Editorial: All lives matter

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The above was the watchword on the streets of some of the major cities in America, some two years ago. Of course, ALL LIVES MATTER was an extension of BLACK LIVES MATTER, a radical movement born in places like Ferguson, Missouri, in response to the seemingly nonchalant and trigger-happy manner in which black men were choked, or had a spine broken, or were otherwise gunned down by police officers. To many persons of goodwill and human decency, it appeared as though the lives of these black men did not matter. After all, their lives were being snuffed out on the flimsiest of claims by police officers, who were more often than not, acquitted by juries that did not seem to give a damn.
Not surprisingly, in the immediate aftermath of the untimely death of a black man at the hands of American law enforcement, the authorities would find it expedient to dig up as much dirt as they could find on the poor fellow and trot out his rap sheet, and publicise it to the world. This was a racist attempt to somehow justify the killing. And the commentariat in support of the extrajudicial killing would breathlessly bloviate – “The deceased black man was a ‘good-for-nothing’ bum!” “He was a predator with a litany of crimes a mile long!” “A choir boy, he was not!” “He was not a productive member of society. Good riddance!” Say what?
And so it went . . . Black men killed like common mongrels in the street! And nothing for it, because they are black, and because they may have strayed into a life of crime. Never mind that many of the black men who were killed by the skittish or racist cops were often not armed and often not guilty of the offence for which they were being pursued! Indeed, their only crime was that of being black. Good grief! Excuse us for living! Needless to say, the outraged citizenry soon took to the streets of America to proclaim that BLACK LIVES MATTER!
 
Naturally, if black lives matter, so too do white lives. Indeed, all lives. The colour of one’s skin is inconsequential! At least, it ought to be! We are our brothers’ keepers! And as John Donne, whom we are quite fond of quoting in these pages, so poignantly puts it, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” It matters not the circumstances of one’s life, or the sad details surrounding one’s death, our lives are all precious in the sight of God, and they should be precious in the eyes of us all.
Having said that, it was with a great deal of dismay that we listened to the good PM as he flippantly dismissed most of the killings in our fair land thusly, “In the area of crime and violence, it is true that this year has been an outlier in terms of the amount of homicides. I have to admit that every single life is important, even the life of a vagrant, or the lives of those young people who, unfortunately, have been involved in the narcotics trade. But what we have seen though, is that at least half of these homicides would have been homicides from youngsters involved in the narcotics trade who were involved in a turf war and you also have a situation too, in which a deranged person, I am told, who is presently in custody would have taken out a few. Crime and violence remain relatively low in this country compared to other countries in the Caribbean, and in any event, . . . the homicides have been actually within a very small cadre of the community, and it is not the wider community that was targetted.
And the people should understand that they are living in a very safe environment that Antiguans and Barbudans still consider to be one of the safest countries in the world.”  Hmmm! We are still shaking our heads at this callous disregard for human life, never mind his initial admission that, “Every single life is important, even the life of a vagrant.”
Meanwhile, if as the saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness,” then we are forced to wonder who is imitating whom. Permit us to explain. A few weeks ago, in response to an outcry from an outraged citizenry over the spike in gun violence and homicides, our good AG voiced sentiments eerily similar to the PM’s aforementioned utterances. Indeed, he too had casually suggested that we should not worry about crime if we are not involved in crime; it is lowlifes, drug dealers and other criminals (not his exact words) that are the victims of crime. Again, we are shaking our heads at this weak and feckless attempt to allay the legitimate fears of the citizenry, at the expense of those whose lives took an unfortunate and tragic turn.
And so it goes . . . Mr. and Mrs. Big Shot! Their lives matter! Mr. Joe Ordinary? The loss of his life is no big deal . . . 
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions. 

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