A Time to Pray and A Time to Act

Apr 3, 2005

We Are a Democracy

103. We are a democracy. That means our governments and leaders work for us and they are answerable to us.

104. From this point of view, the first and foremost duty of a government – any government anywhere at any time – is to protect its citizens: their lives and their properties.

105. In civilized and enlightened societies, governments are not instituted primarily to explain or rationalize crime or to counsel and comfort victims of crime, violence and lawlessness.

106. Governments are put in place primarily and essentially to ensure law and order; to secure peace and stability; and to guarantee proper protection to one and all.

107. Their job is to fight crime and stop it and to apprehend criminals and bring them to justice.

108. In fact, governments derive their legitimacy and their moral authority based on their will, determination and ability to protect and safeguard the lives and properties of their citizens.

Governments Must Protect Citizens

109. In any society, anywhere, we must hold the government of the day accountable for making sure that our people are not picked off and killed like flies or set upon and robbed and mugged by bandits and thugs.

110. And for making sure that our businesses are safe from looters, marauders, arsonists and pillagers.

111. And for making sure that our women are safe from those who would rape, assault, insult or otherwise abuse or dishonor them.

112. And for making sure that our entire population is protected from being murdered, robbed, mugged, raped or assaulted by anyone, anywhere.

113. And for making sure that those who break the law are pursued vigorously, apprehended swiftly and prosecuted to the fullest limit of the law.

114. And for making sure that all those who need a job in our society, are able to get one.

115. And for making sure that food items and other necessities are in plentiful supply.

116. And for making sure that prices of essential commodities and services stay stable and affordable to the ordinary citizens.

117. And for making sure our roads are free from traffic congestion and our commute time to and from work is made more manageable.

118. And for making sure our air and water quality is protected and enhanced.

119. And for making sure the government bureaucracy at all levels is diligent, efficient, enterprising and enthusiastic in the performance of its duties and altogether responsive to the needs of the people.

120. And for making sure the government provides ample remuneration for its bureaucrats, municipal workers, civil servants and law enforcements personnel for their hard work, including special recognition and reward in deserving cases of particularly meritorious service.

How Societies Fight Crime

121. Societies fight crime and lawlessness at a number of levels and using a variety of approaches. Things work best when all the crime-fighting approaches are used in concert.

122. Among them are the following:

(a) A strict law-and-order approach by the government.

(b) Effective anti-crime legislation by the lawmakers.

(c) National consensus on crime as a top priority.

(d) Moral suasion by moral and opinion leaders.

(e) Religious education, influence and mobilization.

(f) Economic support, opportunities and incentives.

(g) Educational reform.

(h) Broad-based civic consciousness, engagement and empowerment.

(i) Targeted and sustained media blitz.

123. We need to make sure that our government and our educational and vocational institutions provide adequate training to all those in our society who are in need of a job.

124. And we need to make sure that our environment and our forests are protected.

125. And we need to make sure that our air, water and our beaches are free from pollution.

126. And we need to hold our national and local governments accountable for making sure that our roads are free from murderous potholes.

127. We need to make sure the government provides our police all the training, tools and incentive they need for effective crime fighting.

128. We also need to call on our lawmakers of all parties to enact legislation that will give our government the effective instruments of law enforcement and crime control that it may need.

A Role for Opposition

129. The next thing for us to do is to hold the opposition parties and politicians accountable for their own role and contribution in promoting the overall safety, security and wellbeing of our people and their properties.

130. For, to be in opposition means not just to oppose and attack everything the government of the day does, but also to come up with creative and innovative ideas and initiatives for solving the problems that our people face.

131. The opposition parties and individuals must find ways of cooperating with the government of the day, whenever such cooperation is feasible, to find solutions to the host of problems our people face – from accelerating pollution and deforestation to illegal poaching of our animals.

132. The next thing for us to do is to hold the religious establishment at all levels accountable for their own role in making our society and culture better through education, preaching, organization, personal example, leadership and charitable work.

133. The next thing for us to do is to call on the business leadership in our community to shoulder their share of the responsibility for making our society safer and better.

134. The next thing for us to do is to call upon the media to play their own active and positive role in reducing crime and lawlessness in society, beyond the mere reporting of crime and selling of newspapers and airtime.

135. The next thing for us to do is to ask our teachers at different levels to do all they can to educate our young people about personal hygiene, safety, crime and overall civic engagement and responsibility.

136. The next thing for us to do is to call on all social and community organizations and clubs, such as the Rotary Club and others, to play an active role in making our society a better place for all of us.

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