Time to fight back
Guyana Chronicle
March 25, 2002

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It is gut wrenching and absolutely infuriating to hear about brazen and violent criminal acts perpetrated against hard-working Guyanese by a small bunch of low-life convicts. Considering all the existing unfavorable conditions and all the attendant hardships people suffer these days, Guyanese simply cannot afford to live in abject, cringing terror and be held hostage by a small bunch of TV-inspired bandits.

Therefore I'd like to take this opportunity to say this to all my fellow Guyanese; stop being "laid-back", apathetic and despondent about increased criminal activity in our communities. Stop being careless; stop hiding behind lame excuses. The time has come when all decent, hard-working Guyanese must quickly learn to be "street smart" and be always aware of their surroundings.

Leaving car keys in the ignition switch, purchases in plain view on the back seat of a car, being overly trusting of anyone and everyone are all open invitations to crooks. Just as today's criminals have chosen to glean from American-originated television programming certain ideas for enhancing their activities, similarly we must search and use the same media for counter measures for improving and enhancing personal safety.

The Police, hamstrung as they are by lack of sufficient funding, cannot be everywhere at the same time. Besides, the simple truth is that we are the eyes and ears of the police. But if we allow crippling fear of such rogues and criminals and debilitating cowardice to gag, deafen and blind us, how in God's name can we expect the police to function effectively?

To those responsible for television programming and other media content, this is where you can help. I think that some substituting of quality American or local TV programmes that deal with personal safety issues instead of local Jagdeo-bashing or Hoyt-bashing segments would help to serve Guyanese better.

To all those current and retired law-enforcement professionals, and you know who you are, I ask you to step forward to the TV camera or the radio microphone or even your own "Personal Safety" column in the daily press and give of your accumulated wisdom for our continued protection.

To those who mistakenly entertain notions that victims of violent crimes will be restricted to members of a particular group, race or neighborhood, you need to ask yourselves whether the criminals will always be satisfied with such perceived targets.

Parents, I beg you; please teach your beautiful children well. Teach them to be cautious of strangers and to recognise any kind of abuse, even if it comes from persons they know. Teach them to be "street smart".

If learning brings power, then let's all empower ourselves against this growing scourge that threatens all of us. It's time to stand up, teach each other, learn from each other and fight back against crime.
Joe Fraeser