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Saturday 18 August 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Downwards towards survival of the fittest

THE EDITOR: “Hell at home: Police warn of increase in violent house invasions.” This is the screaming headline in a newspaper of May 3. It sounds so routine as if it were just another face of the many faces of criminal behaviour in this country.

Just as there is the stigma of being a narco state where narcotics is the be-all and end-all of everything, so too we can now be stigmatised as a “crime state,” for crime here, at every level of society, seems almost normative, the next thing to expect, hence the seeming sense of normalcy for the headline.

On the same wavelength, it is unnecessary to itemise what I would describe as “criminality as applicable to the person or to property” for such knowledge is so commonplace.

However, it would be instructive to go into covert forms of, again, what I would call “white-collar criminality,” which often greets you with a soppy smile and a herring-bone suit to distract you from what lies beneath (pun intended):

Like politicians who mouth caring for you when they only care for themselves, or financial institutions which use your money but give you a penny in return, or teachers willing to sacrifice students for their own gain, or those who should protect and serve violating or are indifferent to their calling, or those who make a mockery of the Hippocratic oath by exploiting the poor and defenceless, or those who use the law, not for justice but for their own private gain.

I have chosen the above to demonstrate that above all the looting and the killing and the raping and now the home invasions associated with the “ordinary” criminal, these should reflect that sense of conscience that the nobility of these professions should inspire in the practitioners. But alas, it seems not.

The debasement that is often associated with low-level crime which would have resulted from instinct and greed, inter alia, often bereft of rationality or conscience, is the same kind of debasement, and even worse, that these white-collar criminals are guilty of, for these professionals should be better endowed psychologically, inclusive of an intellectual, moral and ethical standpoint, to avoid the kind of abuse that the references above illustrate.

But maybe the latter values have no place in a society where greed and power conquer every civilised ethic that continuing socialisation should bring, and in a sense we are evolving downwards into the Darwinian phenomenon of “survival of the fittest.”

What else can I say if the home, which is “where the heart is,” your sanctuary, you life’s dream, which all conscience should protect, is now in danger of “violent invasion.”

Couldn’t the headline have been about the way the protective services plan to protect the people who are now being targeted? Heaven help us all.

DR ERROL BENJAMIN

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