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Violence threatens whole community

Tragic consequences: Slogans have been sprayed outside White Hill Field in memory of Johnathan Darrell, who was fatally stabbed in Paget over the weekend. Our columnist says we can improve society through higher standards in politics and throughout the community(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

It matters little where it happens, but when it happens with tragic results thoughts about public safety rush to the surface as concerns rise about the changing behaviour in modern lifestyles, whether it stems from early negative childhood experiences or other distractions from values that promote positive attitudes.

When a life is sadly lost in some type of confrontation, the shock waves can travel far because, apart from the victim, the attacker, or attackers, and families on all sides are engulfed in emotional trauma that can take a long time to heal.

The community itself has to struggle with trying to seek answers as to why so many young people resort to deadly violence in dealing with disputes.

We must also be careful not to use a negative brush in referring to young people throughout our communities. There are many young men and women toiling to become strong citizens to build a better Bermuda for their themselves and their families. In fact, the future will be largely in their hands, and they need constant support.

Meanwhile, our communities are faced with the difficult task of attempting to rescue those who, for whatever reason, have drifted into paths that sometimes involve the underworld of activity that can include gang links or illegal drugs. Moving away from such activity could be a challenge in itself.

It would also be a mistake to assume that every time there is a tragedy, the victim was a part of such negativity. There are times when innocent lives are lost because violence does threaten everyone. As the police conduct their investigation into details surrounding the fatal stabbing of a young man in Paget over the weekend, the public should assist in any way possible while respecting the families of those involved.

In recent years, Bermuda has experienced more than its share of tragic violence, with cries from various sections of the public to find ways to alter a trend that in a sense has become the norm.

This will not be solved by words alone; every Bermudian should make it their daily chore to exhibit behaviour that exemplifies the good principles most of us were taught during the old Sunday school days. We will never have a perfect society, but we sure can improve things with higher standards throughout our political and community lives. We can have all the youth programmes in the world, but unless our young people are taught early that respect is far more important than victory in any sport, we will leave an opening for the vulnerable to take the wrong path.

Basic values have nothing to do with race, ethnicity or religious origins; rather, purely knowing right from wrong in the rules of life. There are no easy answers to complex problems that often involve people with disturbed minds.

Authorities in large and small countries are finding violence one of their biggest concerns. Making things worse is when some incidents in large countries can be traced to terrorism. It is a matter of great concern for all freedom-loving countries.

Our political and community leaders need to launch a significant unified thrust to raise standards by merging our best qualities in building, rather than seeking ways to outwit each other on this or that issue in a never-ending conflict with questionable objectives.

Much of what we have today could very well be the gradual slide from good values some call old-fashioned. However, without proper values no free society could ever hope to grow in harmony and peace. The road ahead will be challenging, but we can make better strides if we choose co-operation over conflict in all aspects of our community activities. Bermuda is a beautiful place and we need to feel safe in that environment. That really should be our highest priority.