This commentary primarily speaks to Man’s inhumanity, individually to himself and collectively as a Society.” It focuses on “…Violence”- physically (actual) and psychologically (mentally) perpetrated against man, property and his environment.
Throughout the turmoil of history, mankind had been known to be the most “…vicious; …destructive and VIOLENT” creature ever existed." Except for a few species protecting their young or themselves "...no animals killed for spite" [Sir Mac Lean Emmanuel].. The phenomenal infliction of Violence on mankind dates back to biblical times. Evidence of which was revealed through the Scriptures that GOD had favored one of two brothers, as in His eyes, had done “…RIGHT.” He had made him prospered. The teachings further revealed that the favored brother was lured to a field where through jealousy and anger “…Cain killed Abel” [Genesis 4: 8].
That was an unforgiveable sin, thereby incurring the “…Wrath of GOD. This was inflicted as punishment through a curse for spilling his brother’s blood. In today’s societies the occasioning of such killing had been declared a “…felonious act;” classified as-Murder/Manslaughter and deemed a “…Crime of Violence.” Man, with an unpredictable nature, continues to perpetrate this crime with impunity, brutally and senselessly. There were still other forms of violence that may not be necessarily associated with criminality.
SOCIALLY ACCEPTED VIOLENCE
Modern civilization appeared not to have changed the behavioral pattern significantly for the better of mankind. Such civilization had brought about various forms of violence. Adding to man’s daily plight and painful troubles, had been the advent of “…Medical Science.” There had been many “…medical experimentations” on both man and animals. Eventually man had been lured into making “…frighteningly risky health decisions” at his own peril. Thus, with a consciousness and perhaps, feelings of “…an inferiority complex; …an ego propelled by affluence, through a universal and seemingly socially accepted medical procedure, Plastic Surgeons, described as “…Elective Surgery,” man had endured “…bodily violence.” The amount being spent for these procedures was suggestive of “…SOCCIAL VIOLENCE” to indigent peoples across the globe, particularly those of the almost forgotten earthquake-ravished Caribbean nation of HAITI.
Evidence had shown that even when life was not endangered and/or physical conditions were not life threatening, modern man had subjected his body to “…Surgical Violence.” Invariably, such violence was inflicted upon “…his face; …abdomen; …chest and buttock,” intended at improving his look. Other instances suggested that those seemingly at variance with their physique masculinity and femininity, had embarked on transformation of “…anatomical parts” to be what GOD never intended. These procedures, however, came with exorbitant fees, excruciating pains, misery and shame.
Thus, man, through the medically approved procedure called “…Elective Surgery,” had risked “…shaping his nose to fit his face.” Evidence of this may have been seen through the self-induced “…surgical experimentations” performed on the face of international pop star, Michael Jackson. He was eventually left in anguish with a “…ghost-like feature” embarrassingly hidden under a sterilized mask. Seemingly bothered by “…inferiority complex and a desire in improving facial expressions and/or refined features, the pop star had sanctioned irreparable “…grievous bodily harm” to himself. Had he not been showered with affluence, in any community, under the cover of darkness, he may have been reasonably suspected and likened to the criminal element of society that seemed elusive to Law enforcement, as they continue to terrorize unarmed law abiding citizens.
BATTERED BRUISED BLOODIED
Conversely, as a means of livelihood, man had agreed to engage in brutal gloved-fist fights as they entertained others. Sanctioned by International Boxing Organizations, in arenas across the globe, man had battered each other like rams. Following the brutal bouts, many had ended up in medical facilities “…battered, bruised and bloodied.” The recent experiences of youthful middleweight boxer JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR was testament to such “…self-induced violence.” Then there were still others seemingly due to “…life’s difficult challenges and frustration,” had unfortunately, but calculatedly inflicted violence upon themselves. Some ending their personal miseries through “…improvised gallows,” others by ingesting dangerous substances and/or chemicals. For some of mankind, even in different circumstances, it all ended how it began.
Thus, with varying degree of extremity, man had been known to have inflicted “…UNSPEAKABLE VIOLENCE” upon his fellowmen-loved ones, friends and enemies, as much as he had done Violence to property- “…private and public.” Thus, equally as much as man had been known to have destroyed the environment and his “…surroundings, so too have they been constantly preparing to exact further destruction upon “…edifices left to posterity. Hence, irrespective of historical value or significance, man’s propensity of destruction, has caused pains equating to a surgery performed without anesthesia.
