Nov 17, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – When officers of the law are victimized and brutalized in the performance of their duties, the law itself that binds the fabric of society comes under attack, is made to look weak and wanting. This renders every citizen vulnerable.
The latest example of such lawlessness occurred recently, when a driver operating under a DUI state, made threats of violence and actually engaged in hostile and aggressively violent behaviour with an officer of the law, rightly going about his responsibility. That the vehicle, the offender was driving, also had a heavy, possibly illegal tint, was uninsured and uncertified, only made matters even more unacceptable.
The law itself is menaced and placed on the defensive, when more and more citizens in the wrong (usually) take matters into their own hands (literally) to inflict bodily and psychological harm (actually) on police officers. Though still occasional, the instances of such incidents are too close together not to be a cause of concern. Where is the dividing line? Why the ongoing disregard for the law and what is law abiding? Why the features of civility, discipline and restraint are so lacking, so easily unleashed?
In a tightly spaced society, citizens observe what is going on at the top and decide that what is good for the gander is good for the goose. Thus, when leaders look the nation in the face and say that no laws are broken with oil blocks, a standard is set. Drunk drivers imitate them: don’t stop us. Don’t challenge. Don’t do anything. Domestic abusers have the same mentality: home is castle, cannot be reached, not even by the law, for there they are kings, no matter how far they go. These self-serving positions, mostly insupportable, saturate society, from the leadership heights to the middle and bottom. It is part of the national culture: disregard for the law; constant objections to rules and regulations, which are held as applying to everyone else, but not to them.
It is why men and women, clearly in violation of the law, attack and injure officers of the law. The incidents are glaring and have startled. They have not reached as far as shocking yet, because most citizens have been immunized by the jadedness that comes from the chronic lawlessness and disorderliness that are so much an embedded aspect of daily life in Guyana.
There is crime on the streets, as captured by phones and surveillance systems, and which overcome frail defenses offered, when hauled before the courts. On the other hand, the white-collar crimes, involving hundreds of millions and likely tens of billions, stolen by bureaucrats and politicians, never see the light of justice.
There is little chance of prevailing in the courts, given the army of professional silencers and legal protectors, who line up to diminish the costly tolls of the crimes committed, or arrange to make them go away completely. In this manner, crime is heaped upon crime.
The regular citizen see and suspect, listen and live with, a gang of political criminals, who get away with everything, from thieveries to felonies and anything in between.
The more money there is involved, the more prolific the criminal feasting. The little people observe all this, and tell themselves that they, too, are not held to any standard, not accountable also, that they can push and breach, at will, the system of laws, and still get off scot-free.
Sections of the citizenry feel and think that they are victims of the trickeries, man-made and managed smartly, of democratic processes that leave them in the wilderness. Thus, they rail up and rant at what they have misinterpreted as part of the climate of injustice that is against them. Regardless of how this may be unjustified by circumstances that are the mindset, that has coalesced into the hard concrete of Guyana’s agonizing divide.
Members of the Guyana Police Force are seen as particularly objectionable targets. That is because they stand as gatekeepers – that thin line of defense, which separates civility from chaos. They, therefore, come under attack and there are hints that this will continue, if only to vent the frustrations and hostilities that lie below; add alcohol and lawlessness rises. Overall, it is a discouraging state.
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