a trend of Practical Justice as opposed to reciting "Words" ritually.

If a survey were to be taken one might realize that a high percentage of economic and political controllers were schooled by the Church and many are still very much "ritual" Catholics, to be fair, 'religious' in the broad sense of the word. They are powerful employers in this country and the world. Their response to politics and economics goes against what they were taught.

St. Clement of Alexandria wrote, "I know that God has given us the use of goods, but only as far as is necessary; and God has determined that the use be common. It is absurd and disgraceful for one to live magnificently and luxuriously when so many are hungry." I propose that if capitalism is the only social structure which allows for human freedom and private property that at least great efforts be made to incorporate some of the positive and live giving social elements of the other social structures. It is time to stop viewing these social structures as all bad and evil. They are so labeled only because they do not protect the interest of the elite few but of everyone. It is time to glean from them the good and incorporate these into capitalism. One such life giving element that can be incorporated is, economic equity, so that all may benefit justly from the goods of the earth.

So where do we start (as a society, as a world) to clean up the country and the world of crime? From the 'Top'! What takes place now is simply cosmetic and furthermore harassment of the 'pawns', and sometimes pacification with worthless trinkets. The capitalist system's rule is, "if you don't have, get it somehow and if you have, do everything in your power to get more as a means of protecting what you already have.' The top has to decide to work hard, even within a capitalist system, towards economic equity. Each economic and political house has to be cleaned from the roof down. Can the 'small person' bring in shipments of drugs and guns? Can they keep in their two by two rooms-for-houses large quantity of loot (the guns, money, cars and much more)?

The small money the poor passes from hand to hand and kill each other for can hardly begin to tip the scales of what the rich is weighing out against them. How does a society stand up bravely and truly face and clean up injustice. This is one time when it has to start from the top! If not, all is just a comedy that will never end, no wonder Christ is quoted as saying that the poor will be with us always (John 12:1-8). All of us are too insecure to start the cleaning process from the top of each of us and from the top of the society. Yes this was written while looking at the movie 'Hoodlum'. We are still a very young society yet the rage and anger overwhelms its very core. We are a Hoodlum Society from the top down with selfish ulterior motives to steal for the self although the genesis of our humanitarian effort admirable let us as a society return to the plan of the divine that is to serve the common good of all of humanity.

Michael Francis Grandison
Mt. Dor

Trinidad and Tobago News

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