IT’S THE most wonderful time of the year, to quote the popular Christmas song, with the children jingle-belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer.
Yet several disturbing developments have forced many, including the Prime Minister, once more to take stock of our society and the challenges we face as we head into 2019.
Murders have crossed the 500 mark, the drug trade shows little sign of abating, child abuse remains rampant, and hundreds are on the breadline as the economy enters another delicate phase.
These are all matters that require urgent attention. But the crime situation is the most alarming of them all and must be the highest item on the national agenda.
Asked on Saturday about his Christmas wish for the nation, Dr Rowley said, “That we improve our safety and security. That the security services bring a sense of comfort.” These are sentiments we share and endorse.
With regard to the murder rate, we welcome the strong signal sent by Dr Rowley. The Prime Minister indicated the Government intends to aggressively deal with the availability of guns used to commit murders and other violent crimes.
Such a move is essential if we are to take back control. According to the latest US Department of State’s crime and safety report for this country, almost 76 per cent of the murders committed last year were committed by firearms. This is despite the seizure of a record 1,064 firearms last year.
But we cannot pin all our hopes on stemming the flow of guns. Indeed, it is likely people who are dead set on committing murder might simply find other tools to carry out their misdeeds. No, the problem is deeper.
It is a question of the mindset of the actor who holds the gun; of the person who believes a human life is insignificant. The Prime Minister has a point when he laments the prevalence of violence in our society.
“We have too many people who believe that violence is an acceptable way of life,” Dr Rowley said. “The conversation has to be from the homes to the schools to the churches to the streets. We just have to take down this view that violence is an acceptable way of life.”
Violence is too often seen as a way of solving problems. We see it in our homes, on our roads, and even on our television screens.
There needs to be a meaningful conversation about this, informed by data and research which can shed light on possible causes of this social breakdown.
Coming to grips with the high rates of domestic violence, as well as violence against children, might be a good place to start. This Christmas season is a good time to reflect on all of this.