Sunday, November 06, 2005

Strange people in the neighbourhood is something that I have always paid attention to, but now everyone gets some scrutiny. I actually have things laid down throughout the property should I need to defend myself. I trimmed trees and bushes for a clear line of sight from the house itself. Am I paranoid? No, just careful. But where is that line between careful and paranoid?

Over the last 3 years, I've known people kidnapped. I have known people beaten and robbed, including an Aunt in Carlsen Field who is still recovering. I've personally had guns pointed at me a few times (and not from police or security) - and before my father passed away, he was chopped with a cutlass on the family property. I've chased one fellow with a cutlass from this yard once. So I'm paying attention, and I'm careful.

So what do I think about the Death March? I think it was a well intentioned, poorly named and poorly recognized start to something that needs to happen.... Basically if there is a position of authority the person filling the position just doesn't care....

The saddest thing, I suppose, is that I don't really care anymore. I know that calling the police is generally useless - from experience (they wait a few hours and show up, if they do show up). I don't read the newspapers, I just ask people what the number of murders and kidnappings is up to. I keep my eyes and ears open.

This is not the Trinidad and Tobago that I grew up in, and it's a matter of time before people really do have enough - and then it's anyone's game. I hear the Prime Minister saying that they want to get crime down to an acceptable level. I laugh. I expect nothing from them, and I no longer expect anything from the police.

-- Taran Rampersad, in a long, thoughtful post on the personal impact of our ongoing crisis.

"That line between careful and paranoid" is a boundary none of us can avoid contemplating these days. And the kind of frustration & quiet, urgent anger Taran describes is slowly becoming--I think, I hope!--a unifying force, linking us across the small, unstable chasms of ethnicity & class (whatever "class" means). The question is, will we achieve a critical mass of citizen anger in time to save this unwieldy experiment in "independence" that we volunteered for 43 years ago?

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