Monday, May 20th

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Editorial - Come together

Today’s funeral of slain Police Officer Benjamin probably will turn out to be one of the biggest ever on the island. Hopefully, it also will bring some much-needed comfort to especially family, friends and colleagues.

It’s important to point out that while what happened was shocking, claims that this tragedy easily might have been prevented are questionable at best. The reality is that there always will be armed criminals and things sometimes unexpectedly go horribly wrong, as was obviously the case here.

Criticism of government, authorities, politicians and whoever else is fine, but to hold anybody other than the triggerman personally responsible would be going too far. With all due respect, members of the WICSU/PSU public sector union reportedly wanting “someone’s head to roll” (see Wednesday paper) seems a bit over the top.

Yes, security could have been better, but who can say they knew for sure a policeman was going to be shot fatally during an attempted jewellery robbery at precisely this location on Front Street that particular time and day? Playing the blame game at this point is not going to help.

The alleged culprits apparently have been caught and now must face in court the consequences of their despicable actions. That is how a civilised, democratic society governed by the rule of law handles such matters, regardless of how angry and frustrated people may feel.

The additional measures announced are certainly in order and should contribute to restoring a general sense of safety that is also essential for the tourism economy. However, to think that something can be done to actually ensure there will be no more violent incidents in Philipsburg or totally exclude that possibility would be naïve.

Worldwide experience has shown there is no quick fix for crime, so tackling such requires determination and perseverance. It also is best served by a unity of purpose among the various segments within the population.

May the highly regrettable death of “Benji” inspire all to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, firmly behind those putting their lives at risk on a daily basis in defence of the entire community. In “Benji’s” honour, let us not fight, but rather come together.