I wonder how many persons are truly concerned about the steady deterioration of our society, as evidenced by the lack of compliance of our own laws and regulations. What is alarming about this phenomenon is that we find this lack of compliance on all levels in our society, including all three branches of government. It appears people care about being law abiding only when the violation of law and regulations adversely affect them personally.
Are we really a society of laws? Having laws is not enough. Compliance and respect for law and order are the unmistakable signs of a civilized society.
Many persons who have traveled express admiration for certain societies they have visited. They comment on how orderly the people are, how clean the communities are, how safely the motor vehicles are operated. Some of these same people return home to fall back into the same old rut of disobeying their own laws and regulations. So many persons in our community are like that, even those who profess deep religious convictions. They consider themselves decent, upright persons.
Everyone makes mistakes may even be negligent sometimes, causing accidents. I am not talking about that. I am referring to deliberate acts of disregard for the laws and regulations of our society — acts of delinquency by the adults in our community.
We confuse our young by our behavior and speech, by our wanton disregard for our laws and regulations. Is that part of the "culture" we hear some people talk about so much?
In general, the host population, the native population, sets the pattern of behavior for immigrants and transients in a society. I am not a sociologist, but I perceive a difference in our society. The host population has been practically neutralized by its own actions — internal bickering and jealousy, rather than respect and love for each other and for themselves. The host people have failed to develop and transmit positive cultural traits to their descendants and to the immigrants. Consequently, the immigrants fill the vacuum with their own cultural traits — but also follow what they see the locals do, such as disregarding their own laws and regulations.
Another factor in our lawlessness is the lack of consistent and fair enforcement of our laws.
The news media report allegations of unfair enforcement of the law on St. John. Sporadic and inconsistent enforcement creates distrust. Seasonal enforcement of some laws, targeting only certain persons or businesses, does not promote respect for or cooperation with law-enforcement agents.
In my view, what is sorely lacking is proper training and supervision. Too many officers are left to themselves on "auto pilot" without direction and coaching from supervisors.
Can the current administration provide the proper leadership to improve our enforcement of and our respect for the law? I am optimistic about most human endeavors, but from the evidence presented thus far, that seems very doubtful, because of poor appointments. The Senate, in exercising its oversight responsibility, does not offer any better hope. Where does that leave those of us who believe in law and order? I believe if we are really concerned about the matter, we must join forces and pressure our government representatives to do their job, to do the right thing for the community. Neighborhood groups should be formed, and civic organizations should be more active in promoting positive changes in our community.
ALL TOO WIDELY, V.I. LAWS GET NO RESPECT
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