Preserving life & health amid SOEs

Preserving life & health amid SOEs


Sunday, November 17, 2019

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THE gruesome and daring daylight slaughter of humans, as if beasts, has rendered our island State a veritable abattoir. No end to this gushing waterfall of blood seems to be in sight, and even with the militaristic approach of Government in having states of emergency (SOEs), one wonders if the SOEs aren't truly turning Jamaica into just that — an island State of emergency.

While the Government will not relent in its monolithic crimefighting strategy, criminals, worse, are not relenting, but rather countering with variegated and, arguably, successful approaches.

With this reality of crime being a furniture item in our state of affairs, no well-thinking human would deny crime's deep and farreaching tentacles on the zones of health and welfare. A month ago, October 10 was recognised as World Mental Health Day.

This, though geared primarily towards addressing the stigma around suicide, accounts, too, for the mental trauma and 'fretration' humans experience upon seeing or hearing of others robbed or gunned down daily.

With worsening crime nationally and, by and large, on the international scene, one can't help but recall the question the disciples posed to Jesus as they worried about the Jewish system of things and the conditions that would be a precursor to its end.

“What will be the sign of your presence and of the end of world?” they asked. Jesus' answer made reference to “the increasing of lawlessness” (Matt 24:3, 12). The Bible writer, James, spoke on a similar accord of a type of “wisdom [that] does not come from above, but is earthly, animal, demonic” (James 3: 15).

All, to a greater or lesser extent, are affected by the fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy in these, what has become, in the words of Charles Dickens, “the best and the worst of times”. What precautions, though, are at our disposal in our endeavour to preserve life and, ultimately, health in this state we are in? Plan mentally Were I to be attacked by a robber or held-up, how would I respond?

“Do not resist the one who is wicked, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him. And if a person wants to...get possession of your inner garment, let him also have your outer garment” (Matt 5:39, 40).

Robbers are more likely to become violent if they sense resistance, a lack of cooperation, or deceit. Yes, even thieves demand honesty. So, give advance thought to what you will, or will not do, if confronted by criminals.

Life is far more precious than any possession. Remain calm even when robbers are armed and threaten violence. Pray silently or offer a brief prayer for help, asking for the wisdom to deal with the situation in a spirit of calm.

(Jas 1:5) Subject willingly Maintain a proper attitude toward those in authority: “Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities...Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God's minister to you for your good” (Rom 13:1, 3, 4).

Within and outside these SOEs, willingly cooperate with the direction given by those in authority, even if it is inconvenient. Respect curfews. Resist the urge to be inquisitive: “Like someone grabbing hold of a dog's ears is the one passing by who becomes furious about a quarrel that is not his” (Prov 26:17).

Being curious about the details of criminal activity in our community and carrying out investigations may be unwise. Be judicious, therefore, and be careful of who you say what to and when. Criminal elements oppose any suspected of spreading information about their activities.

Remember, a word to the wise is sufficient! Act shrewdly “The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself” (Prov. 22:3). SOEs indicate that things are really not well in our nation with respect to law and order. So, refrain from staying out unnecessarily late.

And even if a zone of special operation is not in your area, still be on the lookout, because criminals often relocate to communities deemed safer to them, with a view to continuing criminal activities.

Often, we hear it said that criminals should not prevent us from living our lives, but remember, for the time being, we all agree that crime is a monster in our nation and, which wellthinking human is it who would live his life the same way upon hearing that a monster is let loose in the neighbourhood?

Yes, the reality is what it is: Many burglars and hoodlums roam the streets freely, while law-abiding citizens live behind the bars of their homes. With this knowledge, if in the open and gunshots start to reel, take to the ground; any inconvenience experienced from soiled clothing or a bruised body part is minuscule when compared to health ramifications from nursing a gunshot wound or death.

Leave badness alone and return evil for evil to no one, “but as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men” (Romans 12:18). Remember, the 'wisdom' that governs the consciousness of criminal elements is “earthly, animal, demonic”.

In fact, some humans we move around, and know little about, are more animalistic than animals themselves. For while, by way of example, a lion's intention is clearly known: To have us for dinner, a human may befriend us and have us at dinner only to disarm and harm us.

In local parlance we say, trust not even your own shadow. While this is hyperbolically speaking, it is not far off from the language of Psalms 146:3, which cautions us: “Put not your the son of man, in whom there is no help”.

After all is said and done, much devolves upon us to take necessary precautions to protect ourselves from dangers (Eccl 7:12), as we pray God's protection and care (Ps 34:17).

Warrick Lattibeaudiere (PhD), a minister of religion for the past 22 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

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