EDITORIAL:  In pursuit of happiness

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Sometimes, we are shocked by the thoughtlessness of people.  It is amazing that some persons in our society could sink so low as to inflict harm on the more vulnerable or those who seek to selflessly assist persons in need. 
This shock turns into anger, especially when we hear of cases like the vandalism at the Red Cross compound on Old Parham road.  How can anyone prey on an organization like the Red Cross?  We highly doubt that there is anyone that does not know what the Red Cross does but just in case, here is a synopsis that accompanied the article that detailed the vandalism: “The Red Cross is a humanitarian agency which provides relief aid to residents in need such as food, clothes, beds and other basic necessities in instances of fire and natural disasters.”
That, however, is just one set of responsibilities that the Red Cross volunteers have adopted.  They also organize blood donations for the hospital, as well as health & safety courses for individuals and companies.  Basically, they are in the life saving business.  So it takes a pretty low individual to seek to do this fine institution any harm.
Some people may think that we are being too critical as we are unaware of the person’s situation and desperation.  Okay, but these are people who help desperate people in the best way that they can, so why not a knock on the door instead of breaking glass on vehicles parked on their property?
So that we all understand the gravity of the loss to the organization, we refer to the local president, Michael Joseph.  He told OBSERVER media that the string of vehicle break-ins on the compound had cost the organization more than $3,000 to fix broken vehicle windows.   And although the Red Cross could just turn their back on the victims of these acts of theft or vandalism, they have, instead, decided to bear the cost of repair.  Joseph stated, “At the end of the day it comes out of our pocket for every expense incurred while someone is on the property. Even though there are legal issues … we prefer to have goodwill with people in the community.”
To add insult to injury, the president said, “We have now had to spend another $7,000 to ramp up security to prevent further incidents.”  We can only imagine what good the Red Cross could do with $10,000 so it pains us to think that all that good will never happen because they have to pay for repairs and security.  The mere thought of it makes us angry.
Further, it is highly likely that those same individuals that are targeting the Red Cross could one day be victims of a natural disaster or be involved in an accident and end up relying on the assistance of the Red Cross.  Think of that for a moment.  The very organization that these people prey upon for selfish gain, is the same organization that they would hope would reach out an unselfish, helping hand in their time of need.  Ironic and tragic.
Total desperation aside, we categorize these selfish, low life criminals as bullies – preying on the venerable for their personal amusement or gain.  We truly hope that they are caught and the court provides justice that exhibits no sympathy.  More than that, we hope that they would just stop.  First, stop vandalizing the vehicles at the Red Cross compound and second, just stop doing that type of activity, period.  Become a productive member of society.  Maybe even make an attempt at restitution by volunteering at the Red Cross and helping people rather than making people’s lives difficult. 
What next on this criminal career path?  Vandalism and theft at churches? Maybe the hospitals or clinics?  Wait! Oh, yeah!  That’s already happening in our communities.  Sad, very sad.  How can someone steal from the hospital or clinic and then rely on good care from those institutions when they need it?  It boggles the mind.
We have made reference to the words of slave-turned-educator Booker T Washington before, but they are worth quoting again.  He famously observed, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”  Our advice to the vandals … become a happy person!
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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