Editorial: A need for a counterbalance

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The discovery of another apparent murder victim has caused a wave of fear and discomfort to sweep across St. John’s.  In a very short period of time, two men have been found dead with their hands and feet bound.  The first was Carlton “Pum Pum,” Charles,’ whose body was found in an abandoned house on upper North Street, in an advanced stage of decomposition.  The most recent was Samuel Emmanuel, also know as “J.B.” or “Serj”, whose body was discovered at the back of a welding shop on Bishopgate Street.  This situation is extremely disturbing!  
Most people are asking the same question:  why?  None of these men were known to be violent or considered a threat to the public. Yet, they met their untimely deaths in extremely violent ways.  What could possibly be the motive?  The additional fact that both these gentlemen were indigent has led people to question whether their deaths were related. Fear always causes people to seek and formulate answers, especially when there is no calming force to counteract the anxiety. 
That counteracting force usually comes from the police but for some reason, the police have been relatively quiet recently, with some saying, too quiet.  There are those who point to the recent shake-up  and suspensions as reasons for the silence; others say that the response is normal and expected. However, none of that makes any difference.  In instances like this, where the public is scared, the police must step-up and deliver on the expectations that they are there to protect and serve.   Regardless of whether they have leads in the cases or not, they need to demonstrate to the people that they are actively pursuing the cases and, at the same time, taking whatever steps are necessary to protect the citizenry.
It may seem like a cliche played out on television when we see a police chief step to a podium flooded with bright lights and address the people but it is a cliche for a reason.  Without the knowledge that there is understanding and empathy in the force, from the top down, people will discard their trust in the police and might begin to think about how they can take matters into their own hands to safeguard their families and communities.  This is not a road that we want to traverse, as it can quickly lead to a level of lawlessness that is difficult to rein in.
We have every confidence that the police are doing their best as they continue their investigations into these apparent homicides but the people need to know that they are also doing their best to secure the streets and ensure public safety.  This is where the public relations machinery needs to be engaged.  We are not asking the police to reveal any details of their case, rather, we are asking that they come to the people and inform them of what they are doing to ensure that there is no news of an additional bound body being found in the future.  
Already, the events are having a disruptive effect on the communities, with many people openly indicating that they are scared and some saying that they are moving until the cases are solved.  In a word, people are feeling ‘vulnerable.’  The normal feeling of safety which is evoked by living in our bit of paradise has been erased to a large extent and it has been replaced with fear.  It is up to our police to ease that fear and return the tranquility that we all desire and expect in our day-to-day lives.
Some people may interpret our comments as criticism of the force during a challenging period but that is far from the truth.  Our intention is to assist the police and help alleviate the fears
in society that are building up in the wake of the recent discoveries.   And, as we constantly say, helping the police is helping ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.

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