EDITORIAL: Loud no to crime
There seems to be a disturbing heroism developing in this country among some young men who seem to think it is a good thing that they should follow a path of crime or antisocial behaviour.
The smiling faces and hand-waving noticed when a group was recently remanded in custody can have the unsociable impact of suggesting to young boys that one should follow the multitude to do evil.
This society has to wake up and deal with this problem before it becomes completely unmanageable. Crime cannot be glorified in any way form or fashion. It is antisocial, it is deviant and it is destructive of the social and physical fabric of any society. Small societies, such as ours, are particularly vulnerable to its manifestations.
Some while ago, a perceptive female who seemed to have her feet firmly planted on the ground was being interviewed on one of our radio stations. She lamented then, that if one were to shoot a man and spend time in prison that when you emerged some people in the society would treat you as a hero.
Her language register was not rooted in the language of those who reside in the higher realms of our university; and it was all the more poignant because her message was clearly understood by all, and it was a chilling message. Crime, according to this analysis, was becoming something of a respectable activity in the eyes of some people in this society.
That there can be a view that crime is in some respects seen as respectable shows that we have a social cancer in our midst and that every effort must be made to cut it out.
We have no doubt that moral and ethical landmarks must be re-established. One magistrate used to ask youngsters appearing before him if they knew the Ten commandments, and many of these unfortunate youngsters were not able to save themselves by recalling even one of the said Commandments. And in many cases they openly disclosed that they were not familiar with them.
Cultural penetration has had a deleterious impact on our society and we are changing in many ways; but whether it comes from formal or informal approaches, the entire society must become engaged on dealing with this problem.
Our parents and schools have some responsibility, but the entire society, especially the media, must be discreet in how we present those images which may be destructive of our country.
This society must practice prevention and rehabilitation, but when it is merited, punishment for crime must be fair firm and sharp. At the same time we have removed the moral guideposts, and it is high time that we reinstate and reinforce them. We have to discourage any notion that crime is a career choice. And we must do it now.
Crime must not be seen to pay.