Last week a long-time friend surprised the heck out of me when she wrote: “I read your ‘Last Days’ article and I thought you set it up well before you drove your point home. But I have to tell you it left me really worried about our country’s immediate future.”
As I say, we’ve known each other a long time. I knew she had held something back and I wanted to know what that was. So I texted her: “Did I exaggerate the facts? Did I tell a lie?”
“Damn right, you exaggerated,” she messaged back.
This is what had made her blood run cold: “As more and more VAT-bled businesses go under; as more unemployed fathers are sent to prison for their inability to pay child support; as more children die of hunger or because their mothers could not afford the cheapest medication; as others continue to make sacrifices to no avail, so the reports of suicide have increased. Coincidence?”
The horror story had taken up two full pages of facts that my friend agreed were indisputable. But the quoted few lines were what had set her off balance. What to do? She chose to suggest I had sunk to exaggeration. Of course it didn’t take long to convince her otherwise. Facts are facts, however inconvenient.
I wonder how she’ll react to what I am about to write about life as Saint Lucians are now forced to live it. We now average three homicides a week. As I write, more bad news: a young man has just shot dead the father of his girlfriend at Ciceron.
The early word is that he went to her house, an altercation developed, and the girl’s father let the unwelcome visitor know his less than gentlemanly behavior would not be tolerated. Seconds later the thirty-something man was lying dead on the ground, a bullet in his brain.
An unidentified body discovered months ago at Marisule Beach turned out this week to be a well-loved young man, a leading member of the National Youth Council, by all accounts full of potential. He wanted very much to be a journalist.
Meanwhile several other young people who were stabbed by unidentified assailants remain hospitalized, their loved ones praying they do not end up like Daniel Esnard who died 17 days after he was stabbed in the chest and treated at one hospital for indigestion. Not until a week after the stabbing was he correctly diagnosed: perforated organs, internal bleeding, lung problems and so on—all related to that knife wound.
Meanwhile our MPs squabble with just one thing on their tiny minds—and it has nothing to do with relief for the hungry, the unattended sick, the lousy health care.
Oh, I almost forgot: so far this year 28 people have been killed by gun or knife. Doubtless this year’s batch will be added to the unresolved over 400. Did someone mention our crime lab? What can I say, save that the multi-million-dollar crime lab is itself a crime?
Ebola? The good news is—bearing in mind the homicide rate—that by the time the killer reaches our shores there’ll be no one left to kill!