Mon | Sep 24, 2018

It's your fault

Published:Sunday | November 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Xavier Francis and Petrona Hamilton, parents of Nicholas Francis, at the peaceful protest held at Jamaica College recently.

IT IS difficult to avoid deep-seated reflection on the senseless murder of students during their commute from school. The slew of commentary on the issue points to failure of institutions. I want to suggest that it is really your fault and mine.

Collectively, we have created a society in which a fancy car and a cell phone have been given greater value than human life. Each one of us needs to undergo focused reflection on how we got to this state of wanton lack of respect for the sanctity of life.

Another major cause for concern is that the perpetrators of these heinous deeds feel comfortable committing them in full view of the public with the assurance that it is safe to do so.

The risk of immediate apprehension, swift trial and just punishment is not high. Our collective lack of caring, vigilance and fearfulness provide great odds in favour of getting away with murder.

No matter what perspective you bring to this state of affairs, there can be no mistaking the fact that our society is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and it is the responsibility of each of us to arrest this tide.

In this politically correct era, invoking thoughts of God's wrath and justice is a turn-off for many. However, the Bible, which has accurately recorded historical events, points repeatedly to nations that have met with disaster as a result of their wickedness. Sodom's demise is known universally.

What can you do?


1. Look outside of yourself


Come to the practical acceptance of the fact that there are things that fall outside the realm of human control. Man is not in control. Consequently, set about being curious about who or what is in control. Gather information from sources that claim to be in control and evaluate their claims.

In that state of reflection and examination, your frailty and vulnerability will be exposed. The sanctity of life should take on new respect. Spread the awakening that we are not self-sufficient, and that our interconnectedness brings with it responsibilities.


2. Adopt a different idea of selfishness


Make a physical or mental list of the things that you want for yourself. Spend time reflecting on how much you would treasure the things on your list.

Now, cast your mind to the fact that in a cut-throat society in which everyone aggressively pursues their own personal wants, it will be very difficult for you to get the things on your list. Consequently, it is in your selfish interest to help create a society in which people like you can have their wish list come to fruition.

Protecting the rights and interests of others is the most effective means of having your rights and interests protected.


3. Take action


You in your small corner or large platform, must make it a point of duty to take action to correct the disease that threatens us.

You can start by reaching out to family members, neighbours, work colleagues, fellow students, etc. Start to engage them in earnest dialogue about the state of affairs, its root causes and possible solutions.

Go the extra mile to learn more about anger management and conflict resolution, and freely share what you have learnt.

Champion the cause of mobilising initiatives to engage at-risk youth in the cost-benefit analysis of their choices. Does it make sense to risk losing your freedom for a $3,000 cell phone? Follow up that kind of dialogue by demanding interventions that direct youth to alternative career paths and means of financial viability.


4. Challenge your fear


Your fears and mine provide a safe environment for criminality to flourish. Unless we muster the courage to speak out or to intervene, criminals will be emboldened. Then others will just watch and be blind when it is our turn.

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• Trevor E.S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, Extended DISC/FinxS.