The central question is what can be done?
Do we arm ourselves like militia?
Do we lock ourselves in after daylight?
We live like prisoners while the "bad guys" enjoy our streets.
What's wrong with this picture?
Mr. Francisco Flores, former president of El Salvador provided some ideas back in June 2006 when he was the keynote speaker at an event for The Nassau Institute and the Atlas Network.
Here's an excerpt from his presentation "El Salvador - Responsibility, Vision, a new Political Ethic & Patriotism":
The first step is simple. We stopped blaming others...This serious and in depth work is the antithesis of populism. The restructuring that underdeveloped nations need, are never pleasing or popular. They demand courage and a willingness to accept political costs.
In 2001 we were faced with an astonishing rise in crime. As all of you know there are a thousand ways to justify this: from the violence inherited by a 13 year war to the gangs organized in Los Angeles. But all of you leaders that have had this experience know that in all probability an unexplained rise in crime are the result of growing corruption within the police force.
The solution is a tough one. Admit it publicly, pursue the policemen involved, and create an effective system to inspect their behaviour.
In our case we fired one fifth of the police force. Did we create a crisis? You bet. But a few months later crime was at an all time low and we survived the political storm.
Governing is not an applause contest. It has ethical imperatives that demand honesty when facing problems..
Realising there must be lots of bad blood between the governing PLP and now opposition FNM as a result of the cheap shots about crime by the PLP during the last general election cycle, it's time to lay down the swords and come together on the issue of crime alone.
Our country is more important than political points on this. With some statesmanship and bi-partisanship from all, or most, elected Members of Parliament and the appointed Senators, and the will to conquer this scourge that besets us, we just might be able to be proud of our nation once again.
My fingers are crossed.