My apologetically-belated Thanks to Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, of Global Voices Online, who does a wonderful job focusing on the Caribbean and for picking up two recent Jenius posts, one on problems We face and My recent comments on the local strike.
You might want to look up the Pareto Principle before going on...
Now look at this recent headline from the Latin American Herald Tribune: "80% of Puerto Rico Murders Called Drug-related."
At 11:50 p.m., in the Sabana Seca sector of Toa Baja, some 15 miles southwest of San Juan, dozens of shots were fired. When the shooting spree ended, seven people lay dead, twenty wounded. One other person died later. Amongst the wounded was a pregnant young lady, in her eighth month. The bullet killed the baby.
In the bloodthirsty nature of the ghoulish "media," it was immediately labeled a massacre and with the notation that the updated number of murders in 2009 now stood at 709.
709 murders. By mid-October. Our average annual murder rate for 2006-2007 was 733. We exceeded 800 murders in 2008. We're on pace to exceed that in 2009. For 2006-07 We would have ranked 7th in the world in murders-per-100,000 residents; for 2009 We could rank as high as 4th.
Why is this happening? Drug trade is a major culprit. The other, as I have highlighted before, is indifference. We--those of Us outside the drug-fueled violence--simply don't care. And yet We pay a high price for this indifference that We also don't care about.
The drug trade contributes to major expenses that We have to underwrite, namely prisons and health care. An example is in the LATH article which places the average cost of an addict in prison at between $28,000 and $30,000. On that basis alone, isn't there a cheaper way to save lives?
Of course there is. Cease Fire. Put the money into education, not through the money-grubbing hands of local department officials, but directly into schools, through community involvement. By involving the larger community, from civic leaders and corporations to churches and former gang members, high-violence schools have been able to turn around their poor graduation rates and significantly improved their community.
The payoff? Again, I'm way ahead of the curve: a 10% increase in graduation rate can reduce the murder rate by 20%. A mere 10% increase in the number of high school graduates is something even We can achieve, even with a brainless government, lazy teachers and outright theft in the educational system.
But We do face two major obstacles: a convicted drug dealer maldirecting the local Education Federal Affairs office and Our massive indifference. The first We will get rid of, if he doesn't do it himself on his way to becoming a crime statistic. As for the other...We have Our work cut out for Us, that's for sure.
The Jenius Has Spoken.