Sometimes, horrific happenings erupt which, at first, make us cry out, “Why us, Lord, why?” but, from which, as time proceeds, we learn powerful lessons for our future well-being.
Local news media houses swiftly brought us on-the-scene reports of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt. All duly reported that three persons were killed and nearly 200 injured—sadly, the youngest killed was an eight-year-old boy named Martin Richard.
However, no media house picked up on a tidbit of major significance to the People’s Partnership’s ongoing attempt at legitimising the use of soldiers in the fight against violent crime—a fight no serious government ever shirks.
During the Boston Marathon, 450 soldiers of the Boston National Guard were deployed to work alongside the Boston Police Department. With hundreds of thousands descending for Boston’s flagship event, the National Guard’s presence was necessary to boost the police’s ability to ensure security was adequately maintained.
Being duly authorised, the National Guard was on spot, thus able to secure the surroundings of the entire crime scene within minutes of the lethal blasts. Their presence facilitated a comprehensive search for clues to the diabolical plot—no one on the outside was allowed in… no one on the inside, out… anyone who looked suspicious was detained. For all intents and purposes, before, during and in the aftermath of the horrible events, the National Guard had full police powers… and, why shouldn’t they, since, in the face of clear and present danger, the full force of the police force was never sufficient?
Tomorrow, the Senate resumes the debate regarding whether Defence Force personnel may have policing powers for an agreed period of time, just as in the 2013 Boston Marathon, to hunt down mayhem makers, just as in the 2013 Boston Marathon, or not.
It is my earnest hope the positive lessons of the massacre in Boston were thoroughly absorbed by every law-abiding citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, so that everyone now appreciates how, times having forever changed, no police service anywhere can cope with or win the war against crime without the active support of all national security resources.
In his opening contribution to the Senate debate some weeks ago, the Attorney General provided most cogent and practical reasons why applying the Defence Force to assist the Police Service for the next couple years is the most reasonable thing to do.
Along with the majority of citizens, I pray when it’s time to say yea or nay, senators shall put the nation’s welfare first—by voting yea to the proposition.
Richard Wm Thomas