Unpalatable food for thought

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Everybody ought to know that even if Jamaica had enough money and police/soldier personnel in the millions, crime and violence would not thereafter be eradicated.

The police and soldiers who seek to curb wrongdoing are necessary, but most definitely not sufficient to reduce crime dramatically because, trite though it sounds, it is incontestably true that the heart of our crime problem is a problem of the heart the of people.

Even the most rabidly irreligious and erudite psychiatrist would be hard-pressed to rebut, let alone refute the notion in an ancient 7th century BCE Jewish religious text in Hebrew, which says: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Or differently translated: “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and incurable — who can understand it?”

All or most of us have been at times puzzled by the awful nature of our inner inclinations to act and our actual actions, and so we all can verify the truthfulness of the very old maxim of that religious text.

Ponder this hypothetical scenario. What if, one night, after sleeping with my wife for the past 42 years, I decide, God forbid, to strangle her to death in her sleep? Which police or soldier would even be near to block me? The pre-crime division of the movie Minority Report is still only fiction!

Even when we strengthen our legislation and enforcement mechanisms, we still must reckon with the largely unpredictable human psyche/soul/heart which makes mockery of our wishes at preventing orreducing crime!

Concerning the power of laws, the sage words of the Scottish patriot Andrew Fletcher comes to mind, “Let me write the songs of a nation and I care not who makes its laws.” Laws, whether divine or human in origin, are only external regulators of conduct, but they are incapable of helping any of us to avoid the wrong and do the right!

Should we not then show real concern about transforming the hearts/psyches of our people while we increase zones of special operations (ZOSOs) and states of public emergency (SOEs)?

Rev Clinton Chisholm is academic dean at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology. Send comments to the Observer or

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