Editorial: As complacency sets in

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There was a time, not so long ago, where a murder was BIG news in our nation. Masked gunmen terrorizing citizens? Essentially unheard of back in the day. Today, they almost seem to be taken for granted, as if they are now an accepted part of our everyday life. What happened? When did we allow this complacency to slip into our society?
These, and others, are questions that we really hope will get our readers and listeners to chime-in because we are a bit dumbfounded that violent murders and gun-related crimes barely get much more than a “meh” from the public. Gone are the days when a gangland-style shooting would have been the talk of the town for days or weeks. These types of criminal activities were considered so perverse that people would have been offended that it could happen in their bit of paradise.  
We can remember a time when the powers that be shared the concerns of citizens and did not write-off the seriousness of the crimes categorising them as drug- or gang-related. Maybe it is because, back then, drug and gang related crime were also considered ‘big things’ and not treated like they occurred in a secret, underground society that operated separate and apart from our neighbourhoods.  
Today, however, is a different day, and it would appear that we have all become a bit (or maybe a lot) more desensitised to crime – especially violent crime. What happened to our sensitivities on this journey to today? Was there just too much happening that it caused us to build up a tolerance to the bad news? Or was there just too much happening in other parts of our lives that crime was only important if we, or loved ones, were directly involved.
As crazy and ironic as it sounds, it seems as though we have lulled ourselves into a false sense of security believing that the violent crimes happened to others and not to us. The implied message being, “Don’t worry. If you are not involved in gangs or crime, then you are safe.” That suggestion is, of course, a fallacy, and no one should take their safety for granted. As we have said before, bullets have no conscience and when they miss their intended target, they just keep going until they strike another.
Probably most importantly, what about our youth? Why do they deem gangs and crime to be viable career opportunities? Surely there is something more that we can be doing to dissuade our young people from a life of crime?   
The thing about crime is that it is about as non-political as it gets. Generally, criminals do not care if you wear red, blue, orange, green or tie-dye. They only care about the colour of the money in your pocket or the valuables that you may have. The bad thing about the fight against crime is that it is about as political as a topic can
get.  
Every party in opposition points to crime as an issue and makes grand promises to address and arrest the situation when they are voted into power. Then, like a broken record, nothing gets done, and the next election sees the politicians singing the same tune. And who suffers? The public.
How long have we heard politicians say that they understand and make all the right promises to secure votes? How long have you heard the promise of more law enforcement resources? How about the promises of a new prison or the improvement to our judicial system? They all make them, so why can’t they keep them? Why can’t we just get some bipartisan support for tackling crime? We need to force our politicians to take a break from the Kool-Aid and work together to come up with a plan.
A quick recap of the last few days would have been enough to send the country into shock just a few years ago. Within the span of a few short days, we had masked gunmen robbing a tour operator, then masked gunmen striking again at Ding’s Supermarket, and most recently, a man was gunned down in Pigotts. Today, we hope that the recap is enough to spur all of our politicians, elected or in-waiting, to knock their heads together to advance the fight against crime. With the help and support of the public, we can push this criminal scourge back into the sea and banish it from wherever it came (speaking metaphorically, of course!).
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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