Some infrastructural destruction rationally and necessarily needed adjustments to satisfy “…Societal Modernization.” It may be naïve and ludicrous to think otherwise. There had been many cases on point regarding the destructive violence to edifices that had clearly outlived their usefulness, but still has historical value to conservationists. Some seemingly “…intellectually-brainwashed” Corporate Managers had made it clear that they shared no such “…historical sentiments.” Today’s “…intellectuals,” therefore, appeared to have conceptualized modernization as destroying that which may have appeared antiquated, but were rich in history.
VIOLENCE TO HISTORY
This may be nothing short of “…Violence to History” and that which the citizens deemed “…National Parks.” Thus, rightly or wrongly, these intellectuals were seen by responsible citizens as embarking upon a “…destructive path,” designed to wipe out that which was of national interest and/or intrinsic value to present generation. Surely, Parks may not necessarily be limited to “…Nelson’s Dockyard, Shirley Height and Heroes Park.” It was evident that those who may have been “…Corporately positioned,” may have also been placed in an expedient position. They sing from sheets with unfamiliar hymns.
NARROW-MINDED INTELLECTUAL VIEW
Thus, forced to react to outcry from a wide cross-section of the community of the “…VIOLENCE” intended to their historical heritage, intellectuals had proffered certain rationale for the declaration of intent. They have offered definition of “…Historical Sites” that necessitated no reference, save and except to say they may have marvelled second formers with such irrational view that “…The fact that activities took place in a building, does not make it a historical building.” Such had been seen by historians and critics as a “…NARROW-MINDED INTELLECTUAL VIEW” of historical definitions. Even mathematicians had rebuffed such definition. However, in their vain attempt in offering a “…non-text book definition,” they may have added insult to injury, clearly offending citizen’s intelligence and sense of historical value. For obvious reasons, while some Corporate Managers were evasive or hibernate when issues were said to be sensitive, most had often exhibited docility; …giving the impression of being subjected to “…environmental manipulation,” showing clearly a desire of ensuring “…positional security.”
Clearly, unimpressed, contributors to the numerous interactive local radio Talk shows, former national footballer, DANE ‘Blinds’ RICHARDS, supported by Building Contractor, Hardware Businessman and Hotelier GEORGE RYAN were impelled to voice “…conservationist objections.” They, like many protectionists citizens, may have considered it impolite and/or inappropriate to have expressed their feelings in describing both, the definition proffered for “…Historical Site” and the intended “…destructive initiative” as “…bordering intellectual stupidity.” Others with more candid expressions had decried it as “…INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY.” Girls were known to be very studious and generally believed to be more “…savoir faire” than their opposite number. Thus, the Form 5 students at the Antigua Girls’ High School (AGHS) may have described it as “…eccentric.”
VIOLENCE AGAINST HISTORICAL BUILDINGS
It was not clear what award may be bestowed upon Corporate Managers contemplating “…VIOLENCE” against historical buildings.”
The citizenry had always expressed concerns over criterion for awards bestowed upon nationals. Their concerns were primarily focused on “…MERIT.” Anything short of that may have been Violence against the National Awards Act, Chapter 289, and by extension against social/community improvement advocate, LUDWIG M. REYNOLDS-LMR. Consequent upon the legislative “…Intent” of the Act, its Objects were clear.
PRINCELY HERITAGE AWARD
The Act, therefore, allows for the “…Provision of awards to citizens for “…Distinguished; …Meritorious Service or …Gallantry.” Consequent upon these, some citizens by reasons of their patriotism and service to the nation may have been given causes to believe the cliché “…Kisses goes by favour.” Hence, some may have frowned over apparent discriminatory practices against potential awardees that may have fallen well within the criterion. Notwithstanding such feelings, the contemplated demolition of the historic building, had impelled critics in contending that execution may make “…Mockery of, and Violence” to the yearly National Award of “…PRINCELY HERITAGE” supposedly “…MERITORIOUSLY” bestowed upon nationals.
