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The Fight Against Crime

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


President Obama was correct when he wrote that statement and it is relevant now. In the chapter on faith, he seeks to provide a critical sense of balance. When he declared that “government programmes alone may not be able to repair,” he is referring to the need for spiritual transformation. Yes, the fight against crime requires a multi-faceted approach; consistent, comprehensive and collaborative. Those who ignore the role of religion and values will end up with a plan that promises much but delivers little. The fight against crime in a plural society presents many challenges, but it offers wonderful opportunities. Opportunities whereby we sit around the table and hammer out strategies. Opportunities where the Hindu, Muslim and Christian leaders could engage in a dialogue where unconditional love is displayed and dominates the discussion. The golden rule must not be mere rhetoric, but it must be practised with missionary zeal.

We must be concerned when communities relax when there is violation of sacred space, disrespect for human dignity, uncontrolled violence, indiscipline in the family and a loss of self-respect. Obama makes a potent analysis about the root of our problems. He states, “After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect 10-point plan. They are also rooted in societal indifference and individual callousness.” Faith-based organisations should not be controlled and imprisoned by the criticism of the liberals who push their permissive doctrines. We have a role to play and we must accept the perspective, that we have not always played this role with diligence and dedication. Sometimes we have missed the boat. Sometimes we have allowed our youth to enter the valley of the shadow of death, without making the strenuous effort that is required to educate and save them.

We have heard about the action generation, the hi-tech generation, the depressed generation, the violent generation. But what about the lonely generation, the disconnected generation? What about the abused generation? Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs is being asked for a plan. But I do not believe that we are failing the fight against crime because we do not have a plan, or because there is a bankruptcy of ideas. We cannot blame Mr Gibbs for our insensitivity and irresponsibility. We cannot blame him for the high level of indiscipline in our society. Commissioner Gibbs deserves our support and not our criticism. Of course, he must be willing to learn from those who are genuine and even those who are not so genuine. The murder rate will not decrease substantially through a “make a wish campaign.” How many of our young prisoners have enjoyed a relationship with their fathers? How many of those fathers visit their sons on a consistent basis? This issue of father- hood cannot be ignored. Even in religious groups, we are seeing the collapse of marriages, some do not last for five years. Sometimes there is the abusive father who is an alcoholic.

Sometimes you have the mother who is a poor role model. The children are caught in the crossfire and they may confide in an adult in the church or community who may exploit them, thus compounding the tragedy. Think of the very drunk father beating his wife mercilessly, and then telling his son when he wakes up after his wasted binge that he should stop smoking marijuana. He warns the son that he will not tolerate such behaviour and he is going to give him one more chance. But the son has been tolerating the behaviour of the father for several years. Who will help that boy who is psychologically and emotionally hurt? Remember hurt people hurt people. Recently, I witnessed a situation where the mother of a very young girl was overexposing her daughter to the stepfather. She and the child’s father have very little communication, so the stepfather is playing a major role. But the child is confused. Even older children will be confused. Supposing the stepfather has a poisoned agenda, then that child will be endangered. The child may very well ask, “Are relationships supposed to last?” I read a letter in Josh Mc Dowell’s book, The Disconnected Generation. It speaks to the search for love and security by some youth, particularly girls.

Examine her crisis: Dear Josh,

I watch your show every time I can. Thank you so much for just caring. The other night you said that most kids don’t want to have sex, they just want someone to care. That is so true! I have almost fallen into the “sex trap” because I just wanted a man to love me. Do not only hear the implicit cries, but feel her pain. In this short letter, there is so much regret, so much loneliness. And yet, there is a quest for something better. There is no denial, just a scream for help. Who will hear that scream? Mc Dowell claims that this is an affection-starved generation. He quotes from another girl who “is searching for love,” her daddy’s love, and may go on to lose her virginity. Listen, a society that has crippled anchors, distorted values, the inability to promote spiritual principles is destined to fail. Are we convinced that something is wrong in our homes when there is no time for prayer?

Are we surprised that there is so much selfishness and greed in the family? Are we shocked when this is played out in the community? I agree that we must have zero tolerance for indiscipline in the schools and the teachers must dish out tough love. But what about zero tolerance for indiscipline in our homes, in our churches? We must have been foolish to think that disrespect in the home would not produce savages in society. Listen, it takes a village to raise a child. But who is in the village? Where are the power centres? Who are allowed to be the role models? Where have all the fathers gone? Young people have real issues. Some children know that their dads are drug dealers, so they wish to go on a hunger strike. Their consciences are alive and kicking, but they have a sense of being trapped. It is that conscience that must be addressed and empowered. Tough love is needed.


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