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Chickens coming home to roost
Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2005

By Linda Edwards

For more than twenty years, we have fed our nation's children a mindless series of violent events via movies, video games and news of war and destruction. The society has created glorified mayhem as entertainment, and "action figures" who once roamed the video games and movies now roam the streets. The killing has become real. Surprised? We should not be.

The sexual predator arrested for the murder, in South, of the caretaker, who confessed to another, and was also accused of stalking other woman, seems straight out of Law And Order, the TV series. It is also reminiscent of three child abductions, rape and murders in Florida. TV is a deadly teacher to the aimless and criminal mind, the copycat mind.

The pictures of the cops in Port-of-Spain seem like action figures out of some Robocop movie. How do they cope with those uniforms in all that heat? More and more, we emulate the violence- gang wars, gang rape, sexual predation, child sex-slavery of the confused metropolitan society to the north of us, from which the violent movies, the robotic police uniforms, and all the other problems seem to be imported outright. We also- the newspapers- focus on tabloid headlines, the gorier the better, with close-ups of fainting relatives and so on.

Drama to out-drama the dramatic footage we also import, that fills the nightly news.

Time out please. We need to rethink who we are, where are we going, and how we plan to get there.

The writer to one paper who said "attack the minds of the youth" was heading in the right direction, but the word attack would repel many people. We learn from wars that they only create more wars. They do not solve conflicts. Life is not a war zone.

We need a massive re-education programme for the entire nation. We could use all our oil money to purchase arms from the big gun manufacturers- the US, China, Israel, and that will not help. The more guns the police get, the more the criminals get. The only ones profiting are the gun dealers.

Do young men with meaningful jobs have time for gunplay at high noon in the city under the sun? When did it become better to die a violent young death, and have friends avenge that death, leading to more death than to live to "a ripe old age"? When did this become something to aspire to?

One simple act could have prevented that gang war in the middle of the city. The practice of people having to line up to get paid, creates problems. If each person registered as a national of Trinidad and Tobago has a National ID card, then that card could allow them to access their paychecks at the bank- any designated bank the government chooses to use. When the person is registered to work, all the papers are filed immediately, and the person gets paid two weeks from that day, at the bank he/she chooses. The field supervisors must be made responsible for accurately documenting work done. There can be no ghosts on the payrolls as a photo could be taken of everyone picking up a payment. These photos will not be used for police purposes, but only in cases of work fraud.

The time for large rival groups gathering in a small place is over, or should have been a long time ago. I cannot think of a single case where such situations have not led to trouble.

Unless of course, the mayhem and fear created is designed to sell more guns to a terrified population, I cannot see why it would continue to be done that way.

Rival gangs have always fought. Remember the play Romeo and Juliet? Remember the gang rampaging through the streets after the death of Ceasar in Julius Ceasar?

So where has human nature changed? The choice of weapons, and the intensity of the mindless violence has changed, that is all. The street boys of TnT no longer call themselves Big John and Alligator Teeth. They no longer identify with Jack Palance or Billy The Kid. Now that they can get their hands on real guns, they identify with the video and TV and gang characters from America and Japan who are for more murderous than the old Wild West characters, who waste entire communities just for looking at them the wrong way

Soon they will start on murdering their parents and grandparents. That too is part of the "new" US trend. Last week a nine year old shot his mother, then committed suicide. Nine? He might have been imitating the eleven year old who killed both his grandparents and blamed it on medication he was taking.

We have to spend some serious time acknowledging that our nation has gone astray. We have not been mindful of the things on which our minds and spirits feed, and we have been feeding on garbage.

All is not lost.

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