The irony, however, was that demolition of Historical Sites through “…EXECUTIVE VIOLENCE” may quicker prompt considerations of awards of “…PRINCELY HERITAGE” to persons of Corporate Chairmanship status. However, drawing reasonable inferences from recent media comments and possibly wincing in embarrassment for the “…untenable stench” currently fumigating downtown St. John’s, it may be an award former St. John Development Corporation (SJDC) Chairman, Senator ANTHONY STEWART may “…cautiously decline.”
It may also be an award that Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Antigua Public Utility Authority (APUA) CLARVIS JOSEPH, even with legitimate reasons for complaining of the seemingly unstoppable perpetration of “…criminal violence” to the Corporation’s facilities by “…Copper Thieves and Law enforcement inefficiency and apathy” in making perpetrators SWIFTLY amenable to the Law, with some display of condescension, he may flatly express rejection.
CHANLAH CODRINGTON MP
Known for his expressive nature and pragmatism that the resentful may have considered “…errant,” the former Development Control Authority (DCA) Chairman, Member of Parliament Honourable CHANLAH CODRINGTON, had exemplified himself in addressing sensitive matters of State or that which may have affected livelihood. Thus, coming from humble beginning, he appeared to have always acted in the best interest of the people. He was aware of the inelegant looking Vending Booths, yet he had entertained no desire in displacing and/or inconveniencing those eking out a living from vending. He was accommodating, allowing for citizen’s economic empowerment and encouraging entrepreneurial-ship among the citizenry.
Notwithstanding his pragmatism, he may have prudently avoided the Authority’s “…legislative muscle” in inflicting “…STATUTORY VIOLENCE” upon the unaesthetic appearances of Vending Booths of indigent and/or “…financially-depressed. Representing their interest, he had shown consistency in his actions, guided by his conscience and adhering to the Oath of office that states in part, “…I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties and do ‘RIGHT’ to all manner of people,’ without fear or favour affection or ILL-WILL.” Thus, he had shown restraint and compassion to society’s less fortunate. He had spared them the humiliation, indignity and anguish unleashed upon them by unconscionable public officials who may have felt a legal compulsion in flexing such muscle. Vendors, however, have an obligation to be compliant with the law, as it affects “…erecting unapproved structures” and save themselves such humiliation.
MAN MUST LIVE
Many regional leaders appeared not to have understood Montserrat’s Soca Star ALPHONSUS CELESTINE EDMOND CASSELL, “Mighty Arrow” when he sang, “…Man Must Live.” Many also appeared not to have followed the “…Founding Principles” of the nation’s Constitution Order 1981 that states “…The people of Antigua and Barbuda respect the principles of ‘social justice’ and therefore, believe that the operation of ‘their economic system’ should result in the material resources of ‘their community’ being so distributed as to ‘serve the common good; …that there should be adequate means of ‘LIVELIHOOD FOR ALL.” Except for a few Members of Parliament, most seemed oblivious to this principle, and except for the “…adventurous Indigent people,” where there is no vision, it may be said that “…The less adventurous perished.”
VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE
Respecting “…Violence” in the wider community, eminent jurist, retired Appellate Court Justice, His Lordship ALBERT REDHEAD once wrote, “…Violence Begets Violence.” He was at the time reacting to a spate of “…violent crimes” being perpetrated against innocent members of the society. He was concerned that culturally, the nation may have transformed into a society of lawlessness, likened to the “…Wild, Wild West era.” Today, such environment appeared to have manifested itself in many regional States. This was evidence by the apparent proliferation of guns, where the prevalence of “…gun violence” had reached alarming proportion. Seemingly in reality, the days of the “…Outlaw” are back, as evidenced by gun-toting robbers, currently on the rampage in most regional States, including this jurisdiction.
The Sociologists have argued that when “…socio/economic and political conditions” deteriorated, the impact on acceptable standard of social behavior from the “…depraved members of society,” is as devastating as nature’s destructive elements of “…wind, water, earth and fire.” Law enforcement had accepted these arguments. Such had been proven to be “…irrefutable contributory factors” that influences the commission of “…Crime and Violence.” The citizenry had become expressively fearful of the criminal element that had been wreaking havoc in the community and with increasing frequency, unleashing terror and violence on members of the society.
