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Strength in vulnerability

With local elections looming in a few weeks, the nation is already seeing the seeds of discord being sewn between parties with calls for international observers of the process.

One side calls into question the integrity of both the party in power and the system (which has worked smoothly up until this point), while the responding party somehow views having international observers (which we have had before during General Elections) as some kind of sovereign threat: we will be “selling ourselves short”.

This leaves, as usual, the populace to stand the consequences of the parties’ politicking to either stay in or get control of local corporations and municipalities. In the breach of real human interest in the travails of most of the population, we are left to look after ourselves as best we can.

As at the end of May, the murder rate stood at 211; every day since then we have read of more. There is an increased number of home invasions.

Social media sites like Breaking News TT show daily videos of violence; pharmacies, groceries, and gas stations being brazenly robbed by gun-wielding young men.

In one video on the site, a father makes an emotional and impassioned plea after his own son was robbed of his vehicle during the day. He has been posting regularly on Facebook about the crime rate prior to the incident.

He says: “…before it hit home, I had the perception that this thing is getting out of hand…Only those who have top-level security, at the State’s expense, and the one per cent feel safe. …Ladies and gentlemen, if you love your children as I do….we have to let the current authorities, both those in Government and in Opposition…that they are full-on nonsense…they are taking the country for a ride, a hilly, hilly precipice….There is no refund for death.”

The hopelessness and helplessness he feels is a resonating emotion.

Apparently increasing as well, is the gunplay on or near schools, the latest being in Valencia where a father was shot and wounded while dropping his child to school last Monday. This happened at 8.05 a.m., when most of the primary school body as well as staff would have been present.

The trauma of children facing this at the start of what should have been a normal school day cannot be underemphasised.

This entire topic of crime here is not new, we acknowledge, but it is one constantly on the minds of citizens as they traverse their daily lives. The feelings of threat and especially vulnerability are pervasive.

Home security systems, cameras etc provide an ostensible measure of safety, but only go so far to fulfil the measure of safety craved.

The Church would have just celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Corpus Christi. “He comes to us in this humble form, making Himself vulnerable, out of love for each one of us. Yet, as God Himself, the Body and Blood of Christ deserves our utmost respect and love, as well as our adoration” (EWTN).

Perhaps, this is where Catholics can feel God’s presence in the contemporary social situations: He modelled vulnerability from birth to death.

How then do we as Catholics respond in the face of these issues over which we apparently feel little to no control?

We can do two things – continue demanding of those