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It’s not too late to wean your children off a diet of violence

It’s not too late to wean your children off a diet of violence

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Tue Sep 17, 2013

Dear St Vincent,

It is some time since I have written to you, as I continue to process the trauma of past events. Each time I hear about the recurring acts of violence towards my sisters and brothers that pepper our shores, I am in pain once more, reminded of my own narrow escape from a sociopath who attempted to blackmail me, and broke into my home several times – a trauma intensified by police reports and a court case dismissed, due to disappearance of the investigating officer. Returning home, after six months of illness, my house has been burgled twice this year, and in the past three weeks alone, three of my friends have been victims of gun crime – my student robbed at gunpoint, a family friend shot and robbed, another murdered.{{more}}

Many say “leave that island”; for this is the solution for some seeking a safer life overseas. In the 1950s and 60s, migrants left a beloved homeland for economic reasons, leaving safe communities for a more hostile environment in the north. But now the UK, US and Canada feel safer than a tiny fractured island.

The industrialised countries are actively cultivating what islanders once had but didn’t value: community consciousness, appreciation of the natural environment for survival and creativity. People in northern cities are making gardens, growing food and planting trees. In harsh economic times, they have embraced nature and empowered themselves to create. There’s a growing acceptance that price does not directly correlate with real value and human happiness.

As some seek safer lands overseas, why must we who stay diminish in fear when those who want peace and safety outnumber those who choose destruction? Incapacitated by fear, unable to analyse our own predicament, we become living shadows. In terms of fear levels in the society, we may be facing the mightiest challenge since slavery.

Criminal sociopaths consciously choose to make others hurt and suffer and it gives them a sense of power. Given the choice between empathy or exploitation, they would choose the latter. For some this translates into stealing in preference to working honestly. For others the choice to kill rather than resolve their inner frustrations, usually fuelled by their relationship with money or property (or a person perceived to be property). Like many other Vincentians, I have glimpsed the horror in the eyes of willful wrongdoers; many others engage the stare, eventually to embrace it as the only way to see life.

St Vincent, surely it’s not too late to work purposefully to wean your children off a diet of violence, abuse and intimidation. Can you be the loving mother we need and empower those who sense their lives would be enriched by doing good things and helping others? There are many who desire such an opportunity. In a culture that focuses on individual power and reputation, these moving spirits are having trouble finding their way. But they are the way. In a threatening environment, how to empower these people to act should be the concern of all who genuinely care to see a more harmonious society.

On behalf of too many who grieve,

Vonnie

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