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A crime free society

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I have to delay the topic that I promised you last week because I must comment on the issue of crime after the killing of a senior citizen in our country. I have said this before and I will say it again. There are too many crimes today, and especially against innocent helpless older women. One recalls the murder of an older woman who was an amputee. We also remember an old blind woman who was raped and murdered. Now there is the recent crime against an older woman who was killed and buried in a shallow grave at Belair. When are we going to arrest what seems to be a trend?{{more}} Are we to sit back and see the older women tragically wiped out? It is ironic that women who nurture the young have become the object of men’s aggression.

The movement against crimes

We have had many persons speaking out against crimes. Recently the pan movement threw its weight against crimes. These efforts, although encouraging, have still not been sufficient to arrest the trauma that our country is suffering from the crimes perpetuated against our own people. All those who write do so not only for readers’ knowledge but with the hope of making the country a better place for everyone. However, it appears that the words do not reach those who need them most. Like in Africa, when messages were passed on from one village to the other by way of the drums, we need to pass on the message that crimes must come to an end to those who are not able to get it by way of the printed media.

Psychiatric evaluation

My childhood memories recall only one murder. It was a lovers’ quarrel that ended in tragic circumstances. Our children today are given a heavy dose of news about murder that must have some lasting impact on their minds. It is, therefore, our duty to find some solutions to the problem. Whenever a killing occurs, the question of the sanity of the killer is often raised. Why do people with a history of mental illness commit crimes? Studies, however, have shown that only a small minority commit crimes. The Court always requires a psychiatric evaluation of the persons who commit murder. This perhaps is based on the premise that no one in their right mind would kill another human being. Generally speaking, we need to pay more attention to the mentally ill. There should be, especially after their release from an institution, some follow up programmes and a level of supervision. It is regrettable that a psychiatric evaluation is only done after a murder is committed. It is important to detect mental illness as early as possible and to treat it accordingly.

Let us set ourselves a crime free society. Violence must be eradicated at any cost. We have to curb especially male aggression. This is child month and we can start right now by teaching our children how to settle their differences without resorting to violence. We also have to teach our males appropriate ways of interacting with females. They are our sisters, our mothers, our aunts and wives. They provide the hands that rock the cradle. They do not deserve to die a violent death.
My condolences go out to the family and close friends of Lorna Small. May she rest in peace.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
E-mail address is: exploringthelaw@yahoo.com

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