Forgiveness, justice and dysfunctional culture

From time to time, though, some rise beyond our base instincts to articulate justness with compassion.

The words of Judith Blair, 67, in this paper earlier this month should make all of us reflect in these times of high crime rates in New Providence. 

She said she stared down the barrel of a handgun held by her attacker, who broke into her Blue Hill Estates home, and said, “I forgive you, but you need to get out of my house.”

At that moment, the man shot her. The bullet grazed her left temple and she was still able to stand.

Blair said she told the two gunmen, who had ordered her and her son to lie on the floor and demanded money, to “leave in the name of Jesus.”

She was then shot in the abdomen. Marvin Blair, 34, Judith’s son, was also shot in the abdomen during the home invasion last month. The two suspects fled the home.

Judith Blair, a former College of The Bahamas lecturer for decades, attended a presentation at the college’s Oakes Field campus where she spoke.

“I would like to meet the people who came into my home to violate me, and let them know I love them, I forgive them and it is okay,” she said.

“If they would forgive themselves, there is hope for them.”

With our crime problem many of us have given in to excessive responses. 

Some of our elected officials have even gone as far as calling for public hangings downtown – which is one of the largest cruise ports in the region.

Whoever is responsible for shooting and robbing the Blairs should be fairly tried. And if convicted they should be given sanctions appropriate for the crimes committed. 

But while we reflect on what should happen to those responsible for that crime, we must also reflect on what it will take to reach more of our young people, encouraging and inspiring them not to follow the course of those who nearly killed this mother and her son.

While social programs at the level of the state can help in intervening in the lives of our youth, values are mainly taught at home. We begin to save ourselves on New Providence by being responsible in how we reproduce. 

Too many men get multiple women pregnant and do not help raise their children. Too many women spend their time chasing men while their children drift along the streets at night getting up to mischief. We can go on and on about the culture of irresponsibility that has become the norm in too many Bahamian homes.

In the homes we are part of, in the homes we live in, we as a people must do better in raising better citizens. 

The crime problem we face in New Providence is not just born of the actions of the government. We raise these men with guns who shoot grandmothers.

Things will only get better in the long term if we as a people learn again to instill in our young people the values of hard work, compassion, honesty and respect. If not, then we won’t be able to build the jail space fast enough for what is to come.

Published  Monday, March 24,  2014

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