DEBILITATING CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS
Although it had been the victim’s and citizens impression that the crime rate had extended beyond the control of Law enforcement, there had been some “…Debilitating Contributory Factors” that had affected Law enforcement effectiveness and their ability in fighting the criminal element. These include, foremost; “…respect for the sanctity of life and human rights; …antiquated or archaic laws; …the complexity of the Criminal Justice System; …legal technicalities; …the apparent failure of the penal treatment of offenders; and/or … inordinate delays in the conduct of criminal proceedings for some heinous crimes.” Even for a less serious crime, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners CLARVIS JOSEPH had made “…an inescapably valid point.” Thus, it had often been said that criminals had seemingly been made to feel that they can commit more crimes without feeling readily and punitively, the effects of the law.Victims feel that justice delayed is justice denied.
Recent and almost daily occurrences of “…GUN VIOLENCE” being unleashed on members of society were testament of the “…brutal and deadly criminal acts,” pronouncing an existing frightening state of affairs. Such state had undoubtedly placed an entire populace on edge, while Law enforcement not only appeared to be “…at its wits end,” but also appeared “…completely overwhelmed. Not infrequently had Law enforcement gave the impression of being out-maneuvered by the criminal elements and the “…sophisticated and brazen ways they had been perpetrating their acts of Violence on the unsuspecting, unarmed and hapless citizens. There appeared to be no immediate respite, even though Law enforcement and public officials know that “…Desperate Criminals calls for Desperate Measures,” not meaningless rhetoric.
JACK WARNER’S SYNDROME
Seemingly, Trinidad and Tobago Parliamentarian “…Jack Warner Rhetorical Syndrome” may have had a contagious effect on some Law enforcement and public officials. WARNER had “…rhetorically” vowed to completely rid his nation of violent crimes-murders and kidnappings. Such rhetoric appeared to have been spreading widely across regional States, most of which appeared to have been under siege by violent criminals. Ironically, the more Law enforcement and public officials speak to “…ZERO TOLERANCE” …on Crime; …Guns; …Drugs and …Violence, the more the “…gun-toting and knife-wielding bandits” continued to show their “…INTOLERANCE” to such rhetoric. The more such expression was uttered, the more pressure was exerted upon Law enforcement in arresting the situation. Public officials seemingly concerned about “…enforcement” appeared oblivious to the factors influencing crime.
Such “…reactionary and repetitive rhetoric” appeared to have clearly spurred the “…INTOLERANT GUNMEN” into inflicting their violent wrath on innocent citizens. Taxi Driver MILBURNE LEWIS on Friday September 21, 2012, had narrowly escaped death, but was frighteningly left to nurse gunshot injuries to his thigh. He might painfully attest to the realities of such violence. The victim was said to have been lawfully delivering bread to customers in the Golden Grove community just before twilight. Quick-wittedly and with presence of mind, he reportedly drove to the Mount St. John Medical Center where he had been institutionalized.
Two days later masked gunmen in a robbery attack reportedly left a 53year old male nursing “…an exit gunshot wound” to the thigh; …while a knife-wielding robber left a St. John businessman in excruciating pain. Ironically and unwittingly, he was in hot pursuit to recover a “…cap” snatched from his clothing store. Social commentator Calypso Jim, highlighting “…Tough Economic Times,” sang “…Things ruff”-this one “…really tuff.” Even in their absence, recovery of stolen property should be the responsibility of Law enforcement.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC POLITICAL FACTORS
Crimes of Violence affect every citizen in every strata of society, either “…directly or indirectly.” Directly by those who actually came under physical attack by criminals and “…Indirectly” by those “…apprehending fear” of being attacked, whether at home or on the street. It was for this very reason that many citizens had avoided areas and/or places where such attacks were likely. Although Crimes of Violence are generally social issues, the sociologists believed that they shall be given equal attention in ascertaining what moral or sociological factors influencing individuals in committing them.
LEAPS AND BOUNDS
There was no doubt that the wave of violence which appeared to have been “…growing in leaps and bounds,” pervading the otherwise tranquil society of Antigua and Barbuda, had placed many innocent and law abiding citizens in a state of uneasiness over their “…safety and peace of mind and general well-being.” However, it was the spate of gun and other forms of violence that had evoked a deep sense of fear, engulfing every man, woman and child. Thus, even from the security and comfort of their homes and legitimate businesses, many citizens had found themselves inescapably trapped in trepidation, not knowing who may become the next victim.
Mr. Rawlston Pompey
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