Archive for May 4th, 2008

May 4, 2008

The Fear Factor


Apparently I have been rather derelict in adding entries to my blog. It is amazing how quickly time can elapse when the everyday distractions of normal life get to work. I suppose this society lends itself to distraction of one form or another as the average citizen tries to do everything but actually think. I have personally eschewed the usual feting and drinking in favour of conquering the various hurdles of Zelda, Twilight Princess on the Wii and catching up on some reading of various sorts. 

Crime is a current that underlies most aspects of living in this country and ,though it is sometimes possible to ignore the perils that surround us, we are always brought back to the reality of the situation. While the government and ( especially) the so-called Minister of National Security dither about and  spend a great deal of time saying things are improving – the reality is somewhat different. This need to be wary was brought home again in the last couple of days when Philippa Talma, the daughter of the widely respected Professsor Julian Kenny, was kidnapped while closing up her boutique at 6:45 in the evening. She was not doing anything unusual and was certainly not out and about in the wee hours of the morning to make herself a target. She was simply doing what   thousands of business people do at the end of each day and then she was snatched and thrown into a car. Her whereabouts are still not known and it is now reported that the kidnappers are asking for a million dollars for her safe return. Quite apart from the fear she must be experiencing goodness knows how she is being treated by the scum that have committed this evil act. The horror of the act is even worse when one stops to think what her kids and family must be going through for the last 48 hours.

This is not the first kidnapping we have had and, sadly, it will not be the last. There seems to be a class of people that regard the crime as a sort of industry. How this can happen in a country that is not large by any stretch and how the police cannot manage to capture these criminals is beyond me. I can understand why the police are powerless to stop gang slayings and domestic situations that go bad because of the nature of these sorts of crimes but kidnapping is an organized business and the police should have an organized response. The situation is made even more maddening when rumours abound that some police officers are complicit . 

While all this happens we are seeing a major exodus of business people who, in my view quite rightly, see little point in hanging around when they or their family members may be taken at gunpoint and held pending a ransom payment. Those business owners who choose to stay live lives surrounded by security arrangements and usually send their family overseas for safety. The rest of us are told that we should take measures to ensure that we are aware of our surroundings at all times and not place ourselves in situations that would make us easy targets. I am not sure exactly what this means as people have been kidnapped while in their homes, while walking to their cars in broad daylight and even while attending class. My life consists of leaving home, looking around while I open the gate to get to my car, locking the car doors the second I get in, varying my route to work slightly every day, looking around when I get out of my car to get to work and generally assuming anyone walking on the street wants to do me harm. All of this is not the ideal situation when it comes to having a normal quality of life. I do these things even though I am not even in the kidnap-worthy category although several people who are just middle class by any assessment have been kidnapped in the past. I cannot even imagine what someone with money must go through as they try to live their daily life.

It find it ironic that the average person in New York, Toronto or London has good reason to feel safer than i do living on a small tropical island. Then again, they have police services that work.


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