A senseless killing Editorial
Stabroek News
February 23, 2004

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Two Saturdays ago St Stanislaus student Trevor Fung was brutally stabbed to death while returning to a Valentine's night party. His killing has filled many with anger and despair. From all accounts Fung was the epitome of what Guyana desperately needs in its youth: committed to his studies and leading a well-balanced life. At 18 he had his whole life ahead of him and his murder has robbed the country of his talent and left his traumatised family a raw, aching wound.

The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to justice. It has been more than a week and no one has yet been arrested. We hope that this killing doesn't end up like one of the many cases that the police have failed to solve. This crime occurred in the middle of the city in a well-known residential area yet the criminals simply just melted into the darkness. The police under new command will face pressure to improve its crime scene handling, the gathering of forensic evidence, interrogation of witnesses and putting together of cases.

And what of the perpetrators themselves? Today, they are no doubt safely ensconced in a house on some street in some community feeling no remorse over this murderous act. They themselves and perhaps others know what they have done and they should do the decent thing and turn themselves in to the police.

The mugging which led to Fung's death is one of those crimes that stressed societies like ours frequently see. Vicious armed robberies being committed by young, able-bodied men because this is their way of living. The attackers were clearly not living in penury. As has recently been the case with a whole class of assorted crimes, the attackers came on a scooter. Or was this stolen too? It boggles the mind and irks that the criminals' only thought that night was to covet the property of others and they were prepared to shed blood and take a life for it. Even after stabbing Fung, they pursued his companion and snatched a cellular phone and money. For $3,000, the ubiquitous cell phone and a black handbag the criminals murdered this blossoming young man.

Why didn't these men find a job and try to earn a decent living? Very often the phenomenon of able-bodied men wasting their lives at street corners, plotting crimes and dabbling in the drug culture is excused by the argument that there are no jobs available. While admittedly there isn't a booming job market there are clearly openings available in various sectors which these young men could easily take up and earn an honest living. One of these is the security sector. So many of our guards these days are middle-aged women forced to take these unusual positions because their menfolk have left them and their children to fend for themselves and they have no other choice. These women should be complimented for taking matters into their own hands. Over the years several have been killed and injured in the execution of their duties. So why is it that these positions and others in the construction and agricultural sectors are shunned by these idle, unproductive members of society?

Is it that they are swept away by the concept of easy and fast money that is so often portrayed on the screen in this TV kingdom? Or has society and the families of these men failed to instil in them the bare minimum of values, mores and scruples needed to be decent citizens?

Either way, it is a distressing phenomenon that can only lead to further misery and violence and should serve as a tocsin. Our sociologists at the very university Fung was hoping to attend this September should study it and make recommendations. It calls for each part of society to critically examine its role or absence of it in this debacle. From the family to the school, to the community to the church, to the media to the police, to the government; we all must share responsibility for the problem and seek to devise means of addressing it so that tragedies like the one that snuffed out the life of Trevor Fung can be eliminated.