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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsReflections of an Evolving Elder: History Is About to Repeat Itself

Reflections of an Evolving Elder: History Is About to Repeat Itself

Shaun A. Pennington (Source file photo)

Long forgotten unacceptable, yet continuing tragic incidences of attacks against tourists in the Virgin Islands are teetering on the brink of repeating themselves.

“They won’t do anything about it until ‘something’ happens” seems to be the theme among frustrated or apathetic officials, residents and the casual opinion-aters.

The looming “something” that comes to mind immediately while reading and hearing about taxis and their occupants and other travelers being robbed at gunpoint on St. John, is a 1996 gunpoint robbery at Saga Haven on St. Thomas that didn’t end so well. Eight tourists were held up in the stairwell of the parking garage at the East End location. Three were shot — all critically wounded — by what was reportedly an “automatic handgun.” There were calls at the time by statesiders to bring in the FBI.

The second story that has recently reared its ugly head occurred seven years later in 2003.

This story is almost unbelievable. A woman simply wanting a break from a particularly brutal northeastern winter was first robbed at knife-point during an intermission at an event at the Mark C. Marin Center, and less than three days later attacked by a pack of wild dogs on the beach at Magens Bay.

Fast-forward 20 years: I happen to know, since Magens Bay is my favorite place on the planet, there have been several reports of the feral dogs that are accumulating at what I have always considered one of the safest places in an increasingly unsafe world, going after people in the wooded areas behind the beach.

Nightly, I see the pups and/or their mother who has recently given birth to her second or third litter, roaming the mile-long sandy beach searching for food (prey) and water.

I am an ardent animal lover. These dogs are suffering. They were no doubt at one time domesticated animals expecting to be cared for by the people — human animals — who had somehow acquired and then abandoned them. They are now feral and displaying the natural behavior of wild canines: forming a pack or packs.

As a lifelong solutions-oriented person, at 74, I have spent more than half of those years, not just fomenting, but actually — with the help of many others — laying the physical and structural groundwork for realistic and permanent solutions, with varying degrees of success.

All of the suggestions, NGOs, white papers, activities and activists young and old are still available. All it takes is communication, cooperation and consideration to implement, revive and commit to the civil obligations incumbent upon all of us — the government and civil society together — to make the Virgin Islands a safe place for all forms of life.

Meanwhile, here is a positive look at what we are capable of: Many Good People Made Up for Two Bad Incidents.

Let’s band together and find immediate solutions, in the case of the feral dogs, and stop looking for short-term solutions for the hopelessness of our young people who are willing to put guns in the faces of others thanks to our faltering educational and governmental systems.

Waiting for “something” to happen to tourists (or anyone else, like maybe an innocent child building sand castles on the beach) is categorically unacceptable, but likely to also be a history that repeats itself.

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