THE EDITOR, Sir:
The column by Daniel Thwaites, titled 'Know when to cuss a claat' and published Tuesday, September 11, 2012, is light-hearted yet seriously profound.
One certainly should not be shot in cold blood for using 'indecent language'. And certainly one should not be allowed to use indecent language indiscriminately.
However, the two issues are divorced from each other and should be treated as such.
Though we cannot pronounce on the factors that may have led to the policeman killing the expectant mother and shooting her sister, in Yallahs recently, we should agree that psychological care for persons employed in high-stress, high-risks jobs should be mandatory and ongoing.
Not only should psychological assessment be part of the recruitment process, it should also take place periodically, at least annually, to determine how individuals are coping and what, if any, remedial action is needed.
Concerns have been expressed over the stigma attached to psychiatric assessments. That in itself is another topic for another article. However, once it is understood that it is a part of the process and covers the full spectrum of personnel; individuals will be more accepting of the process and/or will have to conform to the process.
It is when events are allowed to reach the stage of fatal shootings that the effects are more likely to be negative and adverse.
Ongoing psychological assessment should also include family members. Once the persons are made to understand that the process is beneficial to the family, there should be less resistance.
I have to agree with Mr Thwaites that, from a moral and social standpoint, there have to be some limitations. The society has certain established parameters for appropriate behaviour: some, culturally entrenched, like "manners tek u through the worl". Others, however, must have a legal framework in order to ensure conformity.
Additionally, there has to be a level playing field. The use of indecent language and disrespectful behaviour by members of the police force is all too common. Our officers must be subject to the same consequences as other citizens.