N Touch
Thursday 18 April 2019
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Editorial

Breakdown of discipline

THOSE looking for evidence of the breakdown of discipline in our society can look no further than two matters which came to prominence on Wednesday: the shocking attack of a principal in a school and the equally shocking video footage of the assault and extortion of a young man by thugs.

Swift action must be taken to punish those behind the attack on Jeewan Ramdhanie on the premises of the SDMS Tunapuna Hindu Primary School. This was not only a brazen attack, but it was also a clearly premeditated one with the two assailants going as far as to invent a cover to slip past security measures. This brutality, done in the presence of children and parents, was not only an assault on Ramdhanie but an assault on the safety and sanctity of the entire education system. It must be condemned in the strongest manner.

Initial reports suggest two parents may have had a grievance with a decision taken. Whatever the background, the deliberate nature of this assault suggests an intention to both harm and intimidate. It is no better than the actions of thugs, gangsters or so-called “community leaders” who enforce illicit power through threats and violence.

We must push back strongly against this lawlessness.

The video footage of a young man on his knees being repeatedly hit and threatened falls along the same spectrum as the principal’s attack. It is a manifestation of where we have come, of a society where discipline has been replaced with gangsterism and racketeering. The same impulses to harm and to violate lay behind both incidents.

Law enforcement authorities should thoroughly investigate the provenance of this video as well as disrupt the conditions that have allowed gangs and fear of gangs to thrive.

While it is important to study and debate the factors which have led to the rise of this type of criminality – including the factors that have glamourised thug life among males – the ultimate focus must be on addressing the fear created by the activities or reported activities of these entities.

If the video has done anything, it has shone a light on techniques that are possibly being used to indoctrinate the vulnerable into what amounts to a modern-day system of slavery. Exposure is, hopefully, part of the cure.

But it has to be asked: what is really behind such loutish behaviour? What makes people feel they are entitled to harm the young or to hurt others they may disagree with? Do we not all appreciate the value of human life, the dangers of retribution, how it can make life intolerable? Gang activity has been linked to the spiralling crime rate for almost two decades now. Why has the State struggled for so long to eliminate it?

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